Eddie Butler looks back over the London 2012 Olympics at the achievements of the sportsmen and sportswomen and the great moments that have captured the imagination.
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And it's the flag of Uganda draped across the shoulders of Stephen
Kiprotich. He is the Olympic Beautiful! This is effectively a
lap of honour. "Come on," he says. They're going quicker and quicker.
He held his nerve brilliantly! all the way! Oh, look at the time.
Absolutely brilliant! The noise, deafening! My words cannot do
justice to how I feel. And the crowd are already going ballistic.
Have you ever seen anything like For seven years, the questions have
been asked countless times. Could debt-ridden Britain afford this?
Could a nation of doubters have the conviction to pull this off? Could
be athletes deliver? Now the questions had to stop. There was
time only to take a deep breath and Earth has not anything to show more
fair. Dull would he be of soul who could pass by a sight so touching
in its majesty. This city now doth like a garment wear. The beauty of
the morning. Silent. Bare. Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and
temples. Lie open unto the fields, and to
the sky. All bright and glittering in the
With that, the action began. With something of a whisper - the sigh
of a hope dashed. Mark Cavendish's gold medal chances are slipping
away here. It just seems like most teams are happy not to win as long
as we don't win. That's the story of our life. Vos takes gold and
Armitstead gets silver. When the first medal came, it was celebrated.
Relief at being off the mark. There was a first British medal in men's
And a team on a different kind of horse won silver. Even so, there
was a slight sense of anti-climax. Bronze for Rebecca Adlington was OK.
It was hard. It was so hard. four days had gone by. Nobody dared
suggest that Team GB were choking but when would somebody clear their
throat and let out a roar? Where It came on the fifth day. Rowing -
ever reliable rowing - rowed to the rescue. It's an exceptional start
now from Helen Glover and Heather Stanning. They are just storming
away. And look at that. It is simply stunning. They move away and
they move away with some power and grace. They are making history here
at Eton Dorney. Great Britain into the record books and so fabulously
Great Britain have Olympic champions. Helen Glover and Heather
Stanning, we stand up and we salute you. The pair that rowed to gold.
And about to hit the road out of Hampton Court, Britain's favourite
pair of sideburns - as worn by the first Briton ever to win the Tour
de France, just days before the time trial here. A man that
certainly hasn't lost any fluidity at all is Bradley Wiggins. Look at
this. He is actually poetry in motion. Six medals to his credit in
the Olympics and it's looking like it's going to be gold today.
Bradley Wiggins is the Olympic champion. To be honest, it had to
be gold today or nothing, you know? What's the point in having seven
medals if they're not the right colour, you know? But the main one
is that it's four - number four - so I've got to carry on to Rio now
and go for number five. Already making plans for the future. But
for the moment, Bradley deserved a break. He set off to celebrate with
a night on the tiles - without his bike. Also smashed, the British
record for the Men's 200m Breaststroke. It's a fantastic
silver medal for Great Britain and Michael Jamieson - what a brilliant
swim that was. For the 40-year-old Greg Searle, bronze in the Eight. A
silver for Gemma Gibbons and a What had started slowly was
gathering pace. The medal rush. One after the other. Two in the same
event. Valiant stop, through the finish line. And that is the
fastest time we've seen. Oh, my goodness. They've got a silver
medal. We don't just get one - we The last of this rapid-fire medal
burst - Peter Wilson, six foot six tall and coached by Shaikh Ahmed
Almaktoum. A farmer's son from Dorset, coached by a member of
Dubai's ruling family. And he does it! Peter Wilson has done it!
medals in the space of 47 minutes. Back at the lake, there was about
to be one of the finishes of the Games. Great Britain get the silver.
Now, the mighty Sir Steve Redgrave had been passed by Bradley Wiggins
as Britain's most decorated Olympian. Another cyclist on the
other side of town was about to try to equal Sir Steve as the winner of
Into the velodrome, palace of the king - or at least the knight - of
cycling. Here comes Chris Hoy, lining up for the run to the line,
and the crowd are going absolutely mad. Gold medal for Great Britain.
