Team USA is back where it’s supposed to be: atop the Olympic standings.
The Americans earned a world-best 46 gold medals in their 2012 London campaign. Out of all of the U.S.’s victories, here were the most satisfying.
4. Men’s 4x200-meter Freestyle Relay
Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte teamed up to dominate the 4x200 free relay. They finished over three seconds before France did, getting revenge for their loss in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay.
More importantly, though, the gold gave Phelps his record 19th medal. Because of that, he’ll go down in history as the most decorated Olympian ever.
3. Men’s and Women’s Basketball
Anything less than gold for the Americans’ men’s and women’s basketball teams would’ve been an utter failure. Each team boasted the most talent in the world by far. While the U.S. hasn’t always lived up to its reputation on the hardwood in the past, it left no doubt about its superiority this year.
Both won gold in merciless fashion. Neither lost a single game, and most outcomes were decided by at least 20-point margins.
2. Women’s All-Around
Team USA’s hyped women’s gymnastics team was met with disappointment from the opening get-go as world champion Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for the individual all-around finals. Instead of being crushed by the weight of the stage and adversity, the girls instead lived up to their great expectations in the team competition.
Wieber, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross’ combined extraordinary efforts led to a gold-medal victory over the Russians in which they outscored them by over five points.
1. Women’s 4x100-meter relay
The U.S. owns track and field like no other nation. Nine of its 46 medals came in the athletic competitions. But the women’s 4x100 relay team was the only one that found its way into the record books.
Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter broke the world record by running a time of 40.82 seconds. Jeter crossed the finish line almost a half-second ahead of Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart. The group destroyed the previous record set by East Germany of just 41.37 seconds.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.