No actual words to really describe how brilliant London 2012 has been… It came, it delivered, it inspired and it will live on! I feel extremely lucky and privileged to have been around in London to have experienced it, to revel in the glory and to have some great memories of it. From the good, great and truly super human moments, my god, the Olympics didn’t disappoint and as per usual its spirit was sprinkled on all corners of the Games from start to finish…
My top 12 moments sealed with that Olympic magic..
12- Putting the Bad in Badminton
Ok, so there wasn’t that many controversial moments of London 2012.. everyone seemed to get along quite well, the only shockers I can think of was the Korea flag blunder and those bloody empty seats when apparently all the tickets had ‘sold out’. Apart from that I can’t think of…. OH! Wait a minute, I remember… shit kicked off on the Badminton courts a few days in. Let’s face it, I mean badminton rarely hits the Olympic headlines, but did when 8 players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were sent home in disgrace after deliberately trying to lose matches. They deliberately threw their games in a bid to gain a better draw in the next round, in violation of the Olympic spirit. Basically the teams were hitting the shuttle cock into the net each serve they had. It was ridiculous and so obvious, maybe if they had been a bit more clever with their game tactics and had not taken the blatant piss, they may of had an argument.
11- Ben ‘Don’t get me angry’ Ainsley
Ben Ainslie became the greatest Olympic sailor in history as he won a fourth consecutive gold medal with victory in the Finn class, but it long looked like he was out of luck as he continually finished behind Denmark’s Jonas Hogh-Christensen. However, the Dane and Dutchman Pieter-Jan Postma made a fatal mistake in teaming up against Ainslie. It pissed the hell out of him basically… and he didn’t keep quiet about it either: ‘That’s a mistake, they don’t want to make me angry’.. Ainslie said in his BBC interview, and how right he was. He hasn’t won 4 gold’s for nothing! On the final race he came out like a man possessed and true to his word he cut down the not-so great Dane in his tracks and emerged with the big G! Love a bit of chat on sports field.. its exciting at least for us punters! Go Ben!
10- Blade Runner
When Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee from South Africa with carbon-fibre blades for legs, finished last in the semi-final of the 400m, Grenada’s eventual gold medallist Kirani James went to him, exchanged vest numbers and shared an embrace. A beautiful moment of sportsmanship. Kirani said.. “Oscar is special. It’s a memorable moment for me to be out there competing with him’.. His participation in the 2012 Olympics represents a new chapter in sports history and proof that even disabilities cannot hinder a determined and inspired athlete. Only at the Olympics!
9- The Flying Dutchman
Although the final lap of Mo Farah’s races were genuine hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck stuff, for a minute of pure Olympic hedonism I would go for the flamboyant, breath-taking routine of Epke Zonderland to snatch the horizontal bar title. I remember I was eating beans on toast when I saw this and was solid throughout his piece, eyes didn’t move! Zonderland’s routine was pretty much all-or-nothing, silky smooth throughout and nailing some of the worlds most difficult moves! A back-to-back-to-back (that’s three) release combination and then accompanied the crowds ‘oohs’ and ‘aahhs’ he pulled off the ‘Cassina’ the ‘Kovacs’ and the ‘Kolman’. His gamble was rewarded and he ended the Netherlands’ 84-year wait for an Olympic gymnastics gold.
8- Do the MoBot
As soon as Usian Bolt clinched gold in the 100m, people everywhere were doing the Bolt. I did it way too many times! In fact all Games long the abiding images of victory had been the Jamaican’s ‘Bolt’ where basically one hand is extended diagonally towards the sky while the other hand bends towards the same direction and let’s not forget Farah’s MoBot where he touches the top of his head with both hands, repeatedly forming the letter ‘M’…
In a camera man’s dream, on the last night of athletics both fella’s ended up on the podium doing the other man’s trademark move. Tis the stuff of montage gold and possibly the excusable face of the London 2012 razzmatazz… Iconic!
7- World Record of the Games
Kenya’s David Rudisha, a Maasai tribesman who was trained by an Irish priest, crushed his world record in a breathtaking 800m race which for me was defiantly the most gob-smacking new world record of the Games by far. He finished in 1 minute, 40.91 seconds, taking 0.10 seconds off his mark from 2010 and he lead from the very start. He looked invincible. The race was blistering. Our man who came in last place, Team GB’s Andrew Osagie, ran a time that would have won him a gold in any of the last 3 Games.
After the race, David said in his BBC interview that he hoped he had made Seb Coe proud..