That is the fifth gold medal won in the Olympics by Sir Chris Hoy.
about the Queen of the track? Victoria Pendleton, along with Jess
Varnish, disqualified in the And there was trouble for the first
Sea Lord. Ben Ainslie wasn't dominating in the Finn class and he
was made by his rival to make a penalty turn at just the wrong
moment. Or the right moment to wind him up. You know, he made a big
mistake cos I'm angry and he didn't want to make me angry. The Olympic
Stadium was about to reopen for business. Early in the morning, the
heptathletes stepped out to be Jessica Ennis has got the potential
to set this stadium alight. Her Olympic adventure starts here. She
is a one-woman athletics team and Jess got away to a good start.
Jessica Ennis has been closed down by Sara Aerts of Belgium but now
she's beginning to pull away on the inside. Jess Zelinka's going well
and this is a tremendous run by Jessica Ennis. Oh, my goodness! The
fastest time ever by a heptathlete. The power of the crowd carried Jess
Ennis. The first day of athletics, the last day of judo for Karina
And on the theme of last days, was this the last chapter in a silver-
tinted career of Katherine Grainger? At the age of 36, one
last chance for a gold medal. Ladies and gentlemen, what we are
seeing right now is that dreams do come true! At long, long last,
Katherine Grainger is the Olympic champion. Worth the wait.
Gold at last for Katherine Grainger. And for the men on this, women's
day at the Games, a pair of bronzes. George Nash and Will Satch, who
came together only a few months ago. And then the Northern Irishman. And
the danger of being on your own is that there's nobody there to say,
"Alan Campbell, don't push it too far." If this was women's day - as
in grown-up women - it was also a girls' night out. Into the pool
went 15-year-old Katie Ledecky of the United States, showing no
respect for her elders - including the reigning Olympic champion
Rebecca Adlington. I think the pressure and everything - the
expectation, everything going into this meet - has been a little bit
of a battle. But I gave it my absolute all and I'm sorry that I
didn't get the gold for everyone that was expecting me to. In the
velodrome, in the slightly wacky world of the Keirin, Victoria
Pendleton took care this time, and then reached for the turbocharger.
Oh! Victoria Pendleton takes the gold medal. I can't believe it.
Thank you so much to everyone that's helped me get here. The
crowd have been fantastic. In the men's team pursuit, Ed Clancy,
Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh had broken the world
record on their way to the final. They now faced their old rivals,
the Australians, and their new world record wasn't safe. Half a
lap to go for the British team. The world record is 3'52".499. The gold
medal is Great Britain's. Here they come, up to the line. Oh, look at
the time. It's a new world record and Great Britain have won the gold
medal. Saturday, August 4th, the middle Saturday. Day eight of the
Games. Compressing medals into concentrated bursts was to remain
the fashion, starting at the lake on this special day. The emotion
would flow but not here. Four steely men in their boat of Kevlar
and carbon fibre with nomex honeycombs. We have done it! We
have done it! And we have done it in style. Great Britain, the
Olympic champions. And in the very next race. So Sophie Hosking and
Katherine Copeland now just rolling up to the line. They are the
Olympic champions. An incredible, incredible scull. Two gold in two
races. Greedy, almost. Almost. But then, it came apart. And suddenly
we had to know about the small print of rowing - the 100 metre
rule that allowed for a restart. And on the line now, Denmark just
sneaking ahead of Great Britain. gave everything. We tried
everything. We wanted to win so badly. Just sorry to everybody
we've let down. You've let nobody down. Reliable rowing on the brink
of tears. Four golds, two silvers, three bronzes. No wonder the water
turned a little salty. The work was not yet done at the velodrome. Here,
too, a fourth gold was about to be won. They are on fire! Dani King,
Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell are Night fell and all eyes turned to
the Olympic Stadium for the last instalment of a seven-part drama.
