Scott: London said goodbye to the 30th Olympic summer games last night. It is the first city to have hosted the modern-day Olympics three times.
For the past 17 days, nearly 5 billion people worldwide cheered on the nearly 11,000 athletes representing more than 200 countries and territories.
We can’t talk about this year’s Olympics without talking about the monumental record that was set by U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps. In London, Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 22 medals to his name, four golds in this year’s competition alone.
U.S. teenager Missy Franklin took home four golds and broke two world records in the 200-meter backstroke and the 4 x 100-meter medley relay. But even at 17, Franklin wasn’t the youngest U.S. Olympian to win gold at this year’s Olympics. That honor goes to 15-year-old swimmer Katie Ledecky who won the 800-meter.
In track and field, Jamaican track star Usain Bolt lived up to his title as the world’s fastest man, winning gold in both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints for the second straight Olympics. Bolt also took home the gold in the 4 x 100-meter men’s relay.
And the man known as “blade runner,” Oscar Pistorius from South Africa, became the first double-amputee runner to compete in any Olympics.
There were some other firsts. Sixteen-year-old Gabrielle Douglas from Virginia became the first African-American to win gold in the individual all-around gymnastic competition. And she helped lead team USA to the gold for the team all-around.
And for the first time, women in the Islamic countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei competed in the Olympic Games. In the past, women in these countries were discouraged from participating in sports.
It is the first time that every competing country had at least one woman on its Olympic team, and it is also the first time women competed in all 26 events, including boxing, where Claressa Shields, the middleweight boxer from Michigan, struck gold at just 17. This is the first time female boxing has been allowed at the Olympics.
Another first: two U.S. teams faced off for the gold in women’s beach volleyball. And Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor won their 3rd Olympic gold medal.
It was sweet revenge for the U.S. women’s soccer team. Their 2-to-1 victory over Japan at the Olympics was a welcome reverse of last year’s World Cup when the women lost to Japan.
And in another victory for the women, USA’s water polo team grabbed gold away from Spain.
And on the court the women’s basketball team won their 5th consecutive Olympics gold.
As for what some considered to be the new “dream team,” the U.S. men’s basketball team beat out Spain to win gold.
But as the Olympic athletes all head home today, it is all about which country has bragging rights for the most medals. United States came out on top with 104 medals, 46 of them gold. China and Russia were 2nd and 3rd place, and the host country of Great Britain ended up in 4th place.