Put aside Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, and finding a favorite moment of the London Olympics becomes a difficult task — so many shining moments coming to mind. Mention must be made of the American women in the 400 meter relay, Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter, breaking a world record that stood for 27 years.
The moment reflected the ascendancy of American women. They outnumbered men on the U.S. team for the first time. They collected two-thirds of the country’s gold medals.
Among the most memorable episodes was the coming together of the host country and its athletes, the British joyful in triumph, without a jingoistic edge. Mo Farah of Britain captured the gold in the 10,000 meters. He then delivered a scintillating run in the 5,000 on Saturday evening, taking the lead with 700 meters to go, holding off challengers, achieving a rare double.
The crowd roared ever louder as Farah approached the finish line. In 2008, Britain took home 47 medals, and 30 in 2004. The 65 this time reflected, in part, the home field advantage. But there also was a commitment to shine in competition as well as playing the host.
After early bumps, the games settled into a rhythm that had many gushing about the smooth operation. So when Jessica Ennis reached a stirring completion to her much-anticipated gold medal winning performance in the pentathlon, you can bet the British cheered loudly one of their own.