This could be gold. If you cheer loud enough, Jessica Ennis will
hear you. It doesn't matter that somebody's overtaken her. She's
given us a magnificent seven events already. And here goes Jess. She is
going to be the Olympic champion. Everybody is on their feet. The
pride of Sheffield, the pride of Great Britain. Jessica Ennis is the
All this hard work and the disappointment of Beijing. Everyone
just supported me so much. I'm just so happy. The stadium had barely
settled when an injury-plagued 25- year-old from Bletchley in Milton
And it's big. Can you believe what is happening in this stadium at the
moment? Eight metres and 31. Olympic Long Jump champion, Greg
Rutherford. And barely had the crowd finished celebrating that
when a 29-year-old from Mogadishu, Somalia, who came to Britain at the
age of eight, set off on 25 laps of the track. So the 10,000m final
There goes Mo Farah. That's his first move - real serious move -
and there's been a response this time from Bekele. Mo Farah hits the
front. A lap to go. The bell rings. Is it tolling for a gold medal for
Great Britain? Will Farah have Farah with a metre lead but that's
And Farah is kicking hard. The crowd are lifting him. Farah into
the home straight. Just 100 metres to go. Has he got enough? He's
kicking again. Mo Farah is going That meant so much to me. Just
seeing my daughter, like, really emotional. She's coming out running
Three gold medals in 45 minutes. Who could follow that? One man
could and he will have his moment. But elsewhere, the sense that such
a day could not be bettered. A bronze for Ed Clancy in the Omnium.
Christine Ohorogu so close in the 400m. Sterling, sterling effort to
get the silver. A silver for Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson in the
Not much drama on this day after? In the gymnastics, suddenly there
was - on the pommel horse. First Max Whitlock and then, last to go,
Louis Smith. That is superb! For my money, that is worth a gold medal.
It's a tie. Because the execution score was slightly lower than
Down at the sailing, it had been fraught for Ben Ainslie. But he'd
won gold, making it four golds and one silver at five Games. What was
the Admiral's mood now? You are the greatest Olympic sailor in history.
Yeah. Not such a quiet day after all. From Weymouth to Wimbledon, it
was about to go wild. A sometimes- grumpy Scot from Dunblane, never
really sure about his popularity, discovered he was a darling of the
nation. Andy Murray had beaten Novak Djokovic. Now he faced the
player who defeated him in the Wimbledon final - the great Roger
Federer. Since he pulled on that Team GB shirt, he's been like a man
possessed this week. It's a golden triumph for Andy Murray! It's
number one for me - the biggest win of my life. This week's been
incredible. I've had a lot of fun. The support's been amazing.
Immediately into the next doubles final with Laura Robson. Silver.
Jason Kenny had been picked ahead of Sir Chris Hoy for the men's
sprint. If the rider from Farnworth in Bolton was feeling the pressure
of being selected ahead of the Scotsman, it didn't show. Kenny's
got the head of the race, and Bauge will not take it. Kenny is the
Olympic sprint champion! He wins the gold medal, and he won it in
style! It was a battle to get here with Chris, knowing you've got
someone on the sideline, who definitely wouldn't give that
second sprint away. I was like, "Oh, I'd better not mess this one up,
Beth Tweddle had led the revival in British gymnastics - three-times
world champion, but never an Olympic medallist. She kept going
for this - one last go - and a Greenwich Park, handsome home for
horses and riders. The show jumping team were little fancied. The last
time Britain had won a medal in this event was 1952. But here, just
a few strides from the Greenwich prime meridian, everything was on
the line. Just the double and the last to jump. Come on! Now the last.
Down to Tower Bridge for gold. This could be the first gold for Great
Britain since 1952! And Britain have got gold! It means absolutely
everything to win this, especially for our country, for show jumping,
you know. For me personally, it's everything.
