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London Olympics 2012: Most Impressive World Records Set at Summer Games

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake of Jamaica celebrate winning gold and setting a new world record of 36.84 during the Men's 4 x 100m Relay Final on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Alex HallCorrespondent IIIAugust 13, 2012

The London Summer Games have come to a close, leaving the world with plenty of memories and more than a few new world record marks. There's no way I could keep your attention if I listed all the new records set at the 2012 Olympics, so let's take a look at some of the most impressive ones.

 

Jamaica's Men's 4x100-Meter Team Track Relay Record

Jamaica was dominant on the track again in London, highlighted by the men's 4x100-meter relay record. And hey, if breaking a track and field world record is your goal, having Usain Bolt on your team is a good start.

The real-life version of The Flash capped off his personal Olympics schedule by helping his team finish the relay in 36.86 seconds, .20 seconds faster than the United States, which finished second.

Bolt anchored the last leg of the race for Jamaica and clinched the event for his team, earning his third gold medal in as many events in the process. This record-breaking race marked the third time since 2008 that the Jamaican team had broken the record.

 

Team USA's Women's 4x100-Meter Team Track Relay Record

Before the Jamaican team enjoyed its new world record, Team USA's women's team enjoyed its historic 4x100-meter relay world record on Aug. 10.

Thanks to having posted impressive times during their parts of the relay, Bianca Knight, Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter were able to come together and break East Germany's 27-year-old world record in the event.

The team finished the race in just 40.82 seconds and earned the United States' first medal in the event since the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Jeter ran the anchor leg of the race and described what was going through her mind at the time to the Associated Press (via ESPN):

As I'm running, I'm looking at the clock and seeing this time that's like 37, 38, 39. In my heart, I said, 'We just did it!' I definitely knew we ran well.

While earning your nation its first gold medal in an event since '96 is impressive, breaking a record that stood for almost 30 years is historic.

 

Rebecca Soni's 200-Meter Breaststroke Swimming Record

While Michael Phelps might have gotten most of the attention while the swimming events were happening in London, Rebecca Soni's record-breaking performance cannot be overlooked.

Soni dominated her competition in the 200-meter breaststroke final and finished with a time of two minutes and 19.59 seconds. It was a mark that helped achieve a lifelong dream for the swimmer, who told Nicole Auerbach of USA Today:

It's been my goal since I was a little kid to go under 2:20. That's what my [high school] coach told me: 'You're going to be the first woman to go under 2:20.'

Apparently Soni's high school coach was right because she did just that, along with breaking the event record twice in London—first in the semifinals where she posted a time of two minutes and 20 seconds even and then when she bested that time en route to her gold medal in the final.

Soni achieved one of her life goals, broke the 200-meter breaststroke record twice and earned her country a gold medal in the process. This surprise performance is a memory that the young athlete won't ever forget.

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