26 sports. 205 countries represented. 313 Gold Medals. 17,000 athletes. 150,000 condoms. Don’t worry, I will explain that last one later. Throughout the 2012 Olympics in London, England, there seemed to be a new storyline that unfolded each day. Whether it was Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, the Fierce Five women’s gymnastics team led by Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, the beach volleyball Dynamic Duo of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, the dominance of USA basketball, or even a badminton scandal; there were so many reasons to be glued to the TV during these Olympics. In fact, NBC said that the 2012 Games were the most-watched United States TV event in history, with a total of 219.4 million people viewing at least part of the coverage proving that whether you follow sports or not, you probably became immersed in the Olympics.
Let’s dive right into one of the biggest initial headlines as the Olympics started which was Michael Phelps not winning a medal in his first race! Many speculated that Phelps possibly did not come to the 2012 Games fully prepared after seeing him finish in fourth place in the 400-meter individual medley. Some thought that fellow American Ryan Lochte would overtake Phelps as the face of U.S. swimming during this Olympics, but four gold and two silver medals later, Phelps made sure he remained number one. As the Olympics concluded Phelps retired, and when he did so, he left with an Olympic record for most career gold medals with 18 during his illustrious career. And here’s more good news: America may have found a new star for the next Olympic Games replacing Phelps. Seventeen-year-old Missy Franklin became a hit as the soon to be senior in high school destroyed her competition capturing four gold medals in London.
Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Weiber and Kyla Ross, also known as the Fierce Five, made up the U.S. women’s gymnastics team that took home the first gold since the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta. Douglas, a 16-year-old from Virginia, made history when she became the first African American to win gold in her individual all-around. Raisman, the captain and oldest of the five gymnasts, added a gold medal in the floor exercise and a bronze on the balance beam. Maroney notched a silver medal in the vault.
To the beach we go! Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, better known as the Dynamic Duo in beach volleyball, played in the Olympics for the final time together as a team. Walsh Jennings announced that she also will be retiring and will not participate in the 2016 Games. But in London, the Duo went out on top winning their third consecutive gold medal and 21st consecutive match as they won in the finals against American counterparts April Ross and Jennifer Kessy 21-16, 21-16.
It is just unfair when a team can win by 83 points…in a basketball game! That is exactly what the happened to the Nigerian team when it played the United States Men’s Basketball team on day 6 of the Olympics. U.S.A. annihilated the Nigerian team, winning 156-73. From day 1, the U.S.A. men’s basketball team was the clear-cut favorite to bring home the gold, and anything less would be considered a major disappointment. The team, led by Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, USA defeated Spain 107-100 in the finals and defended its title to win gold. This year’s team drew comparisons to the 1992 Dream Team that featured a roster of NBA legends such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen and Patrick Ewing. Another interesting parallel drawn after the Olympics was how similar Michael Jordan’s 1992 season and LeBron James’ season this past year were were. Interestingly enough, both superstars won the NBA MVP Award, an NBA Champion-ship, NBA Finals MVP, and an Olympic Gold Medal during the same season.
What Olympics would be complete without something scandalous going on…in badminton? There were eight doubles players caught in this scheme by the Badminton World Federation. The players, highlighted by the world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China, purposely threw games to gain a more favorable position in the next round of the tournament. What a disgrace! Yu was emotional after finding out he was disqualified from the Olympics and went on Twitter to say: “This is my last game. Farewell Badminton World Federation. Farewell my dear badminton.”
Oh wait. Those 150,000 condoms. What was the deal with those? A highly publicized story during the Olympics was a report that said that each athlete was given 15 condoms during the 17 day stretch of the Games. Hope Solo, goalie of USA women’s soccer team, told ESPN, “There’s a lot of sex going on.” Hope even said that in more extreme cases she has witnessed some athletes having sex “right out in the open” in the Olympic Village. Solo said, “On the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty.” That is a behind-the-scenes look that most people probably were not expecting to hear about…
there is no way I could discuss every major star, story or sports occurred during the London Games. The U.S. dominated its competitors garnering the most total medals s104) and most gold medals (46) than any other country. Sprinter Usain Bolt from Jamaica continued to shatter records in an almost casual, nonchalant manner. USA women’s soccer team won its second consecutive gold medal defeating Japan 2-1. Serena Williams won the third Olympic gold medal of her career by defeating Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 in women’s tennis singles. the USA women’s basketball team won its fifth straight gold medal defeating France in a blowout by 36 points.
For whatever reason you tuned into the Olympics, you were surely not let down be¬cause these are some of the most athletic people in the world. There was a new store each day And a new player that would steal your heart. But most of all, there was pride. You rooted for your country, which helped bring us closer together.