Scenes from two weeks in London 2012
1. After winning gold in Beijing, Kristin Armstrong retired from cycling to have a baby. Well, she decided to come out of retirement for London and stood on the podium with her 3-year-old son as gold medalist in the women’s time trial.
2. If you saw Missy Franklin in London, chances are you saw her smiling. The bubbly 17-year-old from Colorado with the size 13 feet won four golds — the most of any female athlete at the Games — in swimming.
3. One of the biggest upsets came in the men’s 100-meter freestyle as American Nathan Adrian upset Aussie James Magnussen for the gold. He also won quite a few female fans.
4. Any thought that these Olympics wouldn’t still belong to Michael Phelps disappeared after a fourth place finish in the 400-meter individual medley. In his next six races he won two silvers and four more golds as he set the record for most medals in Olympic history.
5. Finishing second is no fun. Just ask Sanya Richards-Ross, who cracked down the final straightaway of the 400 meters in Beijing and lost her chance at gold. No such pain in London, as Richards-Ross took gold in the 400m and the 4x400m relay.
6. Storybook endings are rare in sports. Phelps got his in London, but so did the duo of Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor. The best pair in beach volleyball history won their third straight gold in London.
7. For the most part the weather was surprisingly good — and very unlike rainy London. Just don’t tell that to gold medalist Marianne Vos and the ladies of the women’s road race.
8. Remember when people talked about Usain Bolt being vulnerable coming into London? Not so much. He leaves as the unquestioned greatest sprinter of all-time.
9. Nothing sums up the agony of defeat more than American runner Morgan Uceny, who tripped and fell on the final lap of the women’s 1,500 meters. It was deja vu for Uceny, who also fell on the last lap at the 2011 World Championships.
10. Revenge never tasted as sweet as it did for the U.S. women’s soccer team. Alex Morgan’s goal in the 123rd minute of the semifinal against Canada set up the U.S. win over Japan, who beat them in the 2011 World Cup final.
11. You wouldn’t have known it in the U.S., but the biggest star going into the game for Britain was Jessica Ennis. The 26-year-old from Sheffield was plastered all over billboards in London. She didn’t disappoint, winning the heptathlon in front of a raucus Olympic stadium.
12. As if you needed an illustration, it hurts to drop 423 pounds on your neck. Germany’s Matthias Steiner found that out the hard way. He was, thankfully, miraculously unharmed.
13. There is rarely a better lock for gold than a Chinese diver. They won seven of eight golds in China and six of eight in London. But thanks to American David Boudia, they didn’t win the marquee event — the men’s 10-meter platform. Boudia sunk world champ Qiu Bo to take gold.
14. Even Usain Bolt was imitating Mo Farah by the time the British native won double gold in the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter races. He and Ennis were clearly the home favorites to come out of London.
15. Nope, she isn’t even slightly impressed with that silver medal. McKayla Maroney is probably still the best vaulter in the world — but after landing on her butt with a gold medal all but assured, it’s not surprising the world got that look.
16. No such snear from individual all-around champion Gabby Douglas. She was all smiles after capturing America’s third straight gold in the all-around — and a whole lot of fans back in the states.