My 4 Favorite Athletes of the London Olympics

I love the Olympics, always have and always will. London 2012 was no exception. It had so many great moments and athletes. Some were triumphant, some were heartbreaking, some were irritating and some were just plain funny. I will really miss the Olympics until Sochi 2014 but here are my four favorite athletes from London 2012.

Mckayla Maroney

The US women’s gymnastic team winning the team gold and Gabby Douglas winning gold in the all around were both excellent moments but my favorite moment was Mckayla Maroney not winning gold in the vault.

Maroney is generally considered the world’s best vaulter and was considered a lock to win gold. After an excellent first vault, she actually fell on the second vault and ended up with silver. I have to say I don’t know how that happened considering she actually fell and there’s only two vaults but I’d be lying if I said I knew much about gymnastics other than every four years.

So during the medal ceremony, in a moment that has gone viral and is really funny she struck the pose you see here. A new blog called Mckayla is not impressed is really funny and you should definitely check it out. Sadly or actually happily, this may be my fondest memory of these Olympics.

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt is the greatest Olympic sprinter to ever live. You cannot dispute this fact. He became the first person to ever repeat in Olympic 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay. This makes him a legend in events that he already holds the world records for in each race.

That aside, he is a complete jerk. He makes a mockery of the sport, his country and his fellow competitors. He also hurts his already amazing times with his predetermined and premature celebrations. While it’s true he holds the world records already, the actual times could be even faster if he didn’t start slowing down and celebrating before he crosses the finish line. It is really enraging.

I don’t understand why he has to celebrate the way he does. It diminishes what he has accomplished and makes him completely unlikeable. In recent years it has almost become commonplace to see men’s track athletes doing this. You may recall the US men’s relay team a few Olympics ago posing and hamming it up which I hated too. Just run the damn race and let everyone else say how great you are.

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius is the inspiring double amputee 400-meter runner from South Africa. He is also known affectionately as the blade runner. Watching his preliminary heats that he advanced through was moving, it really was. I have so much respect for what he stands for and what he has done.

When he finished dead last in his semifinal heat and eventual gold medalist Kirani James of Grenada asked to switch number tags with him, I thought that was fantastic. I really thought it was a classy and touching move from James. But more so, it signified how inspiring Pistorius is to everyone, including his fellow competitors.

Whether or not you feel that Pistorius should’ve been allowed to compete in the Olympics with his potentially unfair advantage, it doesn’t matter. Oscar Pistorius is one of the most memorable images of these Olympics and it will always remain that way.

Missy Franklin

Missy Franklin is on her summer vacation from high school. She starts her senior year in the next week or so. On her summer break she managed to head out to London and win four gold medals. At the same time, she became a beloved personality and the ultimate All-American girl with a great attitude and incredible charm.

Her swimming captivated me, however, what makes her stick out to me was listening to her interviews and her infectious personality. I wouldn’t know Justin Bieber if I stepped on him on the street but that whole Bieber thing was actually pretty cool.

If you haven’t seen the YouTube video of Missy and her teammates dancing down the plane aisle to Call Me Baby, check it out, it’s awesome. It just makes you like Missy and the whole team so much. I love the fun loving attitude but when it’s time to work and get it done, they all did it. Missy is the new Janet Evans and the future of US swimming.

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  1. I’m surprised you don’t have Michael Phelps on this list for setting the all time record

    • Hey PJ, I wrote about Phelps last week and also I just wasn’t too moved by him. I felt like his moment was 2008 and this was different. The mens swimming was whatever for me this year whereas the womens was more interesting

  2. Ryan Lockte is definitely the cutest athlete of the Olympics

  3. The McKayla pictures made me cry the first time I scrolled through them. That face is priceless. I feel badly for her that she is now portrayed that way but it is really funny.

    • It is funny and I kind of feel bad for her but come on…I know you’re disappointed but I think she was lucky to get silver or any medal at all…besides she has to know the world is watching her

  4. Haha I love the McKayla inclusion. I thought Gabby Douglas was great but then after the all around she didn’t do much in other events. I think she was partying in the village!

    • Haha ya I may agree with you there. She even said she was exhausted from lack of sleep during the even she finished last in…I can’t remember if it was beam or bars

  5. I honestly think the moment of the Olympics was when the Canadian womens soccer tean got hosed by the referee and then went on to lose to USA. That was a travesty and I hated seeing the US celebrate like they had legitimately won that tournament. Furthermore, to see them touting those ridiculous Nike shirts angered me even more.

  6. Good post, Lee. I agree with your choices and comments. Phelps may have merited making this a top 5 but not issues with the others being top 4. Pistorius will definitely be the image of these games, mercifully over Bolt, whose records will eventually be brought down anyway. No one will bring down Pistorius – or Mckayla’s incredible face in that photo!

    By the way, I hate how NBC took away from Gabby’s feat by calling her the first African-American to win gold all around. While that is true, her feat is BIGGER – she is the first black woman to win which includes half of the other 100s of millions of non-US blacks around the world for whom she was the first woman to win this title.

    • Raul, I thought NBC’s coverage in general was simply deplorable. I have never been so angry than when they didn’t broadcast the 200m final live when it was 355pm EST. Twitter, Facebook and 24 news make it impossible to wait until primetime bc you’ll always know the results. I agre about Gabby and yes Phelps was a great story but I didn’t think it ranked as high as the others especially the levity with McKayla!

  7. Pistorius was the most memorable athlete to me

  8. Great post Lee. I agree with your pics and can’t get over the McKayla picture!

  9. Awesome post Lee. You didn’t include Team USA hoops???

    • I was honestly cheering for Spain in the gold medal game…it’s more interesting team USA loses. I cannot cheer for some players on the team.

  10. I thought Kirani James was of equal note winning Granada’s first ever medal and gold at that.

  11. Those pictures of McKayla are too much! I love the one with Tim Tebow!

    • They’re all funny but I love the one of her on Mt. Rushmore which I think is new today…she’s supposed to be back in the States doing talk show circuits tomorrow so I am interested to see what she has to say about it…in the end it’ll probably make her a bigger star

  12. Was baseball removed from the Olympics this year? I didn’t see any games and didn’t hear anything about it at all.

    • Yes it was removed last Olympics. I don’t know why but I am pretty sure the WBC is still around although you never hear anything at all about it…

  13. I think the best part of the games was there was only one person expelled for doping. Maybe the tour de france should take notice.

    • The Tour de France is a complete disaster..they’re all doing drugs. It is the single worst sporting event on Earth…like boxing bad

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