1) Gabby Wins Gold….Twice:
The 16-year-old Olympic gymnast made history and became a household name by becoming the first African American woman and first woman of color to win the “Individual All-Around” in woman’s gymnastics. Gabby created an early lead for herself by earning a 15.966 on the vault. She was able to hold her lead throughout the event, earning another high score (15.500) on the balance beam, and managed to score competitively on floor and uneven bars. Gabby, dubbed the “Flying Squirrel”, also took home a gold in the “Women’s Team Final”. Though Gabby struggled in her Balance Beam and Uneven Bars Event finals, Gabby will leave London a double gold medalist and a very wealthy young lady, since companies will be flocking to her with endorsements.
2) Oscar Pistorious Makes His Olympic Debut:
If you haven’t been keeping up Track and Field, then you probably are not familiar with the name Oscar Pistorious. This year, Pistorious became the first double amputee to compete in an Olympics among able-bodied runners. Hailing from South Africa, Pistorious came into this year’s Olympics as the underdog, with critics and commentators wondering how he would hold up on such a large stage against other able-bodied runners. Though Pistorious is a very decorated Paralympic sprinter, many did not know how he would fare against his competition in the Men’s 400m and the Men’s 4x400 relay.
Dubbed the “Blade Runner”, Pistorious ran hard and fought to make history once again, by becoming the first double amputee to make it to a Sprinting final. Though he did not achieve this goal and was robbed of a chance to run in the 4x400m relay, due to a collision between two runners during the event, Pistorious served as an inspiration for able-bodied and handicapped athletes alike. After London, he will be competing in the Paralympics, where he is the defending champion in the 100, 200, and 400 meters. Pistorious is also expected to lead the 4x 400m relay.
3) Serena Williams C-walking to a Golden Slam:
After handedly defeating Maria Sharapova in the Gold Medal Women’s Singles match, beating her 6-0 6-1, Williams added insult to injury by doing a “Crip Walking” victory dance in front of a packed stadium at the All England Club, where she won the Wimbledon title just a few weeks ago. This moment was memorable for me not only because she made the record books again, but because of the irony of where she decided to do this dance which has been performed by the likes of Snoop Dogg, or rather “Snoop Lion”, and has been featured in many other Hip-Hop music videos. The All England Club is known for its proper decorum and preppy atmosphere, and it was great to see Serena, who has never fit into the traditional mold of what a female tennis player should be, shake things up.
After spending over a year off the court do to an injury and a health scare, Serena proved to all the critics that she still has what it takes, even at the age of 31, to compete at the high level of tennis that has made her famous. Though she has competed in many Olympics, this is the first gold medal in singles for Williams. This makes Williams the second women to achieve a “Golden Slam”, winning all four major single titles and an Olympic gold medal. Williams will leave London with two gold medals this year, one for singles and one for doubles.
4) Usain Bolt:
As expected, Usain Bolt crushed his competition in both the 100m and 200m dashes, and was the anchor for Team Jamaica’s 4x 100 relay. The Jamaican runner and fastest man in the world blew past his competition and became the first man since Carl Lewis in 1988 to defend an Olympic sprinting title. He topped his dominating times in Beijing, picking up three gold medals in the meantime.
Known for his cocky persona and comedic antics, Bolt had to put his money where his mouth was, which he definitely did. Setting the Olympic Record in the 100-meter final with a time of 9.63 seconds and becoming the most decorated Jamaican Athlete of all-time, Bolt has definitely solidified his place in the history books and has been a source of entertainment and anticipation throughout the Olympics. Seemingly undefeatable, it’s no wonder why Bolt dubbed himself “the greatest athlete of all time”.
5) McKayla Maroney’s insane Vault:
As the American women’s gymnastics team, nicknamed the “Fabulous Five”, competed this year, many people anticipated Gabby Douglass, Jordan Weieber, and Aly Raisman stealing the show and bringing the team to gold. What many people did not expect was for one of the other girls on the team to shine and ultimately become a household name. So when McKayla Maroney stepped up to compete in her only event, the vault, spectators did not know what to expect from her. Spectators and judges were wowed when Maroney executed a near perfect vault. It was one of the awesome moments that kind that makes you wish you could do what she had just done. I mean, how cool would it be to run, jump a little trampoline, hit a vault, and go spinning and flipping through the air? Not only was Maroney’s form through the air incredible, but she also she stuck her landing so firmly and with ease, earning her a massive 16.233. Her performance circulated around the Internet, going viral almost instantly, and even made a judge’s jaw drop. Unfortunately for Maroney, she was unable to repeat this glorious moment in the Vault Event finals, where a fall cost her a second gold medal.
