Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

London Olympics: Been on Mars? Here's what you missed

By Hilary Whiteman and Alexis Lai, CNN
August 12, 2012 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
HIDE CAPTION
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes3
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
outtakes day 9 06
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
Olympian outtakes
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154
155
156
157
158
159
160
161
162
163
164
165
166
167
168
169
170
171
172
173
174
175
176
177
178
179
180
181
182
183
184
185
186
187
188
189
190
191
192
193
194
195
196
197
198
199
200
201
202
203
204
205
206
207
208
209
210
211
212
213
214
215
216
217
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two weeks of Olympic sporting glory has resulted in some notable firsts
  • Away from the headlines, many countries took home their first ever Olympic medals
  • London 2012 was the first Games when women were allowed to represent all countries
  • Double-amputee Oscar Pistorius led a long list of inspiring athletes to compete

(CNN) -- It's been just over two weeks since the Queen parachuted into London's Olympic Stadium, her apricot dress flapping in the breeze, to the cheers of thousands in the stadium and millions at home watching the 2012 Opening Ceremony.

Since then, a potent mix of skill, stamina and resolve turned what appeared on paper as a packed sporting schedule into real-life drama, sorting the best from those who can still only dream of reaching the top.

The hard-fought victories and stunning record-breaking performances by seasoned and new sporting superstars -- including Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas and Ye Shiwen -- will lead many lists of the most memorable moments from London 2012.

But the 30th Olympiad stands alone in creating a number of significant other world firsts, some that have been shouted from the rooftops as well as others that passed quietly without international fanfare.

For those, it's time to get out the bunting, ticker tape, streamers or celebratory toast, wherever you may be. Here we list the sporting moments you may have missed, and others that athletes may prefer to forget.

Team USA may be ahead in the total medal count, but other countries are celebrating taking home just one after years of effort.

Who is the greatest track Olympian?
Team Britain the stars of London Games
Rio prepares for 2016 Games
How Games losers deal with defeat

Grenada went straight to the top of the podium with its first Olympic medal courtesy of Kirani James,19, who won the men's 400m, making Grenada the country with the smallest population to ever win Olympic gold.

Montenegro was close to winning gold until Norway slipped ahead in the women's handball final, ensuring the country's first ever Olympic medal was silver. It was silver too for Guatemala and Erick Barrando, 21, in the 20 kilometer race walk, 60 years after the country first debuted at the Games.

Botswana won its first medal after Nijel Amos, 18, who crossed the line in a national record seconds after Kenya's David Rudisha smashed the world record in the men's 800m. On the water, Pavlos Kontides, 22, scored Cyprus' first medal, again silver, in the men's laser sailing.

Double-amputee Oscar Pistorius made plenty of headlines, but his presence at the Games to compete against able-bodied athletes was a notable first for London.

Pistorius, 25, may have gone home without a medal in his 400m events, but he solidified his place as an inspiration to all, especially after accepting defeat with grace. "I can't describe the feelings I've had this past week. Thank you all for playing a part in one of the greatest weeks of my life!" he tweeted.

It was a great week too for women's boxing, which made its debut at the Games, bringing 36 female boxers from 23 nations across three weight divisions to the ring.

Ireland erupted when Katie Taylor, 26, look home the gold in the women's light (60 kg). "It's what I've always dreamed of. I've envisaged this moment so many times before but it's better than all my wildest dreams to be sitting here as Olympic champion as well as world and European champion," she said. At just 17, Claressa "T-Rex" Shields from the U.S. won gold in the women's middle (75kg). And Britain's Nicola Adams, 29, defeated China's Ren Cancan, 24, to take gold in the fly (51kg).

And it wasn't just boxing that turned the spotlight on female athletes. Qatar, Brunei Darussalam and Saudi Arabia allowed women to compete on their teams for the first time ever, making London the first Olympics represented by both women and men from all 205 participating nations.

Read more: London 2012: The women's Olympics?

