London, England — It was a 16-day blur that felt like it went way too fast and way too slow all at once. Sixteen days that saw the highs (Usain Bolt’s treble, the U.S. swim team’s 31 medals in 34 events, Gabby Douglas’ all-around, David Boudia’s world stunner, Missy Franklin’s arrival) and lows (Phelps falling in his signature race, Jordyn Wieber falling short, and Morgan Uceny actually falling … again).
But no matter how you slice it, London 2012 was a rousing success. Traffic and logistics were not the nightmare feared (they never are). The city of London embraced the games with open arms — and Team GB took full advantage of that support. And from an American perspective, the USA is back on top. Take that China.
Team USA tallied 104 medals, 46 of them the golden variety. The total medal count is actually six short of what the U.S. pulled off in Beijing, but America won 10 more golds in London and achieved the country’s highest road gold total ever.
But most importantly, we took it to China. In Beijing, China surpassed Team USA in gold medals, leaving many of us to proclaim that total medals was all that matters.
No need to split the prize in 2012, as USA handedly beat China in both golds (46-38) and total medals (104-87).
As for the host nation, everything went swimmingly. (As long as we ignore that horrid closing ceremony. Chubby Batman, the Pet Shop Boys dressed as the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz, gyrating George Michael, and a Stomp comeback? Really GB? I know the closing is always the ugly duckling of the Games, but why not just bring in the Stones and Adele and call it a day?)
Sixteen years ago, Great Britain won one medal. It won 65 in London. And the Brits have noticed. Jess Ennis, Chris Hoy, Greg Rutherford, Laura Trott, Kat Grainger, Ed McKeever – they’ll never have to buy a pint in Great Britain again. Well, at least for another week or so.
And then there’s Mo Farah. Or, as he’ll be known in a month or two, Sir Mo Farah. London is bonkers for Farah, who won the 5000m and 10000m golds in front of euphoric crowds at Olympic Stadium. Farah is Britain’s Michael Phelps, which means, in all likelihood, he’ll grow a ridiculous goatee, gain 20 pounds and refuse a bunch of random urine tests this year.
(Side note: England really needs to reevaluate its knighting decisions. Nothing against Farah, but if there ever is a return to hand-to-hand combat warfare, I’m not sure putting Elton John, Bill Gates and Bono around a roundtable is going to be much help.)
Britain is over the moon right now. A fantastic Olympics for the host nation. Whatever it takes to make them forget that the food is terrible and the Internet never works.
But we can talk medal counts and logistics as much as we want, what we’ll remember years from now are moments. Indelible moments. London 2012 was full of them.
Misty and Kerri’s three-peat.
McKayla’s golden vault McKayla was allegedly unimpressed with herself.
Boudia’s do-or-die dive.
Phelps being out-touched, and then coming back to dominate.
The women’s 4×100 world record.
Manteo Mitchell breaking his leg … and finishing his leg.
Aly Raisman’s golden floor routine.
Nathan Adrian’s smile (he’s so handsome).
Kim Rhode hitting 99 out of 100 targets.
Jordan Burroughs pinning his promised gold.
Ashton Eaton’s decisive decathlon.
Morgan Uceny getting tripped just before her final kick.
Kevin Durant’s lights out gold medal game.
Missy Franklin’s four golds.
USA Soccer’s unbelievable cardiac win over Canada.
Usain Bolt again.
Sixteen days of history have been written in London. Records were bested, hearts were broken and dreams were realized. But with the torch now extinguished, the world moves on. In the Olympics world, this means on to Sochi and Rio. For the rest of us, it means on to baseball, football and soccer.
A month from now, much of these 16 days will be forgotten. But thanks to London, the moments (and the terrible food) will be remembered forever.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.