The moment came for an abdication. It was time for the king and queen
of cycling to say their Olympic farewell. Queen Victoria left with
a silver, but with such a sense of relief. It was such a
disappointment. It's all over. You've been incredible. The king
left with a leap into the record books. Shoulder to shoulder now as
they come off the bend. And they're lining up for the run to the line.
Who's going to get it?! Chris Hoy gets the gold medal! That's his
sixth gold medal. He becomes the greatest British Olympian! I'm in
shock, you know. You try to compose yourself and take it all in, but
this is just surreal. This is what I always wanted. You know, I wanted
to win gold in front of the home crowd. And who might fill the power
vacuum? An all-rounder of the Omnium. Remember, she's got to
finish three places ahead. In the time trial, gold medal is going to
go to Laura Trott. In track cycling, there were ten gold medals
available. Britain won seven of them. Such a tally was not possible
on or near the athletics track, but this was a leap of faith by Robbie
Grabarz, taking Team GB's medal tally beyond the 47 won at the
Beijing Games. The tally included a windsurfer skimming for silver over
the waves. Nick Dempsey, dancing on the sea. And horses dancing, just
behind the naval college where once they taught how to rule the waves.
They are a fabulous team. They've won Britain's first ever gold in
Triathlon. Three sports, one after the other. Two brothers, one after
the other. The Brownlees - Jonathan, the junior, third behind Alistair.
This is effectively a lap of honour. Alistair Brownlee is the Olympic
triathlon champion. And there will be both of the brilliant Brownlee
brothers on the Olympic podium as Jonathan comes home for bronze.
this may be the contrast of the Games. First that Dressage again.
The individual competition, now. Outdoors, delicate, exquisite.
She has got the gold! Charlotte Dujardin has iced the cake in style.
Britain wins gold and bronze. don't know how we've done it but
we've done it, and we've now got two Olympic gold medals. So,
And then this. Indoors, volcanic, violent. Women's boxing was new to
the Olympics but Nicola Adams looked as if she was completely and
utterly at home in the bedlam. Nicola Adams, representing Great
Britain, has come out absolutely blazing. Nicola Adams has just made
history. It's a dream come true for me. I've been dreaming about this
since I was 12 years old and the moment's finally come. And I've got
my gold medal for Great Britain. Got another one on the board.
hands and the fast feet of Jade Jones from Flint in the fight game
of Taekwondo. You little beauty. And a teenage kicking superstar
from North Wales is the Olympic champion. It still doesn't feel
real. It feels crazy. I've dreamt about it for ages and now it's here,
it's amazing. And the crowd have just been amazing! It was less full
on the next day. Sailing to silver in the 470 class, Saskia Clarke and
Hannah Mills, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell. A hockey medal -
the first for 20 years. And a bronze for Lutalo Muhammad in
Was that it? Way back, there have been anxiety about the first gold.
Was there time for a last one? Last It is gold for Ed McKeever. And the
quiet man lets out a roar. And a bronze for Liam Heath and John
Schofield. In the world of falling beautifully, Tom Daley had been
struggling a bit. These had been difficult times - losing his dad,
Rob, to cancer last year, and here not quite at his best. Until now.
This was a bronze celebrated as if it were pure gold.
In another flurry of arms, late medals came. The bronze had already
come to middleweight Anthony Ogogo. And now bantamweight Luke Campbell
was in the Gold final. Luke Campbell has done it again. There
was a silver for Fred Evans. And one rousing boxing finale. Anthony
Joshua is the Olympic superheavyweight champion.
boxer who wouldn't give up and the modern pentathlete who didn't give
up. Samantha Murray - silver. Back to the Olympic Stadium for one last
night of athletics. Mo Farah had helped turn the second Saturday of
the Games into a night to remember. What could he do now on the third
and last Saturday? The crowd are on their feet. They are trying to roar
him home. Saturday nights were Mo nights. He's got to find something
extra. He's got to kick on. Farah is going to make it two gold medals
for Great Britain. Beautiful! The question had been asked - could
Team GB deliver? They had delivered beyond expectation. Out of this
Early in the morning of the second Monday of the Games, a roving
laboratory called Curiosity landed on Mars. Had curiosity got the
better of Curiosity, and had it pointed a camera back into space in
the direction of home, it might have detected a surge of energy.
