The 50 Best moments from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games


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The Independent Online

We take a look at our favourite moments of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. What have we missed and what was your favourite moment? Comment below.

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Mo running Mo Gold

Watching Mo Farah romp to gold twice was easily one of the finest moments of the Olympics. Farah’s efforts escalated him to celebrity status in weeks and the term ‘national treasure’ has been thrown around more than a few times.

Brownlee brothers

Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee’s exploits, which bagged Team GB gold and bronze respectively, were a joy for the nation to watch. Even though Jonathan suffered a penalty during the men’s triathlon, he still managed third position.

Ellie Simmonds

Simmonds has been a revelation during the London 2012 Paralympic Games and took home two gold medals, a silver and a bronze in the pool. The 17-year-old has been launched to national treasure status as a result of her swimming.

The Queen meets Bond

When Queen Elizabeth II met James Bond himself on the night of the opening ceremony we all watched in awe as the pair parachuted into the Olympic Stadium. We all wanted to believe it was her but in reality it was stuntman Gary Connery. Sorry to break it to you.

Oscar Pistorius

Pistorius was possibly one of the more controversial Olympians as officials questioned whether the blades that occupied the space where his legs should be could give him an advantage.  He became the first amputee to compete in the Olympics and won two golds and a silver in the Paralympics.

Edith Bosch

Bosch became a crowd favourite after declaring on Twitter that she “beat” a man who threw a bottle at athletes moments before Blake and co competed in the 100m final. The Dutch judoka won a bronze in the -70kg category just days before she pursued the bottle-thrower.

Gaysli Leon

Leon became the first paralympian to represent Haiti this year after becoming paralysed in the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The 45-year-old finished 20 minutes behind the rest of the hand-cycling group, but walked away with a huge grin on his face.

Murray finally wins at Wimbledon

Wimbledon has always been Murray’s Everest and just weeks after losing out on the Grand Slam to Switzerland’s Roger Federer, he beat him in the Olympic final.

Boris’ zip wire mishap

You’ll see many Boris moments within this list and this is probably my favourite. Boris, who was a special guest in Victoria Park, came wading down the zip wire before becoming stuck around 20m from the end. The Mayor of London could be seen in video footage waving Union Jacks and wearing a hard hat. Elegant.

BBC commentators go mad for Mo

Perhaps one of the funnier moments from the games was the footage that emerged during Mo Farah’s 10km gold medal bid. Colin Jackson, Michael Johnson and Denise Lewis were seen screaming, jumping and kicking their feet in joy for the athlete.

Jessica Ennis

Ennis became a beacon of national pride as she eased to victory in the women’s heptathlon. The Sheffield-born 26-year-old also broke the British and Commonwealth record with a score of 6,955 points.

David Weir

David Weir took an astonishing four golds from four events at the London 2012 Paralympic Games after victory in the T54 marathon, 5,000m, 1500m and 800m.

Katherine Copeland

After a phenomenal gold medal in the women’s lightweight double sculls, Katherine Copeland screamed one of the top quotes from London 2012. After romping to victory, the 21-year-old exclaimed: “We’ve just won the Olympics! We’re going to be on a stamp!”

The Olympic torch relay

Yes, it was long and drawn out, yes, they closed down your high street for a couple of hours and yes, there were claims that some were selling their torches on eBay, but what fine build-up and buzz the relay created.

Female Saudi athletes allowed to compete

Perhaps a strange inclusion given the lack of medals from any of the women for Saudi Arabia, but, in many eyes, this is truly a victory for equality. A truly monumental moment for sexual equality around the world.

The Cycling Storey’s

Sarah and Barney Storey became the couple who kept on winning in the paralympian cycling. The married couple have achieved five golds and a silver between them this year – a tally that would land them in 18 if they were a two-person country. Impressive.

Richard Whitehead recovery

Whitehead took a poor start in the T42 200m race but the double leg amputee duly delivered as he recovered to storm to gold. The race itself will go down in history as one of the more memorable 200m Paralympic runs.

Bradley Wiggins takes his rightful place

Wiggins’ casual, cross-legged pose as he perched on a golden thrown outside Hampton Court Palace is perfect. Cool as you like, Wiggins’ took his place upon the throne after winning the men’s cycling time trial.