None of the women won medals but their presence alone was hailed as historic. Crowds cheered as Sarah Attar, a veiled 19-year-old from Saudi Arabia, finished last in her 800m run. "It was such a huge honor to be asked to come... I just think it could be something amazing for women in Saudi Arabia," she said.

Nigeria's historic Olympian
Games spirit caught on camera
China's increasing dominance in swimming
Jessica Ennis not in Games for money

It wasn't a record-breaking performance, but 25-year-old Andy Murray's defeat of Roger Federer, 31, in the men's tennis final was a long-awaited first for the Scot who had developed a reputation of "always the bridesmaid, never the bride." Spectators on Murray Mount went wild as their hero took gold, just one month after losing the Wimbledon final to the Swiss favorite.

While pundits argued over whether U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps' record-breaking medal haul in the pool made him to be "the greatest Olympian ever," other athletes left the Games with less than flattering claims to fame.

Headlines screamed "Oh Feck" after Germany's Stephan Feck performed what some called the "worst dive ever." The 22-year-old scored a zero when his hands slipped from his legs during a forward somersault pike.

Other athletes left London too with perhaps unwanted attention. Sixteen-year-old American gymnast McKayla Maroney inadvertantly launched an internet meme when she appeared cross-armed and scowling while on the podium to receive a silver medal in the women's vault.

Online tributes to Usain Bolt's lightning pose spread like wildfire across the internet, but towards the end of the Games Mo Farah's "Mobot" was gaining traction after the Briton sealed gold in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

Olympic stars: What I can't live without

The "wall of noise" or "wall of sound" made its debut at the London Olympics, a phrase used to describe the deafening cheers of the crowd during the 200 meter stretch of the rowing course at Dorney Lake.

They may not have set any records -- yet -- but other London Olympians deserve a mention, including Manteo Mitchell, the American 4x400m relay runner who inexplicably finished his team's heat despite running on a broken leg. "Never thought that the phrase 'break a leg' would reach reality for me lol," he tweeted later.

One of the most enduring images of the London Games could be the distraught face of South Korean fencer Shin A Lam as she sat weeping on the piste for more than an hour before officials confirmed that she had lost her match. The 25-year-old had appealed on the basis of a technical fault with the clock. Shin went on to lose the clash for bronze and later refused an offer of a "special medal." She later came back though to win silver with South Korea's epee team.

Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu, 71, may have been the oldest competitor at the London Olympics, but he'd have to do it again before becoming the oldest Olympian ever. That title is held by Swedish shooter Oscar Swahn who contested the 1920 Games at the age of 72. Hoketsu has all but ruled out competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, not because he doesn't want to but because, at 15, his horse, Whisper, is too old.

One of the final events of London 2012 could be considered its most inspiring yet. Among the field for the men's marathon was 28-year-old "lost boy" Guor Marial who fled civil war in Sudan for a new life in the U.S. Before the race, Marial dedicated his run to refugees worldwide. Officials allowed him to compete as an independent athlete under the Olympic flag because as a new nation South Sudan does not have an Olympic committee. The event was won by Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda in 2:08:01. Marial placed 47th.

Top swim coach: Australia 'getting soft'

During the past two weeks, new national heroes emerged. Australia may have disappointed in the pool, but on water the country's sailors held their own. Malcolm Page won back-to-back gold medals in the 470 in London and Beijing, earning him the honor of carrying the Australian flag in the closing ceremony. Another sailor, Ben Ainslie was chosen to wave the Union Jack for Britain after becoming the most successful sailor in Olympic history.

London 2012 legacy: Trust the British to get it right

And finally, much has been made of the countries at the top of the leader board, but down the other end accomplishments must be noted and commended. Many countries leave the Olympic Games with just one bronze medal. Step forward Tajikistan (boxing), Hong Kong (cycling), Puerto Rico (hurdles), Morocco (1500m), Saudi Arabia (equestrian), Afghanistan (taekwondo) and Kuwait (shooting) and a first medal ever for Bahrain, a bronze for Maryam Yusuf Jamal in the 1500m.

Of course, many countries went home with nothing beyond the experience. Better luck next time in Rio.