Signs of life on Earth. That would be the world going wild. How
different from the sound a little earlier. When in the silence of
Before the age of Usain Bolt, it was feared the 100m was turning
into chemical alley - Olympic lanes of suspicious speed. But Bolt in
Beijing had made it pure theatre, and now he was top billing in
London. This is the race that makes the world hold its breath. Not a
long breath, just the time it takes for this long stretch of Jamaica to
become a legend. But danger lurked. Yohan Blake, his training partner,
who had beaten him twice at the Jamaican trials. Also from Jamaica,
Asafa Powell, and from across the Caribbean Sea, Richard Thompson of
Trinidad & Tobago, and Churandy Martina of Curacao. And three
Americans, Ryan Bailey, Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin, once banned for
four years on a doping rap. The 100m. This had always been
America's race, and they wanted it back. 80,000 drew their breath. And
Gatlin is up very quickly. Bolt turns on the big engine and takes
command! Usain Bolt! Bolt! Bolt! Bolt, Bolt, Bolt! He is pulling
away, he is going to win the gold! He is still the king of the 100!
My coach said, "Stop worrying about the start. The best part of your
race is at the end." Usain! Once, from London, Britain had
ruled Jamaica. Now, 50 years after independence, Jamaica ruled London.
Gold medallist and Olympic champion, representing Jamaica, Usain Bolt!
Four days later, Bolt was back. And Yohan Blake was back. With a third
Jamaican, Warren Weir, the 200. Look at Bolt go! It's a three-metre
lead as he comes into the home straight. Here comes Blake, though,
running him down, but he's not going to catch him. Bolt's going to
do it again! 19.32. Gold all the way. Blake takes silver. Warren
Weir has got the bronze. A Jamaican clean sweep. You cannot argue that
he has no equal. He is just incomparable in the world of
sprinting. The only man ever to have defended the Olympic 200m
title. This is what I wanted, and I got it. I'm really dedicated to my
work, and I know what London meant to me and I came here and I gave it
my all. I gave it my best and I'm proud of myself. For every Jamaican
man, there is a Jamaican woman. There was a 100m title to defend
Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce really If Jamaica was leading the way,
there was a response across the Caribbean. Here was Grenada's turn
in a longer sprint. Kirani James is going to take Olympic gold, his
nation's first ever! The Dominican Republic. Sanchez takes the gold
medal! The Bahamas. The Bahamas are challenging the United States!
Champions for the very first time. That's how we put it down!
largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba. Cuba is big but, compared
with America, still a speck. All these islands fleabites on the
flanks of the giant. And how would the giant react? Out came the champ.
The greatest swimmer of all time at his fourth and last Games. Six
golds in Athens, eight in Beijing, going for seven in London. This
would show the world America wasn't spent yet, wouldn't it? Phelps
looks in trouble here. Is he going to lose the 400 to this guy
leading? And he's leading by miles. Ryan Lochte wins the 400 medley.
And look at that - Michael Phelps is fourth! Not in the first final.
Another swimmer was having to make the American point. Nor in the
second. Thanks to a French revolution in the pool, France were
on their way to a record haul of seven medals. I think the French
might win this, you know. This is an amazing swim. After so many
years of coming second and third, finally the French have done it.
The French commentators to our right are going more nuts than you,
Andy. They're up and down all over the place. Les Francais, champions
Olympiques! Nor the third. Michael Phelps was being upstaged by a
South African and his dad. What a beautiful boy. Look! Sorry, sorry!
