London 2012, The Posterity Games

The joy, the tears, the golden moments that will live with us forever – and there's still another exhilarating week to go!

10 magic moments

'The IoS' celebrates the most uplifting events so far. Matt Chorley, Emily Loud and Jenny Soffel report

Defying the doubters

She's been called Superwoman. She's been accused of doping. Her stunning performance last Saturday was deemed impossible by some, miraculous by others. The 16-year-old Chinese Ye Shiwen's world record-breaking 400m individual medley swim was extraordinary: she finished the last 100m in 58.68sec – her last 50m was almost a fifth of a second faster than Ryan Lochte, the winner of the men's race. The leading US coach John Leonard was quick to judge Shiwen's performance as "suspicious": whenever something "unbelievable" happens "it turns out later on there was doping involved", he said. But tests came back negative. Standing in the spotlight is a young woman who has awed the world with her incredible talent. Compared with other world-class female swimmers, Shiwen has placed herself in a different bracket statistically, based on analyses of her performance. For Ye Shiwen, this was not only a victory in swimming, but also a victory over disbelievers and false accusations.

Happy to Phelps

On Tuesday, the Flying Fish, otherwise known as Michael Phelps, dived into the pool as he had done so many times already this week. When he finished the 4x200m relay, he emerged from the water as the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 19 medals. The previous record was held by gymnast Larisa Latynina from the former Soviet Union, who got her 18th medal in 1964. But the incredible Phelps didn't stop there. The 27-year-old American won his 20th medal on Thursday in the 200m individual medley, his 21st on Friday winning the 100m butterfly and yesterday he brought his gold tally to 18 and his total to 22 after the US team won the 4x100 medley relay. He says London 2012 - where he has won four golds and two silvers - will mark the end of his competitive swimming, and what better way? The most decorated Olympian ever...

One glorious, golden afternoon

Ignore double trap shooting at your peril. Ditto canoeing. While all British medal hopes rested on the cyclists and swimmers to deliver the goods and tabloid newspapers pleaded for Team GB to do better, two of the more obscure sports saved the day with a gold rush on Thursday afternoon. Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie had barely kissed their gold medals at Lee Valley, Britain's first in the canoe slalom, when news broke of another spectacular win. Barely 20 miles away, Peter Wilson, a 25-year-old farmer's son, was named Olympic champion in the double trap shooting, Britain's first shooting medal in 12 years. Wilson had paid for his own training working in bars since losing his funding in 2008. That David Florence and Richard Hounslow also collected silver in the canoe slalom was icing on the cake.

Bronze boyband

Suddenly we're all triple-A-rated coaching experts in the most obscure sports. For one afternoon we all knew a half-pike from a backhand spring. And, of course, the pommel horse dismount. For a few glorious moments it seemed Great Britain's male gymnastics team had landed a silver medal, until Japan's appeal against a low score for Kohei Uchimura's botched dismount nudged them into bronze. But do not let the colour of the medal overshadow the historic significance of the achievement. The last time Britain won a gymnastics medal in the Olympics 100 years ago, they were wearing stockings and knickerbockers. In stepping on to the podium, Louis Smith, Max Whitlock, Daniel Purvis, Sam Oldham and Kristian Thomas were catapulted on to front pages, attracting the adulation, screams and marriage proposals normally the preserve of a boyband.

Winning for women

One of the most striking things at these Games has been the performance and recognition of women. For the first time in Olympic history, every competing nation has at least one female athlete on its Olympic team. Brunei, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have never before sent women. Wojdan Shaherkani, the first Saudi woman, was defeated in minutes in her judo match, but she struck a blow for equality. The International Olympic Committee had to charmRiyadh to send female athletes. Brunei and Qatar had already announced that women would represent them. There is some way to go in the battle for gender equality. While women will compete in all 26 sports for the first time, they contest 30 fewer events than men.

