2012 Olympic Review: Remembering the London Games from A to Z
There are many ways to remember some of the high-points of the 2012 Summer Olympics. This article is taking an elementary approach, combining pictures and the alphabet to highlight some of the Games' bigger moments.
We couldn't fit every big event or accomplishment into 26 slides, and our apologies to the likes of Misty May-Treanor for only making it as far as the cover. But there was one milestone at the London Games that was more impressive.
As for the others that were left out...please add them in the comments below, perhaps with an explanation of why they are more deserving than the selected athletes.
Aliya Mustafina, Russia, Gymnastics:
Mustafina was the top medalist in women's gymnastics.
B: Bo vs. Boudia
David Boudia, U.S. and Qui Bo, China went head to head in men's 10-meter platform diving. Tied for silver going into the last dive, they each had a 3.6 degree of difficulty dive. Boudia hit his just a bit better, securing one of the two gold medals not won by China in diving.
Candace Parker, U.S., Basketball
Parker was a driving force behind the absolutely dominant women's basketball team. She scored a game-leading 21 points in the gold-medal game, almost double any other player, on 10-for-14 shooting. The U.S. won 86-50.
Danell Leyva, US, Gymnastics
Leyva secured the only medal for the U.S. men who were expected to haul in a bevy of gymnastics medals. It took a gutsy comeback in the all-around competition to secure the bronze medal.
E: Empty Seats
Several organizational issues led to empty seats not being available for sale. Even worse, seats that weren't sold were left empty.
The average family of four in Great Britain spent approximately $1,000 in tax money to subsidize the Olympics. They least the organizing committee could have done was put them in a queue to fill empty seats.
Mo Farah: Great Britain, Distance Runner
Farah thrilled the home crowd with a stellar final lap to win the 10,000 meters. He also added a gold medal in the 5,000.
Gabby Douglas: U.S., Gymnastics
Gabby helped lead her team to a gold medal in the team final and backed up her early performances by winning the women's all-around competition in dominating fashion.
The U.S. women's soccer team had several timely headers, but none more important than that off the head of Alex Morgan. She scored a game-winner near the end of overtime in the semifinal game against Canada.
It was a controversial match, with questionable calls giving the U.S. the opportunity to come back and win the game.
I: Injury in Weightlifting
Matthias Steiner, the defending super-heavyweight weightlifting champion from Germany, took one on the chin. Make that 432 of them...as in pounds on the back of his head and on his chin.
He wasn't seriously injured, hopefully making it OK for us to talk about it.
Jordyn Wieber, U.S., Gymnastics
In one of the bigger upsets at the 2012 Olympics, Jordyn Wieber failed to make the individual all-around finals even though she was beaten by just one international competitor in qualification. She helped her team win a gold medal in the team finals, but the defending World Champion didn't win an individual medal.
An honorable mention goes to Jordan Jovtchev, the 39-year-old gymnast from Belgium that almost won a medal on rings.
Katie Taylor, Ireland, Boxing
Katie is an Irish hero. The country loves their boxing and she is really, really good at it. She has an amazing string of gold medals at the World and European Championships, and she added Olympic gold to the string.
She was also named Ireland's No. 4 most desirable Valentine. Look out, 1-3!
Kohei Uchimora gets an honorable mention after winning a gold medal in the men's gymnastics individual all-around.
LeBron James, U.S., Basketball
It's been a so-so year for LeBron. He did manage to win the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and then redeemed himself and his Miami Heat teammates by winning the NBA Championships. Now he's added an Olympic gold medal to the trophy case.
But, teammate Kobe Bryant is the one that got to hang out with Stephanie Rice at the Olympics...
Michael and Missy unveiled a changing of the guard in American swimming. Michael Phelps won six medals to go out on top of the all-time Olympic medals list and Missy Franklin picked up five to begin her assault on his marks.
Yes, Misty May is also a double-M, but all-time medal leader that threepeated in three events trumps three-time winner in one.
