There were many memorable moments and storylines at the 2012 London Olympic Games, but we decided to narrow them down to a Top 10 list to share with you:
10. (tie) Ashton Eaton, Trey Hardee finish first and second, respectively, in decathlon. U.S. women’s 4 x 100m relay team (Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter) takes gold, smashing a longstanding record set by East Germany and highlighting excellent performance by the U.S. women’s track and field squad.
9. Missy Franklin collects 4 gold and one bronze medal at age 17 while turning away sponsors so she can continue to compete in high school and perhaps college as well
8. Andy Murray gains redemption at Wimbledon’s Centre Court over Roger Federer, while Mohamed Farah wins emotional 5,000 meter race, to bookend excellent performance by host country Great Britain, which tallies third-highest gold medal count (behind U.S. and China) and fourth highest overall (behind Russia), despite being much smaller.
7. Queen Elizabeth II participates in very funny skit with Daniel Craig (James Bond), inviting him to Buckingham Palace, then appearing to board helicopter and parachute out of it into Olympic Stadium as part of the opening ceremonies.
6. Oscar Pistorius successfully qualifies for 400m semifinal as a double amputee with 2 prosthetic legs. Grenadian runner Kirani James exchanges racing bibs with Pistorius after race, then later goes on to win his country’s first ever gold medal.
5. Bob Costas takes a moment during the opening ceremonies to remember the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Munich Olympics despite the IOC’s refusal to recognize the massacre during the opening ceremonies.
4. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings win their third consecutive gold medal in beach volleyball – losing only one set over their entire Olympic careers.
3. U.S. women’s gymnastics team captures gold for first time since Kerri Strug’s vault in 1996. Gabby Douglas took individual gold in the all-around competition, Aly Raisman captured gold in the floor exercise and bronze on the balance beam, and McKayla Maroney took silver on the vault.
2. Usain Bolt successfully defends his 100m gold from 2008, earning a 100/200 golden double and leading a Jamaican medal sweep in the 200m – then he anchors a world record time in the 4 x 100 relay for his third gold in 2012 and 6th overall.
1. Michael Phelps wins 4 gold medals and 2 silver medals, achieving a career total of 22 medals to become the most decorated Olympian of all time, breaking Larisa Latynina’s record of 18.