Jamaica make Olympic history in 4x100m relay

Jamaica’s quartet of Usain Bolt, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Yohan Blake was a dream-team that even American basketball team wishes it was and they duly delivered. They destroyed the world record with a time of 36.84 seconds and gave Bolt his third gold medal of the games.

Tom Daley

We were all willing our lad Tom to win a medal and this year, he gave us all what we wished for. The 18-year-old put in a stunning performance in London which was enough to get him third place and a bronze for the trophy cabinet.

Where’s Phillips?

Phillips Idowu - the rebel of Team GB and a fan favourite. Idowu had seemingly gone AWOL in the weeks leading up the games with reports that his coach hadn’t seen him in a decent amount of time. Unfortunately for the triple jumper, when he did finally make an appearance, he failed to qualify from his heat.

Cycling – all of it

Team GB had a hell of a task ahead of them if they fancied getting more medals than the 14 they collected at Beijing. They didn’t quite get there – with 12 in London – but the sport was celebrated. Chris Hoy became the joint greatest British athlete ever alongside Bradley Wiggins.

Team GB in the Men’s Gymnastics

Daniel Purvis, Max Whitlock, Louis Smith, Kristian Thomas and Sam Oldham gifted Britain its first podium medal for a British gymnastic team for 100 years.  Despite initially finishing second, until Japan appealed for their own marks, the Brits were more than happy with third.

The breakthrough sport: Handball

Great Britain had never competed in handball in any other Olympics, but as host nation, they could enter any event without the need to qualify first. So, we gave handball a go. The skill was clearly lacking, but the heart was there en masse.

Greg Rutherford

Unlikely gold winner Greg Rutherford launched himself to the podium with a gargantuan 8.31m jump for Team GB. Rutherford won Great Britains first gold medal in the long jump since 1964 when Lynn Davies won in Tokyo.

Wet Otters?

We’ll round off the top 25 with another Boris moment – perhaps one that will stay with him for the rest of his political career. The quote came from his column in the Daily Telegraph and came as a simile for beach volleyball players. He wrote: “They are glistening like wet otters and the water is plashing off the brims of the spectators.” Easy, Boris.

Ye Shiwen – Superwoman?

Ye Shiwen of China sent shockwaves rippling through the world of swimming after completing the women’s individual medley some seven seconds faster than her race in the World Championships the year before. Claims of doping were thrown around but Ye later tested negative for any performance enhancing drugs.

Beth Tweddle

Cheshire-born Tweddle changed the fortunes for British gymnastics and duly won bronze in the uneven bars for Team GB. Previously a three-time world champion, Tweddle went without an Olympic medal throughout her Olympic career – until London 2012.

Emily Yates

Yates is not an Olympian, nor an Olympic official or politican. Yates, 20, from Skipton is a wheelchair basketball player who failed to make Team GB. But, not letting that put her down, she volunteered to help at the wheelchair fencing venue, putting in up to 11 hours a day to ensure the athletes were comfortable. The real feel-good story of London 2012.

Liu Xang’s sheer determination

Liu Xang was amongst the favourites in the final of the men’s 110m hurdles but failed to qualify for a podium finish due to a fall at the first hurdle. What stands out this Olympian was his determination to finish the race despite the injury he sustained. Liu continued the race and exited the stadium in a wheelchair.

Mr Bean

How could we leave out Rowan Atkinson’s fabulous performance during the opening ceremony? Among the best scenes during Danny Boyle’s extravaganza, we think Atkinson will have certainly made a few more fans across the globe.

Labrador Zenn

Belgian sprinter Marieke Vervoort entered the Opening Ceremony to rapturous applause – most of which directed at his pet Labrador, Zenn. The well-behaved dog sat on his lap throughout and arrived in London via the Eurostar in the same fashion.

Phelps’ final gold

Despite a disastrous opening race, Michael Phelps managed to redeem himself by winning a series of medals later in the competition. Phelps won his last gold, to add to his plethora of previous medals, in the 4x100m relay before going into retirement.