6- Team GB at the Velodrome
Cycling offered many favourite moments for me, haven’t been this obsessed since.. erm, 4 years ago! Ok, so we’ve got good old Wiggo speeding past Luis León Sánchez in the time trial, the women’s pursuit team closing on the Americans in the final, Laura Trott’s utter mastery of the elimination and the final chapter of Pendleton and Mears rivalry, both wining a gold each in the end…. The British domination of track cycling summed up the London Games. A passionate and deafening home crowd cheered Britain on to seven of the 10 gold medals on offer. Reminder for the next Olympics.. Velodrome tickets just as important as the track! Perhaps the single greatest moment at the Velodrome was Chris Hoy’s 6th gold medal of his career when he put on a display of raw sprinting to rewrite how the keirin can be won. He was fighting til the bitter end and had the nation on the edge of their seats. When he started to cry on the podium, I was an actual mess..
5- Michael Phelps the greatest of them all..
He may have not had the most productive Olympics of his career.. He only got 4 golds? You mad bro? Seriously, he did by anyone’s standards have a stellar time at London 2012, as he moved his tremendous tally to 22 medals *18 of them gold* to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. Put simply, Phelps has won more medals as an individual than many nations in over 100 years of competition. These staggering accolades were attained with 4 golds (men’s 4x100m medley, men’s 100m butterfly, men’s 200m individual medley and men’s 4x200m freestyle relay) and 2 silvers (men’s 200m butterfly and men’s 4x100m freestyle relay) in the London Aquatic Centre.
Greatest of all time? What a pointless discussion. Let’s just all agree that he is a special athlete and that his dominance was both pulse raising and worthy of our unbridled respect..
4- The Hulk
Not many gold medal celebrations could top Germany’s Olympic discus champion Robert ‘The Hulk’ Harting. As soon as he found out the gold was his, he ripped open his competition vest and took off down the hurdle course laid out for Sally Pearson’s final. Fair play to the fella, he cleared every single hurdle, belly out and the German flag around his neck! It was a beautiful sight! His 1st Olympic gold medal adding to his 2 world titles. The wild celebrations didn’t end at the track. After his night out, Harting fell asleep on the train and had his official kit and Olympic accreditation stolen. Total hero!
3- Bert Le Clos the people’s hero!
A nice reminder that behind every athlete, there’s a proud family. The reaction of Chad le Clos’s father after his son beat the seemingly inhuman Michael Phelps was instant TV gold. It was one of the shocks of the games when South African Chad beat Phelps on the 200m Fly, and although the swim was remarkable it had nothing on his father’s delightful, overly emotional interview with the BBC. Speaking to Clare Balding, the older Le Clos was fulsome in his praise for his ‘beautiful, down-to-earth’ boy and said ‘I’ve died and went to heaven and whatever happens in my live now, it’s plain sailing, it’s plain sailing’. I honestly can’t get enough of it. Crying with laughter or just tear’s of joy, Bert Le Clos’ emotional reaction took the gold medal for the Games’ most tear-jerking moment. By a mile.
2- Usian Bolt: legend
My favourite athlete of all time! End of. It wasn’t just the double-double, Bolt won a magnificent double-triple, taking gold in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay for the second Games in a row. As the only person to achieve the feat, it’s hard to argue with his boast that he’s a legend and the greatest athlete of all.
His gold in the 100m was dominant, the 200m was supreme, but his role in Jamaica’s world record relay win summed up his brilliance. With Ryan Bailey taking the baton for the US perhaps centimetres in front of him in the final leg, Bolt swallowed him up in no time and set sail into history.. *Doing the Bolt*
1- Super Saturday
It would be utter sacrilege if this wasn’t number 1 right? A day that will go down in history as the greatest day of British sport ever, with 6 gold medals and an unprecedented 3 track and field titles in the one session, well 45 minutes to be precise! It started off with two of Team GB’s super powers in the velodrome and rowing lake.
The men’s four came up trumps and double sculls pair of Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking also managed to pick up gold before Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell smashed their own team pursuit record for a 6th time whilst powering away to glory.
Victory in those venues may have been expected, but such success is never guaranteed inside the Olympic Stadium. Jess Ennis had responded to the huge crowds by putting herself in pole position for heptathlon gold, and the evening session saw her run ‘victory laps’ around the final 800m event being roared on all the way. She had done it. Poster girl was now golden girl and she completed it was record breaking PB’s and a smile throughout! Moment’s later Greg Rutherford won Team GB’s first long jump gold since 1964 as Ennis celebrated, and with the crowd wound up into a frenzy they cheered every one of Mo Farah’s 25 laps in the 10,000m, none more so than a pulsating final 400m as he went for glory. Our Golden night was wrapped up when Mo Farah won his first gold in the 10,000m. It was simply sensational; no Brit had ever won the Olympic event and there had not been a non-African winner since 1984. Farah’s follow-up win a week later in the 5,000 was even more remarkable given he had to recover fast from the 10,000 and had to see off a fleet of strong challengers on the nail-biting final lap. Mo’s infectious smile/shocked face is the one image I’ll take away from the Games and will continue to be inspired by. Can’t get enough…