6) The Williams Sisters Take Home Another Gold
As expected Venus and Serena Williams took home another gold medal in Women’s Doubles. They sisters really came to play this year and steamrolled through their competition, overpowering every team they played. This win gave each sister a record four gold medals, and makes Venus the second female tennis player to win medals in three Olympics. The win also represents something more symbolic for the pair. In a way, it represents a comeback. Both sisters have battled health issues since the last Olympics. Most recently, Venus was diagnosed with the Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes fatigue. After watching the Williams sisters play, it was clear that they deserved this momentous win.
7) Andy Murray Wins a Gold Medal for the Brits:
You can call it home court advantage, pressure, or redemption, but a win is a win, and a gold medal is a gold medal. Andy Murray proved that he can be the champion that everyone has hoped for him to be. Though he still holds no grand slam titles. His decisive, straight sets (6-1, 6-2, 6-4) win over “King of Centre Court”, Roger Federer, could mean a turn around for Murray, who has often struggled in the finals and the semi-finals of big events; Murray has made it to four grand slam finals, but has never proven to be victorious.
Throughout the match, Murray made sure to hammer away at every shot that came his way, overpowering and outplaying Federer, the current world number one. Federer made 31 unforced errors and Murray capitalized on this, winning nine consecutive games and breaking Federer’s serve four times in a row. With the crowd roaring behind his every move, Murray did not let up and didn’t lose any momentum. He fought hard to the end and was met with a standing ovation upon winning match point.
8) Allyson Felix Finally Gets Her Golden Moment
It always seemed as though Allyson Felix of the USA Track and Field team would always be a bridesmaid but never a bride, in the Olympics Women’s 200m sprint. It seemed as though no matter how hard she tried in last two games, she always came up short, by less than .25 of a second each time. Not only did she come in second twice, but she was beat by the same woman, Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica. Now, there is nothing wrong with a Silver medal; in reality, most athletes do not even come close to medalling at the Olympics. But for Felix, to come so close and to lose by such a small margin must’ve hurt.
This year’s Olympics was a shot at redemption for Felix, who had trained hard and really pushed herself since Beijing. Felix came into London confident, as if she knew that this was her chance to shine. All her hard work proved to pay off. Felix finally took home a gold in the 200m, defeating her longtime rival, Veronica Campbell-Brown and beating the 100m gold medalist, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. So how did Allyson Felix do it? Felix was able to drop her time .04 seconds from 2008 and .25 seconds from 2004. Felix’s gold streak didn’t stop there.
Felix managed to pick up two more gold medals, while in London. She competed in the 4x100m relay, where her team set a new world record (40.82s), and the 4x400m relay. Felix’s gold medals make her the first American woman since 1988 to win three Olympic gold medals.
9) Misty and Kerri three-peat
Beach Volleyball fans were crushed and somewhat blindsided when they heard that the London Olympics would be last time beach volleyball’s dominating duo, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings would be playing together. The pair confirmed reports that they would not be competing in the 2016 Olympics together, upon the announcement of Misty May-Treanor’s retirement after London. The duo, who have been dominating forces in beach volleyball, since teaming up after the 2000 games in Sydney, were playing as reigning champions and playing for their third consecutive gold medal.
Coming into this year’s Olympics the duo had not lost a set in any of their previous matches and hoped to extend their Olympic winning streak. Though they lost their first set against the Czech Republic, ending their 32 consecutive Olympics sets record, the two came back to dominate the rest of the match. In the Gold medal finals match, the two squared off against fellow Americans April Ross and Jennifer Kessy. May-Treanor and Walsh-Jennings decisively won the match and a third consecutive gold medal in straight sets 21-16, 21-16, proving why they have been called the “the greatest beach volleyball team of all-time”.
10) Phelps, Phelps, Phelps
What kind of review would this be if I didn’t talk about Michael Phelps? The American poster boy of the Olympics, proved why he is loved and respected so much and why he is an Olympic hero. After announcing that this would be his last Olympic games, Phelps went on to win his 22nd Olympic medal this year. In addition, Phelps takes home the honor of being the most decorated Olympian of all-time. Taking home six Olympic medals, four of which were gold, Phelps propelled himself to the record books once again, and made everyone realize why this guy is a sport’s legend. I mean, how often does someone win 22 Olympic medals, 18 of which are gold? Phelps will be able to relish in his retirement knowing that for the third time in a row he earned the most medals at an Olympic games and holds the record for most Olympic gold medals won.