Opinion: London Olympics have redefined how Britain sees itself

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 13, 2012 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
The moment that Team GB's Mo Farah won the 10,000 meters was a wonderful collision of electricity.
August 13, 2012 -- Updated 1534 GMT (2334 HKT)
His blistering pace and larger-than-life antics made him the king of the track in London, and bolstered his claims to be a "living legend."
August 14, 2012 -- Updated 0944 GMT (1744 HKT)
Disappointment for Nigeria's Muizat Ajoke Odumosu, who came last in the 400m hurdles final, London 2012 Olympics.
The Olympics are generally won and lost long before the opening ceremony cauldron is touched by fire.
August 12, 2012 -- Updated 0738 GMT (1538 HKT)
Fans of the home side, Team GB, wave Union Jack flags during the Olympic Games
CNN's Richard Quest believes the London Games will be regarded as having brought the Olympics concept home.
August 11, 2012 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
Strategist Alastair Campbell says he never imagined London 2012 would be quite the triumph it turned out to be.
August 14, 2012 -- Updated 2057 GMT (0457 HKT)
Award-winning director Danny Boyle celebrates the best of British music in London 2012's Olympic Closing Ceremony.
January 31, 2013 -- Updated 1452 GMT (2252 HKT)
From Usain Bolt's record-setting achievements to an unexpected Ugandan gold, London 2012 has provided a wide array of highlights.
August 13, 2012 -- Updated 0305 GMT (1105 HKT)
CNN's Amanda Davies recaps the London 2012 Olympics from the opening ceremony on July 27 to the finale on day 16.
August 12, 2012 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
Mo Farah and Usain Bolt celebrate their success at the London 2012 Olympic Games by copying each other's
It's been just over two weeks since the Queen parachuted into London's Olympic Stadium, her apricot dress flapping in the breeze.
August 15, 2012 -- Updated 1214 GMT (2014 HKT)
When the world's top marathon runners bid to win Olympic gold, they would do well to draw inspiration from one of the greatest athletes in the history of track and field.
August 11, 2012 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
Team GB supporters with their faces painted in Union Jack designs at the Olympic Stadium in London.
Alastair Campbell always thought London 2012 would be a success, but never imagined it would be quite the triumph it has turned out to be.
August 10, 2012 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Adrien Niyonshuti is unlikely to win an Olympic medal, and he will do well to even finish his event, but his story is surely one of the most inspirational.
August 10, 2012 -- Updated 1605 GMT (0005 HKT)
The colors of the Olympic Rings at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, August 2012.
Olympic fever has cheered up London and made it a more welcoming place, but will optimism be one of the legacies of the Games?
August 10, 2012 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Wojdan Shaherkani's Olympic debut was short, but sweet -- the Saudi judoka said competing at the Games was
London 2012 is the first Olympics to feature women in every national team, with Jacques Rogge hailing a "major boost for gender equality."
August 10, 2012 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
An impoverished South Korean gymnast has not only struck Olympic gold, but also reaped a $444,000 donation in a veritable rags to riches tale.
August 9, 2012 -- Updated 0046 GMT (0846 HKT)
Britain's hero Jessica Ennis is set to cash in after winning heptathlon gold, but the poster girl of the 2012 Olympics says fame is not her motivation.
August 8, 2012 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
China is rallying around fallen hurdler Liu Xiang after he failed to make it past the first-round heat for a second consecutive Olympics.
August 3, 2012 -- Updated 1930 GMT (0330 HKT)
The first woman to win Olympic gold almost died in a plane crash, but remarkably returned to run again for the U.S. in 1936.
August 7, 2012 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
Don Paige could not bear to watch the race he knew he could win. The 1980 Moscow Olympics were the death of a dream for many athletes.
August 4, 2012 -- Updated 1421 GMT (2221 HKT)
Ricardo Blas Jr
While Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt grab the headlines, little-known athletes from around the world keep alive the original spirit of the Olympics.
Athletes spend years eating the right foods ... and then must resist the free fast food in the Olympic village. How do they do it?
ADVERTISEMENT