London Olympics 2012: Battles We Enjoyed Watching
The London Olympics was fascinating on different counts—there were many individual as well as team performances that captured the imagination of fans and historians.
There were also battles galore that made news during the Games.
Whether it was the fascinating duels between teammates Bolt and Blake on the track or similar comrades (Lochte and Phelps) in the pool, all of them made the Games memorable to watch.
The competition between Blake and Bolt was the cynosure of all eyes—there were many who thought that Bolt's days at the top were numbered.
Blake had won the last two encounters with Bolt and the experts thought that Blake might sneak through ahead of the legend.
Bolt had other ideas though. He did the "double triple" as they call it by winning all the events that he had towered in Beijing Olympics.
Blake was not far behind, right next to Bolt in the 100 and 200-meters race while finishing on top (alongside Bolt) in the relay.
Let us watch the others who were as engrossing as that of Bolt and Blake.
Lin Dan vs. Lee Chong Wei
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Lin Dan had beaten Lee Chong Wei in the badminton finals of the Beijing Olympics.
Lee had made strides after Beijing and had recently scaled the No. 1 rankings in badminton. Lee was also the top seed but Lin Dan had other ideas.
In a thrilling final, Dan defeated Lee 15-21, 21-10, 21-19 to retain the Olympic gold.
Nicola Spirig and Lisa Norden
Switzerland's Nicola Spirig defeated Sweden's Lisa Norden by the smallest of margins to claim the gold in the women's triathlon.
The triathlon is very grueling with a 1.5-kilometer swim, 43-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run. Both Spirig and Norden were given the same times: 1 hour, 59 minutes, 48 seconds.
Who won then? Thanks to a photo-finish review, the judges awarded the gold to Nicola.
Was it fair? Nope. There could have been an unprecedented event of giving two golds and no silver at the event.
Adams vs. Cancan
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British fighter Nicola Adams had never beaten the Chinese Ren Cancan in the flyweight boxing event. Not until London 2012, that is.
With home support egging her on, Adams defeated Cancan convincingly, a 16-7 winner.
It was quite a surprising result considering the form and stature of the Chinese. With her long reach, Adams won the gold without any doubt.
Missy vs. Emily
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Missy Franklin won the women's 100-meter backstroke swimming event, defeating Aussie Emily Seebohm.
Seebohm had made all the right moves going into the final of the 100, breaking the world record in the heats.
Emily Seebohm was almost a second faster in the semifinals but in the final, it was Missy Franklin all the way.
Defeating Seebohm by a difference of 0.35 seconds, Missy Franklin showed that she was the queen of the swimming pool.
Jaroslav Kulhavy and Nino Schurter
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Cross-country mountain biking was recognized late by the world (in the 1990s). In 1996, the race was added to the Olympics.
Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic won the men's event, defeating Switzerland's Nino Schurter in a close finish.
Just one second separated the two cyclists, keeping the fans on the edge of their seats until the end.
USA vs. Jamaica: Relay
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With Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake on their team, everyone thought that the Jamaican team would have it easy in the 100-meter relay event.
Eventually, it needed a new world record by the Jamaicans (shaving off 0.2 seconds from the previous record) to stave off the Americans.
Though Bolt and Co. were awesome on the track, their rivals were just 0.2 seconds behind (a new national record)!
Roger Federer vs. Juan Martin Del Potro
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Roger Federer was supposed to show up in the finals of the tennis event in London Olympics. It was Wimbledon after all.
In the semifinals, he met Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina—even though their matches have been evenly matched, few would have doubted Federer's advance to the final.
In what turned out to be a see-saw battle, the match went all the distance to 19-17 in the third set for Federer to reach the finals.
A marathon match that lasted close to four and a half hours of exhilarating tennis was the final before the final (which actually turned out to be a dud)!
Eaton and Hardee
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Usain Bolt called Ashton Eaton the world's greatest athlete after the latter won the decathlon at the Olympics.
Eaton and Trey Hardee finished one-two in the event, scoring 8869 and 8671 points, staving off the challenge of the rest of the competition.
The others were never in the frame at any moment of the ten events—such was the domination of the two Americans.
Lochte vs. Phelps
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Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps met for the last time in the men's 200-meter individual medley event.
Their rivalry in the pool was supposed to be the main highlight of the swimming events but things did not turn out in the way they expected.
The initial rounds were not promising—Phelps had the fourth fastest time in the heats while in the semifinals he finished second behind Lochte.
But, in the final, Phelps managed to beat his compatriot by a margin of 0.63 seconds to establish his supremacy over Lochte in the event (eventually finishing with 22 Olympic medals).
USA vs. Spain Basketball
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The American Dream Team was supposed to sail through the rounds on the way to their gold medal.
None expected the final match against Spain would be as tough as it turned out to be.
Though Team USA was dominant throughout, the extent of their supremacy was not as far as everyone had thought.
Spain was always on the back of the Americans but the experience and skills of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant made the difference eventually.