We're all Lithuanian now

When Team GB had only silver, a 15-year-old Lithuanian provided the next best thing. Ruta Meilutyte, who won the 100m breaststroke on Tuesday, lives and trains in Plymouth. For gold-starved British fans, she was as good as one of ours. Meilutyte seemed as stunned as anyone at finishing 0.08 seconds ahead of the US world champion Rebecca Soni. It followed four days of extraordinary achievements which had taken the swimming world by surprise. Before winning Lithuania their first medal of London 2012, she had been the fastest in the preliminary heats and semi-finals, setting a European record along the way. She arrived in Britain just three years ago to train at Plymouth College, a private school with a prestigious swimming academy, attended by Tom Daley. Her swift rise has left Meilutyte predictably disoriented: "I ended up just walking round during the night, I was just so shocked. I slept with the medal in the pocket of my pyjamas."

Tender side(burns)

As one, the nation wanted to grab him by the sideburns and kiss him on the lips. What a man Bradley Marc Wiggins is. Never mind becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France last month. Never mind winning gold in the time trial, zipping round the 44km course in 50 minutes 39 seconds, a full 42 seconds faster than German runner-up Tony Martin. Never mind having the most famous facial hair in sport since Nigel Mansell, and a mod fan base that includes Paul Weller and Paul Smith. What makes him so worthy of the tweets and cheers and celebrity status is that he is just so un-celebby. "I'm not a celebrity," he declared within hours of his gold medal win. "I will never be a celebrity and I don't consider myself a celebrity." He is, though, a family man, and went looking for his family in the cheering crowd right after crossing the line at Hampton Court. His wife, Cathy, was there for him, waiting with an endearing embrace.

Judo joy - and tears

With four words, Gemma Gibbons gave us one of the most heartrending moments so far. As she secured her place in the judo final, kneeling exhausted over defeated world champion Audrey Tcheuméo, she succumbed to tears of joy and sorrow. Looking skyward, the 25-year-old mouthed the words: "I love you, Mum." Jeanette Gibbons, who took her to training and competitions, died of leukaemia in 2004. "She did so much for me when she was alive," Gibbons explained. "Obviously I don't get to say thank you for that, so that was a kind of thanks to her." Although she lost to Kayla Harrison of the US in the final, Gemma's silver medal was GB's first in judo for 12 years, and brought the country to tears.

Not just about winning

Sometimes it really is about the taking part. Eddie the Eagle, Eric the Eel and the Jamaican bobsleigh team are part of a long line of Olympians for whom coming last, spectacularly so, is nothing to be ashamed of. Step forward Djibo Issaka, an oarsman from Niger. Originally a swimmer and a gardener, he switched to rowing just three months ago. No wonder he has been nicknamed the "sculling sloth" by some, finishing the fifth-tier semi-final last, 300 metres behind his closest rival. But maybe Issaka should continue to take it slow: he has had around 25,000 fans cheering him on. Swimmer Ahmed Atari, dubbed Atari the Qatari, gained attention for his 5min 21.30sec in the 400m individual medley, more than a minute slower than the Olympic qualifying time. But these triers are inspiring reminders of how far courage can take you. Wild cards, we salute you all.

Embarrassing dads

Nobody could have been prouder than Bert le Clos when his son, Chad, beat Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly to win gold. Bert's interview with Clare Balding after the race brought him to national attention; he gesticulated and cried "Unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable!" and "Look at him. He's beautiful. I love you" as he saw footage of his son. He added later: "I have never been so happy in my life. It's like I have died and gone to heaven. Whatever happens, from now on, it is plain sailing." Although slightly taken aback by being on television, Bert provided comic relief, remarking on his appearance on the television monitors. "Is this live?" he asked. It was, Clare Balding told him, but it was being recorded for posterity – and endless replays on YouTube.

Strange, but true

Judo fighter Ricardo Blas from Guam is the heaviest competitor at the Games. At 34st 5lb, he is more than 10st heavier than any other athlete in the Olympics – and 6st 10lb heavier than the entire Japan women's gymnastics team.

If any athletes from Qatar win gold, their podium moment will be a short-lived one. Their national anthem lasts a glorious 32 seconds.

The first-ever Olympic medal was awarded to American triple-jumper James Connolly who triumphed in Athens in 1896. His winning jump of 13.71m was won with two hops (on the same leg) and a jump and won him a victor's silver medal – gold was not awarded for first place until the 1904 Games in St Louis.

