Peter Bol has rocketed into medal contention at the Tokyo Olympics after improving the Australian 800m record for the second time in as many days.
Bol won his semi-final in one minute 44.11 seconds on Sunday night, stripping two hundredths of a second off the mark he set in the opening round.
He will be the first Australian man to contest an Olympic 800m final since Ralph Doubell won the gold medal in Mexico City in 1968.
And if the Sudanese-born runner can replicate that performance in Wednesday's decider, he is every chance of claiming a spot on the podium.
"I went to Europe for three weeks and raced two races; they weren't the best in terms of positions but they were the best for preparation," said Bol.
"When I went to Gateshead and came third I said to (manager James Templeton and coach Justin Rinaldi) that I think we can win a medal.
"I didn't want to get too excited, I had to get to the final first.
"But we're here making history, two Australian records in a row and I look forward to the final."
Bol was the second fastest overall qualifier behind Kenyan Ferguson Rotich (1:44.04).
Fellow Australians Charlie Hunter and Jeff Riseley were eliminated in the semis.
Commonwealth champion Brandon Starc played a key role in an epic men's high jump final.
Starc finished a creditable fifth with 2.35m but only after having a couple of unsuccessful cracks at what would have been a new Australian record of 2.39m.
It was hard - 2.35 and to come fifth, I don't how many times that would have happened," Starc said.
"I thought I was a genuine chance at 2.39, but that's how it goes."
Dual world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim from Qatar and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi declined a jump-off, meaning they tied for the Olympic title at 2.37m.
Tamberi then rushed to the finish line of the 100m to embrace countryman Lamont Marcell Jacobs, who had just become the first Italian to win an Olympic 100m title.
Earlier in the night, Rohan Browning was eliminated in the 100m semis in 10.09 - eight hundredths of a second slower than he ran when winning his heat the previous day.
Olympic rookie Liz Clay blamed a series of false starts for narrowly missing a spot in the 100m hurdles final, despite stripping 0.01 off her PB with a time of 12.71.
"I'm gutted," she said.
"I would have been in that final if it wasn't for all those false starts.
"I still think I held my own really well, but I know I'm good enough to be in the final."
Australian Associated Press