Jade Jones, quicker than the human eye

Flintshire celebrated their gold medal winning Olympian, Jade Jones, in true style, with a parade, banners and a gold painted post box. 19-year-old Jones became the youngest gold winning member of Team GB in the taekwondo 57kg category.

Murderball phenomenon

Wheelchair rugby, AKA murderball, has taken the Paralympics by storm with its gut wrenching – literally – gameplay. The sport has become one of the nation’s favourite Paralympic sports this year and we can see why.

Silence for the paralympians, please

Although not a Paralympic achievement, it’s worth noting the absolute respect that the crowds, for sports where silence is required, have given to the athletes.  Hearing is an important factor in sports such as handball and spectators have been as good as gold.

George Osborne – not so popular

George Osborne was rather infamous amongst crowds at the Olympic stadium as he was booed whilst giving out medals to victorious athletes. It has been reported that spectators were displeased with Osborne’s plan to replace Disability Living Allowance with a new, more restrictive scheme.

Stephan Feck flops

German diver Stephan Feck had a rather poor day in the Aquatics Centre during the three metre springboard event. Feck, ranked 15 in the world, caused somewhat of a splash when he landed flat on his back – receiving zeros from all judges.

Shin Lam’s tears

South Korean fencer Shin Lam was left in tears after a technical fault kept her out of the women’s epee final. Shin assumed she had won when the clock counted down to zero but a judge promptly informed the fencers than there was still a second left – a window open long enough for her opponent to score the winning point.

Bolt vs Blake

Was Bolt holding off when Yohan Blake beat him by milliseconds in the qualifying? Who knows, what we do know is that nobody was entirely sure who would come out on top in the men’s 100m final. Ever the showman, Bolt pulled it off and went on to win a further two medals.

China and badminton-gate

The badminton courts were in an interesting situation after all four players in a doubles match were seeming to purposely lose in order to obtain a better quarter-final match. Ten of China’s players, four from South Korea and two from Indonesia were charged with “not using one’s best efforts to win”.

Boris spicing up his life

Sorry, I know, another Boris one, but this really is priceless. Our Mayor of London Boris Johnson gets his groove on during the closing ceremony as the Spice Girls are reunited at last.                                                                                                                                                          

Ahmed Naas wins best celebration

Ahmed Naas, the Iranian javelin thrower, easily wins the best celebration for any athlete throughout London 2012. After a particularly good throw, Naas comes out of his seated position and continues to roll into a series of cartwheels. Definitely one to watch on YouTube.

The forging of the rings

Another monumental moment in the Opening Ceremony. During the representation of Britain’s industrial revolution, the Olympic rings were ‘forged’ and brought together over an amazed Olympic Stadium crowd.

Not exactly Olympic spirit, Cundy

Jody Cundy’s outburst of rage followed a technical fault involving the opening gate. He slipped early in the race and was refused a restart despite being the favourite to win gold. Perhaps not one of the Paralympic highlights but certainly a memorable moment.

Hassani Djae Ahamada’s ‘false’ start

Hassani Djae Ahamada, of the Comoros Islands, and their only athlete,  was disqualified for a false start but continued swimming regardless of the decision. Ahamada finished the S9 50m freestyle despite official’s efforts to try and stop him.

Nicola Adams packed a punch

Adams, in the first ever Olympic boxing event for women, won gold in the flyweight division and cemented her place as one of the greats. Adams, 29, was the youngest woman to ever represent England and is continuing to write history with her Olympic legacy.

Hurricane Hannah

Hannah Cockroft, 20, from Halifax took Team GB’s first Olympic medal, notching an impressive time of 18.06 seconds in the 100m T34 final beating the record she had set just a few hours before in qualifying. She later went on to win the 200m.

The blind long jump

What would, to most people, seem like an impossible task – competing in a long jump competition blindfolded – is in fact a Paralympic event. The sport has taken audiences by storm as amazed onlookers marvel at the skill involved.

Lazaro Borges snaps his pole

Poor, poor Lazaro Borges. The 26-year old Cuban pole vaulter has shocked as his pole broke into three pieces while he competed in the event. Despite a three metre fall and shards of fibreglass flying in every direction, Borges was left unharmed.