[@Imagetag: The nightmare that was supposed to be the 2012 Olympics simply never materialized. Photo: AP]
Usain Bolt made himself a living legend -- just ask him. Michael Phelps swam a last lap into history. A man ran on carbon blades. Two track stars and a long jumper produced perhaps the greatest night in British sports history.
Take a victory lap, London.
The nightmare that was supposed to be the 2012 Olympics -- gridlock and chaos Underground and overground, a city locked down by terrorist threats, day after day of gray and drizzle -- simply never materialized.
Instead, London threw a five-ring party. "Nobody wanted to sit this dance out," said Sebastian Coe, the two-time Olympic 1,500-meter champion and chief of the London organizing committee. "Everybody has wanted to be involved."
Or, as the stately Economist said: "Britain looked at itself and liked what it saw." The games were not without controversy. Eight badminton players were sent home in disgrace for trying to lose -- doing it to gain a better draw in their tournament, but violating the Olympic spirit of competition.
Organizers scrambled to sell last-minute tickets, and ended up giving some to the military, after unsightly photos of empty seats were splashed across the famously cantankerous British press.
Some moments were downright ugly. A Greek triple jumper made a racist joke on Twitter. A Swiss soccer player used a slur to describe the South Koreans who had just won, and said that they "can go burn."
At what were called the first social media Olympics, both remarks made it around the world in seconds. The punishment came almost as quickly: Go home. The athletes who misbehaved were drowned out anyway. Tens of thousands of people flocked daily into Olympic Park. They filled Olympic stadium for morning heats. They gave the handball arena a new name: The Box That Rocks.
Sophia Gardens, Cardiff ,6/20/2013, 15:00 (IST)
Edgbaston, Birmingham ,6/15/2013, 15:00 (IST)
Sophia Gardens, Cardiff ,6/16/2013, 15:00 (IST)
The Oval, London ,6/17/2013, 17:30 (IST)
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