15 Aug Recapping the most impressive London Olympics performers
The London Olympics were among the most memorable Summer Games I’ve ever followed for numerous reasons.
Right off the bat, the greatest Olympian ever wrapped up his career in Michael Phelps, while Jamaica’s Usain Bolt earned the right to lay claim to being the greatest track sprinter ever.
U.S. women shined on the sports’ biggest stage in countless events and there were even lots of fun Ohio connections to follow.
With more than 10,000 athletes from 204 nations competing in 302 combined individual and team events over the 17-day Olympics, I won’t even begin to claim to be knowledgeable on even half the sports.
However, I’ve watched a good amount of NBC’s coverage and read numerous articles as well.
Having soaked in as much as I could, here are my five most impressive performers from the London Olympics. I’m sure others may have much different choices and that’s perfectly understandable, as mentioned above there are certainly great diversity in the hundreds of events.
5. Gabby Douglas leads USA gymnasts — I’ll readily admit it, even though I’m a guy who’s usually into mainstream sports like football, basketball, baseball and track, Olympic gymnastics are fun to watch. It’s like the ultimate reality show, hearing the back stories on the girls and watching them agonize while waiting for scores to be posted.
The winner of the women’s all-around gymnastics gold usually will get as much exposure as any event, and that’s the case with Gabby Douglas, whose picture was on a cereal box before the games were even done. Add in the fact that Douglas was the first African-American to win an all-around gold and it’s even more impressive. Douglas also led the USA to the team gold, their first since 1996.
4. Serena Williams dominates tennis — Say what you want about Serena Williams’ sportsmanship at times, but she is one of the all-time greats in tennis and her 6-0, 6-1 gold-medal win over Maria Sharapova was like tossing a no-hitter in baseball. It was that dominant. She also teamed with older sister Venus for their third doubles gold. Holding Olympic tennis at Wimbledon was pretty cool as well, it would be like having Olympic baseball at somewhere like Fenway Park.
3. Champions in the 400 – I always look for moments of great sportsmanship and inspiration in the Olympics and they were both evident in the men’s 400.
Probably my favorite moment of the Olympics was after a heat in the 400 semifinals when Grenada’s Karani James, who would go on to win gold and deliver his country’s first-ever medal, asked South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius to trade bibs with him (the nametags they wear on the front of their shirts).
Instead of being all caught up in himself, James shared his Olympic moment by honoring Pistorius, who’s a double below-knee amputee and races on artificial limbs. Incredibly, Pistorius also reached the 400 finals.
“He’s an inspiration for all of us,” James told reporters. “What he does. … takes a lot of courage, just a lot of confidence. He’s very special to our sport.”
2. Lightning Bolt strikes twice, again — There were some doubters as to whether or not Jamaica’s Usain Bolt could hold onto his title as “World’s Fastest Man,” but he laid them to rest with two stunning wins in the 100 and 200. It’s hard to believe he’s the first man to win both sprint events twice in two Olympics and it would be hard to imagine another runner like him. At a height of 6-foot-5, I daydreamed what he’d look like lined up as a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns.
1. Phelps ends career with record 22 medals — The Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte duel certainly lived up to its hype, and after Phelps’ early loss he stormed back to beat Lochte and end his career in style. It’s mind boggling to think that Phelps won 18 gold medals, two silvers and two bronzes.
At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at email@example.com