Norwegian Karsten Warholm set a world record in the seldom-run 300m hurdles as top-level athletics emerged from lockdown at the Impossible Games.
Warholm, 24, took 0.7 seconds off the mark set by Britain’s Chris Rawlinson in 2002, clocking 33.78 in Oslo.
Meanwhile, in front of stands partially filled with cardboard cutouts and socially-distanced dancers, Jakob Ingebrigtsen won a 2,000m race.
World 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot, running in Kenya, was a distant fourth.
Their contest was billed as a team event, with Cheruiyot leading a Kenyan quintet that also included his predecessor as world champion Elijah Manangoi.
However, as the split-screen video link showed wind and rain lashing the track in high-altitude Nairobi, it was clear Team Ingebrigtsen had a distinct advantage.
Jakob, 19, finished in a time of four minutes 50.01 seconds to wipe out Steve Cram’s 1985 European record and was followed home by elder brothers Henrik and Filip in second and third to secure a comprehensive win.
Elsewhere 20-year-old Swedish world-record holder Armand Duplantis won the pole vault, beating French rival Renaud Lavillenie with a decisive clearance of 5.86m.
Lavillenie’s attempts were completed earlier in the day at his home in France but shown as if live – with the Frenchman running up between sheds in his back garden at the start of his vault.
The most exciting finish of the night came in the women’s 300m hurdles in which Denmark’s Rio 2016 silver medallist Sara Slott Petersen edged out Norway’s Amalie Iuel by two hundredths of a second.
With many athletes unable to travel, the event was set up as a Diamond League exhibition to replace the Bislett Games.
“This has been a special and important occasion because it’s athletics back at the highest level,” said BBC commentator Cram.
“It’s been slightly different without a normal crowd but the athletes had a platform to do their best and they certainly gave it their all”
Athletics’ next big event is the Inspiration Games on 9 July in Zurich, a more ambitious attempt to work around the limitations of coronavirus restrictions that involves 30 athletes competing in eight disciplines across seven stadiums.
In the headlining women’s 150m, Shaunae Miller-Uibo of Bahamas will run in Florida, with United States legend Allyson Felix and Swiss world bronze medallist Mujinga Kambundji competing from California and Zurich respectively.