For the past two weeks, I’ve been glued to my television and laptop watching Olympics coverage. I’m betting that’s the case for many of you.
Rather than comment on one newsworthy event (there’s been two or three every day), I thought I’d recap some of the best and worst moments of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Michael Phelps proved his worth again in 2012, netting six medals and undoubtedly going down as the greatest Olympic athlete of our generation. Though his title is arguable, his record isn’t.
Despite a lackluster fourth place finish in the 400 meter individual medley, Phelps rallied and netted six medals in London — four gold and two silver — in what would give him a 22 career record.
If Phelps’ gold total represented a lone country, he would still beat countries such as Poland, Cuba and Spain.
Grenada’s Kirani James became his country’s first medalist after winning the men’s 400 meter race and etching his name into the history books.
Grenada’s population is only 110,000 people and because he was competing at the highest international level, many wrote him off.
Prime Minister Tillman Thomas declared a national holiday on Tuesday after James won the gold. Not bad for a country as populated as Erie, Pa.
This year in beach volleyball, two U.S. women’s teams played for the same gold medal. This was the fourth time the United States has taken gold in five Olympiads since the sport was introduced into the game in 1996.
The veteran team of Walsh-Jennings and May-Treanor became the first two women to win three Olympic beach volleyball medals of any color.
And finally, Oscar Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic games after a harrowing multi-year struggle finally enabled him compete in the men’s 400 meter race.
The South African runner was barred from running in the 2008 Beijing Olympics because judges though his running blades were an unfair advantage (although later this decision was overturned.)
Lolo Jones spawned a media circus over the past several weeks when details about her family and personal life surfaced.
In a scathing review of Jones’ abilities, The NY Times said she has “received far greater publicity than any other American track and field athlete competing in the London Games. This was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign.”
I’m not sure if I agree with the NTY about her achievements: the woman earned two world indoor championships, one in 2008 and one in 2010. But certainly, I’ve seen far more coverage of her out of any Olympian.
In an anticlimactic end, Jones fizzled for a fourth place finish in the 100 meter hurdles on Tuesday.
U.S. boxer Errol Spence couldn’t prevent the first medal shutout in boxing history, heralding the slow decline of the once highly competitive national sport.
It was the U.S.A’s worst showing in Olympic boxing yet, and fans are now pointing to 2012 as the year when boxing reached its low-point.
Chinese Olympic hurdler Liu Xiang failed to place for the second Olympic attempt in a row at the 110 meter hurdles.
Liu rocketed to fame after winning the 2004 Athens Olympics and becoming the first Chinese athlete to claim a track and field gold.
But in 2008 in Beijing, after an Achilles injury didn’t heal in time, Xiang pulled out of the 110 meter races.
And on Tuesday, still representing China’s hope, Xiang crashed into his first hurdle in his first heat of the 110 meter hurdles. He hobbled off the field, clutching his old Achilles tendon that prevented him from performing for the past two Olympics.
Four pairs of women’s doubles badminton players were ejected from Olympic play for blatantly throwing matches in a bid for better seeding.
The Wembley Arena venue disqualified the players in for two reasons: “Not using one’s best efforts to win a match and conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport.”
And Greek jumper Voula Papachristou was expelled from her Olympic team Wednesday for racist Twitter comments mocking African immigrants.
The Hellenic Olympic Committee said that Papachristou had been expelled because of “statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement.”
It was the swiftest action I’d ever seen come down from the Olympic committee, signify just how much she’d ticked everyone off.
But the ugliest moment of the Olympics was by far the back-flopper from German diver Stephan Feck in the men’s 3-meter springboard diving preliminaries.
He setup, launched, flipped in the air and … smacked hard on his back in front of thousands of spectators.
Feck received a total of zero points for his dive and dropped out of the competition after his next dive.
The video has gone viral and is now entertaining millions around the world. Poor guy.
And with this quick recap, we end what has been one heck of an international roller coaster. The closing ceremonies are today, and I feel like the games just began.
We’ve had the ups and downs of an entire pro-league season condensed in just about two weeks.
All I know is that I can’t wait for Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Ryan Carpe is a sports writer for the Daily Advocate. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.