For Olympic fans, they had sixteen days of excitement and intrigues as they watched athletes from around the world compete for gold. Those that watched saw the best and the worst that the 2012 Olympics had to offer. Whether it was world records being broken or athletes being disqualified and sent home, it was clear that anything was possible during this year’s competitions. What also became evident was when it reached its’ conclusion on August 12th, the 2012 Olympics did not disappoint.
For starters, United States fans were ecstatic to discover that they had won the most gold medals at 46. On the final day of competition, the United States won gold medals in men’s freestyle wrestling and in men’s basketball. With a grand total of 104 medals, the United States finished with 46 gold, 29 silver and 29 bronze. For Olympic fans who marveled at the thrill of competition and upsets, several storylines presented themselves to bring the Olympics to a fantastic conclusion.
Soccer fans were entertained to a match between Mexico and Brazil where it took just 29 seconds for the first goal to be scored. Oribe Peralta of Mexico put his team up with the first goal and in the 75th added another for insurance. Though Brazil had a late rally, Mexico held on to win their country’s first gold medal in soccer. Peralta said, “I don’t know if this was the best match of my career, but what I do know is that this is the most important, because I am here today with a gold medal.” He also commented that he dreamt about this moment as being one example of something you don’t have the opportunity to live every day of your life. Though Brazil’s squad has a long list of accomplishments involving soccer, they must now wait another four years before attempting to win their first gold in 2016.
While one country shined in soccer, it was the determination of an individual in South Africa that made him a part of Olympic history on Saturday night. The long road for South African runner Oscar Pistorius came to a head during the 4×400-meter relay. Being a double-amputee who was born without fibulae, his legs were amputated before he was one. He had battled track and field officials to prove that the carbon fiber blades he runs on is not an advantage he can use over opponents.
Being allowed to compete in the London Olympics, he and his team qualified for the semifinals; however, appeared to have lost the event as their teammate got tangled up with a Kenyan runner and dropped his baton and crashed to the ground. It took a series of protests and appeals to give Pistorius’ team a second chance as the Kenyan team was disqualified and South Africa was placed as the ninth team. The South African team finished eighth; however, something more memorable occurred. The deafening ovation that “Blade Runner” Pistorius received from the more than 80,000 fans that was present, as he was running the final leg of the race, will go down as one of the all-time moments in Olympic history.
There were other examples of individual heroics and teams that brought greatness to their country and to the spirit of the Olympics. Whether it was the Jamaica team breaking the world record in the 4×100-meter relay, the Bahamas upset over the United States in the 4×400-meter relay or Russia’s impressive performance over Argentina that earned them a Bronze medal, one thing was clear; the ending of the 2012
Olympics did not happen with a dud. Instead, it became a demonstration of the Olympic spirit and proof that anything is possible so long as you don’t give up. The Russians, coming into the Olympic Games, were not considered to be contenders for any medals for the men’s basketball games. The bronze became Russia’s first post-Soviet Union basketball medal at the Olympics. Though it is not the gold, Andrei Kirilenko, who scored 20 points in the game, comments that the bronze feels like a gold medal to them. It has also become a great reward for a team who undoubtedly had a great Olympic moment.
Olympic Athletes to Watch in London 2012
Dara Torres, the 45 Year Old Swimmer’s Olympic Career
Swimmer Missy Franklin Wins Gold Medal in 100m Backstroke
Aly Raisman Floor Routine Scores Gold in Women’s Gymnastics
South African Amputee Sprinter Oscar Pistorius