The Olympic Review: He Got By With A Little Phelps From His Friends

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IAugust 24, 2008

Sadly, the Olympic Games are now over. They have filled the television for three weeks now, and have thrilled everyone watching. From the spectacular opening ceremony to the phenomenal closing one, these Games must be among the best ever.

There have been moments that will forever go down in history. New Olympic legends have been created, countless World Records smashed, and even more dreams fulfilled.

Here, I will look through my moments of these Olympic Games:

Best TeamChina

The Best Team for me has to be either USA or China. I'm going to go for the hosts. There were, perhaps, some suspect judging decisions, but to handle the enormous pressure of over 1 billion people being expectant of you is very hard to do. But the Chinese athletes did it.

With 51 golds, they finished top of the medal table by some way. They also chalked up 21 silver medals and 28 bronze ones, giving them a rather nice total of 100 medals overall.

It is a shame that Chinese hero and icon Liu Xiang had to pull out of his race, however.

Most Surprising TeamGreat Britain

Yes, the Brits have done fantastically well in Beijing. USA, China, and Russia are expected to be near the top of the medals table at the end due to the sheer size of their countries and the number of athletes they submit.

But for little old Britain to finish fourth is wonderful.

Everyone from 14-year-old Tom Daley to 38-year-old Mark Foster helped Great Britain to their best Olympics in over a century one way or another. Mentions have to go to the likes of Chris Hoy, Rebecca Adlington, Bradley Wiggins, and James DeGale. More on the Great Britain team later.

Best AthleteUsain Bolt/Michael Phelps

Much debate has raged recently over who is the better athlete—Bolt or Phelps?

Usually it is Bolt's favour. But you can't really say since both take part in entirely different sports, and both are the best in their respective sports. What can't be debated, however, is the way they both dominated at these games.

Bolt on land and Phelps in the water, we have never seen anything like it. Someone winning eight gold medals in the space of a week? Someone breaking the 100m World Record without trying the last 20m, then breaking the 200m World Record into a headwind, and then helping his team break the 4x100m relay World Record? These two are super athletes.

Both had help from friends to make up the medal tally, but they were the shining stars.

New Olympic HeroUsain Bolt

I think Michael Phelps was something of an Olympic hero before coming to Beijing, courtesy of his six golds and two bronze medals in Athens. So I have gone, again, for the sprint sensation Bolt.

His name will be forever associated with these Olympics, and deservedly so. His performances will be looked back on with higher regard than even those of Michael Johnson in 1996. Young kids will be doing his various poses in Jamaica for years to come.

I still look back in awe and wonder at his 100m display and wonder just how fast could this guy go? Remember, he wasn't even a 100m runner until a few months ago.

Best MomentUsain Bolt 100 metres

It's that man again, taking all three of the individual awards. This moment, for me, eclipses even Michael Phelps touching the wall to secure his eighth gold medal. I had plenty to choose from, mostly involving Phelps or Bolt.

Real contenders were Jason Lezak's phenomenal comeback in the last 20 metres of the 4 x 100m medley relay, any of Phelp's seven World Records, Bolts 200m display, Jamaica's 4 x 100m relay performance, the Opening Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony.

But I have gone for Usain Bolt's 100 metre performance. I still can't get over it. This man became the fastest man that has EVER stepped foot on this earth. Ever. And he was celebrating 20 metres from the end. I couldn't believe it, and I will forever remember it.

The Great Britain Awards

Great Britain have been phenomenal in this Olympics. As mentioned above, this has been our best Olympics for over a century. We finished fourth on the medals table, but what made that even sweeter is that we beat the Australians and the Germans!

Best TeamCycling Team

This was a choice between the cycling or the sailing. And, seeing as how I didn't watch the sailing, I've gone for the cycling. Britain dominated the Velodrome, yet again. The likes of Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins were unstoppable, the former winning three gold medals.

The British cycling team is one of the most formidable in Olympic history, and this year again showed why.

Most SurprisingRebecca Adlington

I don't think I'm being harsh when I say that very, very few people had heard of Rebecca Adlington before these Games. Those who had wouldn't have been able to predict how they were going to go for her.

Two golds in the pool made her Britain's most successful swimmer in over 100 years. Add to that a huge World Record in her second race and you have a surprising, but delightful, result for the unheard of superstar.

BestChris Hoy

Best Athlete goes to cyclist Chris Hoy. He has consistently been at the top for eight years now, always performing at the Olympics. In Sydney 2000 he won silver, in Athens 2004 he won a gold and in Beijing 2008 he won three golds.

And please, no one say a cyclist can't be best athlete. Cycling at that speed for that long is incredibly hard work.

New Olympic HeroesRebecca Adlington, Ben Ainslie, Chris Hoy, Rebecca Romero

There are probably more that I have missed out. James DeGale and the Yngling sailing crew narrowly miss out on Olympic hero status. But Adlington takes her second award to go with her two golds, Ben Ainslie won a gold medal for a third Olympics in a row in the sailing, making him a hero nearing the five in a row by Steve Redgrave.

Chris Hoy takes a third award to with his three gold at this games, if he wasn't an Olympic hero before, he is now. Rebecca Romero won gold as a cyclist, four years after taking silver in Athens as a rower.

Best MomentRebecca Adlington winning her second gold

She didn't expect one, so when the second one came along she must have been on top of the world. Her celebration said it all really. When she looked up to realise she was a double Olympic gold medallist, and she had smashed the World Record, the joy on her face was clear to see.

It was a great moment because she became Britain's most successful Olympic swimmer in over 100 years. It also completed her transition from unknown swimmer to world megastar.

So those are my awards for these Olympics. Feel free to agree or disagree with my choices! Well done to everyone who participated in those Olympics!

Don't forget to take part in the Great Olympic Quiz!


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