Olympics 2012: Top Medal Winners in Swimming, Gymnastics, Track and Field
Everybody loves a winner.
Win multiples times, and you've practically reached Raymond-esque levels of universal affection.
That in mind, we present to you London's biggest winners in each of its most medal-rich disciplines: swimming, gymnastics and track and field.
They came, they saw, they conquered—and now they're in a slideshow!
Before we start, a quick primer on the format:
The first slide in each set features every multiple medalist in a given discipline, except the top medalist. The second slide contains a more intimate look at the top medalist and how he/she performed at these Games.
Men's Swimming: Multiple Medalists
Ryan Lochte, United States — 5
Sun Yang, China — 4
Nathan Adrian, United States
Yannick Agnel, France
Matt Grevers, United States
Ryosuke Irie, Japan
Cullen Jones, United States
Brendan Hansen, United States
Chad le Clos, South Africa
Clement Lefert, France
Amaury Leveaux, France
James Magnussen, Australia
Takeshi Matsuda, Japan
Ricky Berens, United States
Park Tae-Hwan, South Korea
Christian Sprenger, Australia
Jeremy Stravius, France
Nick Thoman, United States
Oussama Mellouli, Tunisia
Men's Swimming: Top Medalist
Michael Phelps, United States — 6 (4 gold, 2 silver)
We're running low on adjectives to contextualize Michael Phelps' greatness.
In a meet that started with premature whispers of his decline, Phelps stormed back to win gold medals in each of his final four events. By doing so, he became the first man to three-peat in an Olympic swimming event, and he finished his illustrious career with 18 gold medals and 22 overall.
I mean, how great is that?
Women's Swimming: Multiple Medalists
Dana Vollmer, United States
Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Netherlands
Brittany Elmslie, Australia
Melanie Schlanger, Australia
Emily Seebohm, Australia
Rebecca Soni, United States
Camille Muffat, France
Satomi Suzuki, Japan
Ye Shiwen, China
Rebecca Adlington, Great Britain
Bronte Barratt, Australia
Elizabeth Beisel, Australia
Mireia Belmonte Garcia, Spain
Aleksandra Gerasimenya, Belarus
Jessica Hardy, United States
Aya Terakawa, Japan
Marleen Veldhuis, Netherlands
Women's Swimming: Top Medalist
Missy Franklin, United States — 5 (4 gold, 1 bronze)
Allison Schmitt, United States — 5 (3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)
Alicia Coutts, Australia — 5 (1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze)
Though three female swimmers earned five medals apiece in London, we're giving the gold-medal tiebreaker to Missy Franklin.
Which is good, because we love talking about Missy Franklin.
The 17-year-old owned this meet, both by virtue of her in-pool performance and her poolside demeanor.
She won individual gold medals at both backstroke distances and finished no worse than fifth in any of her seven events. Combined with an aw-shucks personality that had fans and announcers going gaga, the Colorado native seems an obvious choice as the new face of American swimming.
And with Phelps waving goodbye, it would seem the stage is all hers.
Men's Gymnastics: Multiple Medalists
Louis Smith, Great Britain
Chen Yibing, China
Marcel Nguyen, Germany
Feng Zhe, China
Denis Ablyazin, Russia
Max Whitlock, Great Britain
Men's Gymnastics: Top Medalist
Zou Kai, China — 3 (2 gold, 1 bronze)
Kohei Uchimura, Japan — 3 (1 gold, 2 silver)
By dint of our previously established tiebreaker, Zou Kai—not Japanese sensation Kohei Uchimura—nabs the title of most decorated male gymnast.
Though that may seem unjust in light of Uchimura's victory in the individual all-around, it helps highlight what a sneaky-good meet China had.
Lacking an elite all-around talent and nursing late injuries, the Chinese came in relatively under the radar. They responded by running away with team gold and medaling in four of six apparatus finals.
Olympic veteran Zou Kai led the way, winning gold on floor exercise and bronze on high bar. The 24-year-old now has six career medals, tying him with Li Ning and Li Xiaoshuang as the most decorated Chinese gymnast of all time.
Women's Gymnastics: Multiple Medalists
Aly Raisman, United States — 3
Gabby Douglas, United States
Viktoria Komova, Russia
McKayla Maroney, United States
Sandra Izbasa, Romania
Catalina Ponor, Romania
Maria Paseka, Russia
Women's Gymnastics: Top Medalist
Aliya Mustafina — 4 (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze)
Though she curried less media attention than her American rivals, Mustafina was rock-solid throughout this competition.
She took bronze in the all-around, bronze on floor exercise and earned Russia's lone gold of the meet on uneven bars.
Counted out at various times in her career because of injuries and growth spurts, the fiercely competitive Russian starlet reminded the world why she was its all-around champ in 2010.
Even in a sport as variable as women's gymnastics, one gets the sense that Mustafina could stick around for a while.
Men's Track and Field: Multiple Medalists
Mo Farah, Great Britain
Will Claye, United States
Lalonde Gordon, Trinidad and Tobago
Justin Gatlin, United States
Men's Track and Field: Top Medalist
Usain Bolt, Jamaica — 3 (All gold)
Yohan Blake, Jamaica — 3 (1 gold, 2 silver)
What do we make of Usain Bolt at these London Olympics?
He promised a show, something we would never forget.
In some sense, he delivered, becoming the first athlete to double in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at consecutive Olympiads. And his anchor-leg effort in a record-setting 4x100 relay was quite a flourish.
But most of the awe was cumulative, brought on by the broad scope of his remarkable career and perhaps accented somewhat by his ability to overturn his perceived vulnerabilities.
None of the individual races, however, were particularly memorable by Bolt standards.
He didn't set any world records in his individual events or even come all that close. He was money in the big moments, but he didn't drop our jaws the way he did in Beijing.
We'll revisit these Games as confirmation of Bolt's all-time greatness, but not as an expression of his fullest self.
At his best, Bolt made us question what was humanly possible. He didn't quite do that at these Games.
High standards, I know, but Bolt was the one who promised us a show.
Women's Track and Field: Multiple Medalists
Sanya Richards-Ross, United States
Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia
Natalya Antyukh, Russia
Vivian Cheruiyot, Kenya
Dee Dee Trotter, United States
Women's Track and Field: Top Medalist
Allyson Felix, United States — 3 (All gold)
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica — 3 (1 gold, 2 silver)
Carmelita Jeter, United States — 3 (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)
I present to you the single most underrated athletic feat of these London Games.
Allyson Felix won three sprinting gold medals at three distances—100 meters (relay), 200 meters and 400 meters (relay).
Since the establishment of the modern Olympic track program (i.e. the abolition of 60-meter sprints, 80-meter hurdles and the like), no sprinter has ever done that.
Felix's signature win came in the 200, her long-awaited first individual gold medal.
But her second-leg run in the 4x400-meter relay was easily her most impressive performance, and a powerful indicator of her once-in-a-generation talent.
Felix didn't even contest the 400 in London, but her relay split was almost two full seconds faster than Sanya Richards-Ross' winning time in the event final.
I understand that relay splits aren't equivalent to flat-start times, but still...two seconds?!?!?
Felix may never have the headline-baiting savvy of a media starlet, but she's always had Page 1 talent.
In London, she finally got to prove it.