The games of the XXX Olympiad, the 2012 Olympics, are in the books and we were treated to a wonderful spectacle in London. Thousands of athletes from all parts of the globe gave it their all and made their countries very proud. It would be impossible to recap each individual event and name the medals that were won and lost. Instead, let’s go over some of the moments that made us cheer and left us amazed over the past couple of weeks by not only American athletes, but Olympians from around the world:
- Both the men and women’s basketball teams come home with gold having proven their dominance in the sport. The women trounced France 86-50 in their final while the men played Spain in a thriller, beating them 107-100.
- Michael Phelps made Olympic history by winning a total of twenty-two medals over his Olympic career. That’s eighteen gold, two silver and two bronze. He is the new record holder for most career medals and it stands to reason the record will not be broken anytime soon. After a slow start, Phelps turned it on and leaves the sport of swimming as nothing short of a legend. He says this is it. Will there be an itch that he wants to scratch in four years? Rio 2016, anyone?
- Sticking with the sport of swimming, one of the two American darlings in these Olympics, Missy Franklin, took her sport by storm winning five medals, four of them gold. Just seventeen years old, Franklin looks like she’ll be the face of women’s swimming for the foreseeable future. She helped set two world records and an Olympic record. And she has a fun personality and a great smile. What a fantastic Olympic debut.
- The other darling of the Olympics has to be gymnast Gabby Douglas. The gymnast with the winning smile became part of a select group of U.S. women when she won the gold in women’s all around. Douglas joins Mary Lou Retton (1984), Carly Patterson (2004) and Nastia Liukin (2008) as the only U.S. women’s gymnasts to pull off the feat. She was able to get by a pair of good Russian gymnasts and even was able to outduel her teammate Jordyn Wieber to represent the US in the women’s all around. Oh yeah, she helped the U.S. win team gold as well. She and her family sacrificed so much, moving from Virginia to Des Moines so that she could get proper training. And she is young too. Just like Franklin, Douglas appears to be the face of women’s gymnastics for a while.
- On the track, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt proved once again that he is the fastest man in the world, winning gold in both the 100m and 200m. Bolt became the first Olympian ever to sweep the events in back-to-back Olympics. And he aims to it again in Rio in 2016. He has to be considered the best sprinter that the Olympic games has ever seen.
- Staying on the track, Sanya Richards-Ross, wife of Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback and two time Super Bowl champion Aaron Ross, won two golds. Guess there might be some competition as to what should be more proudly shown, the gold medals or the Super Bowl rings. And Allyson Felix won three gold medals, two of them coming in relay races. America had a great Olympics on the track.
- But Americans weren’t the only ones who excelled on the track. Great Britain saw some success with Mo Farah winning the 10,000m and 5000m races and Jessica Ennis winning the women’s heptathlon.
- There were even more great stories on the track from David Rudisha winning the 800m race in world record fashion with a time of 1:40.91. It meant so much to him to win for his tribe and his country of Kenya. Then there was Botswana winning their first ever Olympic medal, getting a silver in the 800m thanks to Nijel Amos. Grenada won their first ever medal as well and it was a gold to boot thanks to Kirani James winning the 400m. And what about South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius? Not only did this double amputee compete against able bodied runners, but he also placed second in his initial heat in the 400m before losing in the semifinals. Pistorius also ran in the 4X400m relay. Very courageous athlete who was able to achieve his dreams. These stories and results are what make the Olympics special.
- The U.S. women’s soccer team sought revenge against Japan after their World Cup loss last year and they were successful, beating Japan 2-1 to win gold. Hope Solo was brilliant in net against the relentless attack by Japan.
- Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings won their third gold medal in women’s volleyball. This is the last time we will see the duo in the Olympics as they’ve announced their retirement. They were awesome and will be missed.
- The U.S. women won their first ever gold medal in women’s polo with their 8-5 win over Spain.
- Great Britain’s overall team made their countrymen proud by winning 65 medals, including twenty-nine gold. Cycling, rowing and equestrian helped lead the way and Andy Murray was able to win gold in men’s tennis.
- The opening and closing ceremonies were pretty entertaining too.
All in all the Olympics were a complete success. Ratings for NBC were off the charts and the performances we saw were great. London was a great host city. For all of the pessimism leading into the games of the thirtieth Olympiad, there is nothing but praise for London now. The Olympics help bring the world together and I think we certainly saw that here over the past two weeks. Congratulations, London!
The Winter Olympics will be in Sochi, Russia, in 2014 and the next Summer Olympics will be in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.