Was there to be no grand exit? There was. The crowd is starting to
stand up and salute the greatest Olympian in history. Michael Phelps
bringing home the American team. The gold in the men's 4x200m
freestyle goes to USA, and Michael Phelps becomes the greatest
Olympian in history with 19 medals, his 15th gold. We did it. First
gold of the meet, so I am very happy. The final of the men's 200m
individual medley. Well, Michael Phelps may well get this back, but
Lochte's is not giving up yet in lane four. Lochte is coming back
but I think it's going to be Michael Phelps. The great Michael
Phelps has just won his 20th Olympic medal. Someone special rang
you yesterday, didn't they? Yeah, the President called me yesterday.
It was pretty cool! It was just... Somebody called and asked for me
and they said, "Hold, please, for the President of the United
States," and I was like, "Er, OK!" The final of the men's 100 fly.
Michael Phelps in lane four's still got a lot of work to do. He is
coming back but still there is Chavez. Is Chavez going to get it?
No, Phelps has got it. Kids put their parents through all sorts of
grief, don't they?! That is the end of Michael Phelps, and where does
he finish? He finishes right on top! His 18th Olympic gold medal.
dreamt of being the greatest. Looking back on my career, I know I
am hanging my suit up, retiring. Looking back and saying, "I've done
everything I wanted." At the age of 27, Michael Phelps was done,
weighed down by 22 Olympic medals - 18 of them gold - the greatest of
all time. It seemed America was hardly struggling after all. They
failed to win a men's boxing medal for the first time ever, but they
were going toe-to-toe with China to see who would stop the overall
medal table. -- top. What about Three times the Olympic beach
The strongest woman in the world is That is what synchronised diving is
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 43 seconds
A ruthless display of utter United States of America looking
The Star-Spangled Banner is flying There was one last thing on the
wish list at the track - a world record to fall. Out stepped a
Kenyan prodigy, a Masai middle- distance wonder. His tactics? He
said, "I decided to go for it." is all about David Rudisha. Already
the world record holder, already the world champion, striding away
to become the Olympic champion. How quick will it be? That's a world
record! Simply unbelievable! How do Team America decided to go for it
the next night. Bianca Knight. And she's going to hand over to
Carmelita Jeter. This looks like the USA all the way. The USA coming
away. The clock is going to stop at a marvellous time. Carmelita Jeter
wins it for the USA, Jamaica in second. The Ukrainian third.
America. The dominant force, still, in track and field - the heart of
the Games. There was still time for a speck of an island in the
Caribbean to have the final say. The 4x100m relay. Jamaica have got
to get moving here. The baton changes are good. Fraser with it.
He will be handing it to Blake. And now Tyson Gay. That's a decent
change but Blake's now right on the Americans. But Bolt's going to have
it in the lead and you know what that means. Here he goes. They've
got the baton. Bailey's trying to hold onto Bolt. He's got no chance.
Bolt's away and gone. Jamaica are the gold medallists again and it's
a new world record. Smashes it to pieces. Two great teams but only
One small island, one small cast of actors. The giant character of the
MUSIC: "Maybe It's Because I'm A Londoner".
It's been a really, really nice feel around the Games. Just like a
party atmosphere. $$BLUE It's been The atmosphere is amazing. Like,
everyone is just so, like, happy all the time and that. There's so
much cynicism in the press and so on. But when you actually come here
or you see them on TV, it just blows you away. It's absolutely an
amazing legacy for the whole of London and the whole of Great
There is always something of the unreal about the Olympics. All this
is far removed from normal London life. Strangers talking, smiling.
It's not natural. But this is the Olympic bubble. The Olympic
movement began as a fantasised, noble sporting world, without women,
for privileged white men. It has had to change but it still swears
to abide by the spirit of fair play. Reality tends to crash the party
and fair play can be an early victim. Drugs, doping. Somehow they
always manage to find their way into the Olympic vein and there
were a handful of positive results here for stop the war against
chemicals goes on. Working out the best route to the medals. Not
winning sometimes helps in a round robin format. What happens if both
teams decide not to win? They are serving fault after fault. They are
just hitting the ball into the net. Depressing. I mean, who wants to
sit through something like that? It is unacceptable. Is it wrong to
enter one race when your mind is on another? Taoufik Makhloufi of
Algeria in the 800 metres. Oh, hang on a minute. Hang on a minute.