Once again, Olympics fans feel NBC dropped the torch relative to their broadcast coverage. While two billion fans watched Usain Bolt live, televisions in America wouldn't pick up the race for another five to 10 hours.
NBC does a lot of things right. They have some good commentary and special-interest pieces. But tape delays are frustrating for fans and their practice of "tweeting" results during their east coast telecast is just awkward.
First, anyone with Twitter already knows who won. Second, what about fans on the west coast who are still waiting for the broadcast?
You can do better, NBC.
Oscar Pistorius, South Africa, Blade Runner
In an Olympic first, a double amputee was able to race at the Olympics. He made the semifinals in the 400-meter and had an impressive final leg in the finals of the 4x400-meter relay.
P: Piste-d off and Not off the Piste
After judges refused, or were unable, to correct a mistake in fencing, South Korean Shin A-Lam refused to leave the piste. Her opponent was able to score a winning blow in their semifinal match after time should have expired.
Someone forgot to start the clock.
Shin was eventually escorted off the playing surface.
Q: Queen Elizabeth
Come on...she jumped out of a plane with James Bond! How much cooler could she possibly ever be?
Ruta Meilutyte, Lithuania, Swimming
Meilutyte was pretty much unknown in the swimming world, but the 15-year-old Lithuanian swam to gold in London.
Be the "S.A." for "Sarah Attar" or "Saudi Arabia," the fact that a Saudi woman was finally allowed to compete for her country is groundbreaking for a nation of would-be athletes.
Perhaps in Rio she will even be allowed to race without a hood and bulky clothing.
Perhaps the biggest controversy in the Olympics came in the brutal sport of badminton. Eight players from South Korea, China and Indonesia were disqualified for not using their best efforts to win, as losses would have given them more favorable placement in the medal brackets.
Fans actually booed during the match between China's Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli and South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na.
Usain Bolt, Jamaica, Sprinter
Bolt wanted to achieve legend status at the 2012 Olympics. He won three sprinting gold medals for the second consecutive Olympics.
V: Victory for Mexico
OK...this one is a stretch, but it was either "Victory for Mexico" by upsetting the heavily-favored football team from Brazil, or Brenda "Villa" getting a medal hat-trick in water polo after netting two silver and a bronze in three prior Games.
Villa doesn't fit the preferred first-name approach so she doesn't get the picture.
Oh...and Brazil losing the gold medal game was a huge upset. This was the only major medal the country hadn't won and they pulled out several big guns to win in 2012.
W: Women Dominate
Women of the U.S. dominate their male counterparts
Whether it be Wambach, Walsh Jennings, Wenger, Wieber, Williams sisters, Whipple or women's gymnastics, soccer, track, water polo, indoor volleyball, beach volleyball, boxing, judo or rowing, the American women were the dominant force for Team USA.
In no sport was the women's dominance more obvious than in boxing. The men failed to medal for the first time in the sport's history while the ladies picked up their first-ever gold medal.
The men kept pace with the women on the basketball court medals-wise, but the ladies were more dominant in their tournament score-wise.
Some of the names from these Games will be forgotten, but 2012 should be remembered as the year the U.S.O.C. realized they needed to invigorate the competitive nature of the men's teams.
Lu Xiaoxia, China, Table Tennis
I know what you are thinking...this doesn't fit the first-name-on-the-slide approach, either. But it does...the first-name-last is just how they do it in China.
Lu and the Chinese team won every gold medal in table tennis. They also won the silver in the two individual events, leaving everyone else playing for bronze.
Talking about dominant...
Ye Shiwen, China, Swimming
It isn't just that Ye won the 200- and 400-meter individual medleys. She, too, was dominant in doing so and is only 16 years old.
Mariel Zagunis, U.S., Fencing
OK...I yield with the first-name rule. But it's a "Z."
Zagunis was the flag-bearer for the United States in the opening ceremony but she failed to live up to her own expectations. She lost 15-13 in the semifinals after surrendering a 10-1 run. She had a 9-7 lead in the bronze medal match but her opponent went on an 8-1 run to secure the win.
She failed to medal after winning gold in Athens and Beijing.
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