Olympic Medal Count 2012: Athletes Who Dominated on Final Day of London Games

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVAugust 13, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Gold medallists Kevin Durant #5 of the United States and LeBron James #6 of the United States celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men's Basketball on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The final day of the 2012 London Olympics offered some of the most exciting matches and events of the entire Olympiad as a gold was up for grabs in each showdown.

Even though the USA men's basketball team's gold medal game against the big-and-tall Spain was the marquee event of Sunday in London, it was far from the only spectacle to watch.

As sad as it is to see the Summer Olympics leave us for another four years, they sure did go out with a bang on this exciting day of sports that will be remembered for some time.

Let's take a look at three athletes who stood out above the pack and claimed gold for their nation.


LeBron James - USA Men's Basketball

Has anyone had a better year than LeBron James?

He entered the 2011-12 NBA season with major questions about where his legacy would end up, and answered with one of the best playoff performances in history that gained him his first championship. But his most beautiful performance of all was this summer in London.

LeBron did it all for Team USA, from finding his teammates with jaw-dropping passes to rebounding to epic feats of athleticism and point-scoring. He even dominated the post defensively against elite NBA forwards and centers when need be. Without his all-around game, it's doubtful that the U.S. would've even gotten past Spain in the final. He finished with an all-important 19 points and seven rebounds.

In a one-possession game late in the fourth quarter—or according to the sports world, anti-LeBron time—James was put in with four fouls and his hands virtually tied in a game that was bothered by foul calls nearly every possession. It didn't phase LeBron, as he blew past both Gasol's in a half-court set to throw down a monster dunk that only King James can accomplish.

As if his stamp on the game wasn't strong enough at that point, he buried a contested three-pointer (his Achilles heel late in games) to put the dagger in a Spain side that had an answer for everybody but LeBron.


Dmitriy Muserskiy - Russia Men's Volleyball

It takes a lot to stick out individually in men's volleyball, a sport that prides itself on unselfish play and team scoring. 

Apparently being 7'2" and 254 pounds helps.

Dmitriy Muserskiy of Russia helped his team mount an epic comeback in the gold medal match against favorites Brazil. After a two-sets-to-none disadvantage, the Russians won three-straight sets to claim gold.

Muserskiy's 31 points, including 28 spikes, helped will his Russian team to win a tight third set that they had to have to stay alive, 29-27. They never looked back, and despite the blocking specialist only notching two blocks in the contest, he dominated with the spike.

You won't hear much about it in America since it didn't feature the U.S., but the Russian men's volleyball team had a historic performance Sunday. It wouldn't have been possible without Muserskiy.


Stephen Kiprotich - Uganda Marathon Runner 

History was made Sunday at the Olympics for a country that truly needed it. Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda won gold in the men's marathon.

It was Uganda's second gold medal ever in the Olympics, first in 40 years, and first medal for the country in the London Games. 

Running a marathon in and of itself is a massive feat in America, and running it in just over two hours is a sight to behold in the final day of the Olympics. Perhaps the biggest feat, however, was beating heavily-favored Kenyan runners Abel Kirui and Wilson Kiprotich Kipsang (yes, he's named Kiprotich as well) to claim gold. 

And he did so in spectacular fashion, making the last mile of his epic journey somewhat of a victory lap as he slowed down, got his country's flag from a spectator and represented Uganda, a country that's been through more in the past generation than any country should. 

Even though gold medal matches of team sports such as basketball, volleyball, handball and water polo dominated headlines in the final day of the Olympics, we must commend Kiprotich for his brilliant display of endurance and pride.