Banned for not trying. Then reinstated thanks to a doctor's
note. A quick massage, feeling better, and off he went in the 1500
metres. He's completely destroyed this Olympic field. Where on earth
did he get that from? It's a question of judgement, or judging.
Here there is sometimes a problem, when it's all about one person's
view of things. When one boxer is knocked down six times, he might be
odds-on to lose. What is the referee doing? What was wrong with
that? Should be counted. Not here. The winner, in the blue corner,
representing Azerbaijan, Magomed Abdulhamidov. Satoshi Shimizu of
Japan only won on appeal. The referee was expelled from the Games.
Korean fencer Shin Lam thought she had won, only to see the clock
reset to one second and then to lose in that second. It led to this
lonely protest. We are going to be But in general, it seemed that most
were happy to be here. Every time I see people, they are all cheered up
and they keep telling us, "Thank you, thank you," so I guess we're
doing a good job. I think the country needed this. The police had
a massive leave ban and I thought, "If we can't get any time off over
the summer, we might as well be # Everybody get in the groove and
let the good times roll. # I'm gon' stay here till I soothe
my soul. # If it takes all night long
#. Oscar Pistorius South Africa came to London - the Blade Runner.
Nervous but happy was Rand al- Mashhadani of Iraq, the lowest
ranked archer who had to play Ki Bo-Bae, the number one. It didn't
last long but it was a joy. Contrastingly, Ki Bo-Bae went on to
win the gold medal and immediately burst into tears, apologising to
her country for winning with an eight. "In Korea," she said, "we do
not shoot eights." Sport is taken seriously in Korea and they had a
seriously good Games, especially when they had a weapon in their
hands. Iran were very good at # The world keeps spinning.
# Changing the lives of people in # Nobody knows where it will take
# But I hope it gets better, better, better
Pavlos Kontides won a first-ever medal for Cyprus, a silver in the
sailing. And 15-year-old Ruta Meilutyte won Lithuania's first
gold medal in the swimming. Perhaps it wasn't so much these individual
feats that stood out as much as those of a whole section of
competitors, of one gender. These were the Olympics of the women.
London in the age of the suffragettes had done its bit - a
little bit - to allow women into the Olympics. There was women's
tennis and archery in 1908. But in 2012, women came from everywhere to
compete at the Games. For the first time, from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
For the first time, there was women's boxing. And the Olympic
champion, in the red corner, representing Ireland, Katie Taylor.
Women provided the finish of the Games. They are shoulder to
shoulder. Norden comes alongside. Norden, of Sweden, takes the lead
away from Spirig. It's a photo finish in the Olympic triathlon.
Women took their spills and probably cried less than the men.
It couldn't be perfect for everyone, although Holly Bleasdale's Olympics
ended not with a flop but with a proposal of marriage. She said yes.
But no, it couldn't end happily for everyone. And for one Londoner, it
turned into a difficult time from start to finish. Phillips Idowu,
born in Hackney, just a hop, skip and a jump from the stadium - on a
good day. He arrived at last but for him, there was no home
advantage. He will not make it through to the final. But what of
London? How were the Games for the city? A question only a Londoner
MUSIC: "Maybe It's Because I'm A # Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner.
Us Londoners are a funny lot, used to living life at pace. And
whatever happens in the city, we find a way to deal with it. Before
the Games began, there was a tangible sense of apprehension. We
knew the world would be watching and we wanted to get it right. We
are also a pretty honest bunch. We don't pretend things are perfect
when they're not. You see, getting around the city has not been easy
the easiest, with the Olympic lanes Everyday life of those working
around the Games has undoubtedly been unsettled, and there's
probably a significant number of people looking forward to getting
their city back. But the vast majority have embraced the Olympics.
I mean, let's face it - it's not going to be back again in most
people's lifetimes. That is why there has been frustration at empty
seats. Millions applied for tickets and didn't get them. They would
have loved to have witnessed those incredible "where were you?"
moments first hand. Please don't run away with the idea that this is
a public response to the venues. It's not. Those venues are humming
MUSIC: "Welcome Home" by Radical The vibe is just amazing.
Everyone's really happy. Even though you support different
countries, everybody is really friendly. The atmosphere is amazing.
The popularity of three events said it all, thousands lining the rainy
streets for the women's marathon and Bradley Wiggins and the boys
being cheered on for all 250 kilometres of the road-race cycling.
What an incredible experience, to be riding the roads of London
surrounded by hundreds of thousands of British fans. Londoners aren't
known for being particularly sociable, but if you were in any
doubt that the Olympics was special, you won't be now. You see, we've
huddled around screens, waved flags and, best of all, we've done it
together. # I've come ho-o-o-ome.
# I'm home #. She's done us proud! Londoners are arguably at their
strongest during the bad times. A stubborn resilience born out of
necessity more than anything else. Maybe that's why we're often seen
as cold - antisocial, even. But the last two and a half weeks have
proven that we can enjoy ourselves. The atmosphere in the stadiums has
filtered into the streets, and the city is buzzing. You can feel it in
the air. And there's only one thing that everyone is talking about.
Jessica Ennis. She's awesome. cycling guy, Sir Chris Hoy. Bradley
Wiggins. Luke Campbell, who's from Hull, which is where we're from.
Farah and Jess Ennis. We just cheered and cheered and cheered.
It's the old British thing, isn't it? When there's something like
this, we all come together and rejoice in something that is so
When the Games have gone, London will return to life as normal.
Olympic lanes will disappear. Venues will be pulled down. Lord's
will host cricket, not archery. Pageantry and tradition will return
to Horse Guards Parade. The big city will never be quite the same,
but we'll always have memories. 16 days of smiles and sport - and one
or two of those. Yeah? No. There's something of a chill that
comes with that - going back to normal. Are even those who soared
at London 2012 going to come down Are we soon to go back to taking
the details of things going wrong and magnifying then? Remember the
seats that went empty? The days that passed without a gold medal?
Beautiful! The place erupts! still have the question of legacy,
and the question is a tough one. How do you follow this? What comes
next? In a way, though, this nation in debt - our land of doubters -
had already set a new tone. Olympic flame burns on British soil
at last. Back in the days when the Games were on their way to London
and there was still time to be a bit sceptical about the whole thing,
the torch pulled people out of their homes up and down, and all
the way across, the country. Look at these crowds. Come on!
Congratulations! I'm not really anybody, and people are stood there,
cheering me on. I just think that's ridiculous! I felt like I was in
This was what people thought of the Games, and it simply went on from
there. I hope I manage to do it - that's all! I don't want to let
anybody down, you know. You've got two choices in life. Sit and be
lazy and do nothing and be depressed, or get up, get your legs
on and live your life exactly the same way you did before.
And it turned into this. Two weeks that changed the way we looked at
sport - and each other. Could we afford it? Probably not. Was it
worth it? The people who came out and made the Games - these London
Games of 2012, have already Inspire a generation. The billboard
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 43 seconds
slogan that became the Olympic wish # Imagine there's no heaven.
# It's easy if you try. # No hell below us.
# Above us, only sky. # Imagine all the people.
# Living for today. # Imagine there's no countries.
# It isn't hard to do. # Nothing to kill or die for.
# Living life in peace. # Ooh-ooh, oo-oo-oo.
# You may say I'm a dreamer. # But I'm not the only one.
# I hope some day you'll join us. # Imagine no possessions.
Eddie Butler looks back at some of the great moments that have captured the imagination during the two weeks of the London 2012 Olympics, the stories that have dominated the headlines and the achievements of the sportsmen and sportswomen who have earned a place in the annals of Olympic history.