Those lucky enough to take gold may be disappointed to find the medals aren't 100 per cent gold. The last completely gold medal was awarded during the 1912 Olympics. Now they have to be coated in 6g of gold and are valued at about £450.

During the closing ceremony, three flags are raised: the Greek flag to honour the Games's birthplace, that of the current host country and that of the next host country.

Spectators at the keirin cycle race cannot help be amused by the sight of an older gentleman, dressed in black with what looks like an upturned bowl on his head, riding a white battery-powered bicycle. The man providing the comic turn is Peter Deary, 65, a coach at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, much to the amusement of his mates.

Nearly 46 million have watched BBC TV's coverage in the first week - more than the number who watched the entire Beijing Olympics.

The soundtrack to the Games

Much has been made of the fact that the beach volleyball crowds are being "treated" to the Benny Hill theme whenever sand-rakers hit the court during breaks of play. But that's just one of 2,012 songs being pumped out. The Games' music library has five themes – heritage, world stage, primetime, energy and extreme – with each category covering a variety of sports. So what can you expect to hear?

Music at the heritage sports is described as "the best of British, regal, orchestral". What that translates to are such choons as "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele, the Smiths' downbeat "How Soon Is Now?" and the London Phil's "Mesto". Don't know what that sounds like? You soon will if you pop up at the archery, fencing, modern pentathlon, tennis – or go and watch the horsies doing their thing with Zara.

On the athletics track, the world stage brief is for "world-music anthems". And who better to deliver those than the twin musical geniuses of Coldplay and Bob Marley? Who wouldn't be inspired to a personal best by "Viva La Vida", eh?

In the so-called primetime slot, it's all a bit X Factor, with One Direction, Jessie J and Emeli Sandé, fresh from breaking our hearts with "Abide With Me" at the opening ceremony, warbling over sports including football, diving and gymnastics. Actually, forget X Factor – it's more like being subjected to David Cameron's iPod Shuffle.

Beach volleyball, swimming, track cycling – well, they're all angling after some energy, so that deserves a blast of young-people music, namely Chase & Status, Labrinth and Delphic. (Nope? Us neither …) Anyway, it's all dancy urban upbeat tracks. Nuff said, bruv.

What could be more extreme than that? Biffy Clyro, apparently. It's all "high-octane rock" for BMX, boxing, canoe-slalom and triathlon. Just spare a thought for those athletes as they slog their way through a swim, jog and cycle with the kids from Kilmarnock on endless repeat.

Kate Youde

Winners and losers

Winners

Spandau Ballet

'Gold' has become the unofficial anthem for GB's medal flurry. No British win is complete without a rendition of the 1983 Spandau Ballet hit which is now climbing the download chart.

Dr Dre

His headphones slipped in the back door to become a fashion item (though neither an official sponsor nor Locog-endorsed).

Andy Murray fans

It seems only yesterday that Murray stood in tears on Wimbledon Centre Court after losing to Roger Federer. Now it's time to do it all again, but with a better result.

Losers

Team Australia

Make no mistake, from the pool to the velodrome to the rowing lake at Dorney, they've had a bit of a 'mare. Just don't mention the Ashes.

Olympic Lanes

Well what a palava that was. They came into force amiod threats of £130 fines, then, within a week, as it appeared most IOC officials were using public transport, they were opened up to those of us outside "the Olympic Family".

Test cricket

After a crushing defeat in the First Test, England is defending its status as the top cricket nation against South Africa. But no one seems to have noticed.

Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
Football Vine shows Suarez writhing in pain before launching counter attack
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sport LIVEFollow the latest news and scores from today's Premier League as Liverpool make a blistering start against Norwich
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLESir Cliff Richard has used a candid appearance on an Australian talk show to address long-running speculation about his sexuality

Sport
Lukas Podolski celebrates one of his two goals in Arsenal's win over Hull

Arsenal strengthened their grip on a top-four finish with a straightforward 3-0 win over Hull City.

Arts & Entertainment
Quentin Tarantino, director
arts + ents Samuel L Jackson and Michael Madsen have taken part in a reading of Quentin Tarantino’s axed follow-up to Django Unchained.
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit