2012 London Olympics: 30 memorable moments of the XXX Summer Olympics

CLEVELAND - The Olympics have come to a close, captivating the world with compelling, inspiring and some humorous moments. Here are 30 of the most memorable from the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London.

1. Phelps becomes most decorated Olympian

At Beijing, Michael Phelps won the most medals in a single Olympics. In London, he cemented his legacy among the greatest of all-time. Anchoring the 4x200 relay, Phelps earned his record-setting 19th medal, more than any other Olympian. Phelps says he's retiring, finishing his career with 22 medals, 18 of them gold.

2. Lightning strikes twice for Bolt

Call him cocky but the fastest man on earth has every right to be. Bolt made it look easy, becoming the first man to sweep the 100m and 200m at two straight Olympics. The buzz Bolt generates and speed he runs with are astounding. His achievements in London may earn him the title of greatest sprinter in history.

3. Gabby gets gold

Following in the footsteps of Americans Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin, American Gabby Douglas earned the title of best all-around gymnast at the London games. Douglas, nicknamed 'the flying squirrel,' finished a near-flawless night with her infectious floor routine. She is the first African-American gymnast to win all-around gold.

4. Pistorius and James exemplify Olympic spirit

Double amputee Oscar Pistorius and eventual gold medal winner Kirani James both competed in the men's 400m. The two were in the same semifinal, where James finished first and Pistorius last. Though on opposite ends of the spectrum, James showed the utmost class, exchanging name bibs with the inspiring Pistorius.

5. Maroney vaults 'Fab Five' to gold

The defining moment of 1996's 'Magnificent Seven' was a vault. It may too be for the 'Fab Five.' While Kerri Strug's vault was unforgettable for its adversity, Maroney's stands out for its sheer perfection. Maroney left one judge's jaw dropped with what commentators called a "state-of-the-art" vault. It kicked off a near-perfect night for the American women on their way to the first U.S. gymnastics team gold since Atlanta.

6. Morgan's header ousts Canada

Abby Wambach has become known for her game-changing headers. But this time it was young American Alex Morgan who headed the ball into the goal in the 123rd minute to defeat Canada 4-3 in a classic semifinal match.

7. Boudia's dramatic dive

It came down to three men separated by hundredths of a point for gold in the final dive of the men's 10m platform. American David Boudia finished 18th in prelims, earning the final spot into the semifinals. From last to qualify to top of the podium, Boudia became the first American male to win platform gold since Greg Louganis, upsetting Chinese Qui Bo and British Tom Daley by the slimmest of margins.

8. Misty and Kerri three-peat on the beach

For the third consecutive Olympics, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings were the class of the women's beach volleyball field. In Misty's final match, the pair knocked off fellow Americans Jen Kessy and April Ross to earn gold. In their Olympic career, May and Walsh never lost a match and dropped just one set.

9. Badminton misconduct

Badminton is not typically a top Olympic news story. This time it was but for the wrong reasons, as four pairs from China, Indonesia and South Korea were disqualified after throwing matches. Their reason? To try to secure a better draw in later rounds.

10. U.S. women set 4x100 records on track & in pool

Schmitt, Franklin, Soni, Vollmer. Madison, Felix, Knight, Jeter. American women blew the competition out of the water and off the track with their speed in the relays.

11. Team USA obliterates Nigeria in 83-point win

It was arguably the greatest performance in Olympic basketball history, as the U.S. set records for most points scored (156) and largest margin of victory (83) in a complete domination of Nigeria.

12. Missy's double dip

Time wasn't necessarily on the side of 17-year-old Missy Franklin in her quest for her first gold medal. Franklin had less than 15 minutes between her 200-meter freestyle semifinal and 100-meter backstroke final. She wasn't fazed, breaking her own American record for the gold.

13. Murray avenges Wimbledon loss

Two weeks after getting emotional on centre court, it was a different experience for Andy Murray at the All-England Club at the Olympics. Again facing Roger Federer, the man who beat him in the Wimbledon final, Murray got revenge winning gold in front of his home country.

14. Gold and grill

Ryan Lochte wasn't happy just wearing gold on the podium. Even though the IOC told him no, Lochte put in his red, white and blue diamond-encrusted grill to celebrate. Why? I'm not sure any

of us can answer that one.

15. Jessica Ennis' roaring heptathlon win

In front of the home crowd, Jessica Ennis triumphantly crossed the line for heptathlon gold. They sure let her know their excitement and pride with their booming volume.

16. Crowd urges Farah to distance double

Just like Ennis, the Brits were very much behind Mo Farah as he fought to the finish for the win in the 5000m. Add that to his 10000m gold earlier in the games and Farah sets himself as one of the host country's star performers.

17. Judo history

Ohio 22-year-old Kayla Harrison became the first U.S. judo champion, winning the women's under 78-kilogram division. She fought through adversity to become that, sexually abused by her former coach years back.

18. # NBCFail

Social media has only increased since the last Olympics and so did many people's frustration with NBC's delayed coverage. The five-hour time difference caused most major events to be completed hours before NBC aired them in primetime. Jokes about NBC's strategy filled Twitter and on day four, the joke was on NBC, when they aired a "Today" show promo about Missy Franklin winning gold before showing the race she won it in. Now that's a # NBCFail.

19. Independent athletes

Usually the Olympics are about representing your country. But what happens when you don't have one? The four independent athletes piqued American curiosity as they danced their way around the Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremony.

20. Manteo Mitchell breaks leg, finishes race

"I felt like somebody had literally just snapped my leg in half," Manteo Mitchell told The Associated Press. That's what Mitchell felt as he ran the first leg of the 4x400 relay through the pain of a broken fibula. He didn't stop, finishing his part of the race and allowing the Americans to qualify. Mitchell would watch his teammates win gold a day later.

21. Williams demolishes Sharapova

Maria Sharapova could only steal one game away from Serena Williams in a dominating 6-0, 6-1 performance in the gold medal match. Serena also won doubles gold with sister Venus for the third time.

22. Zonderland!

The Dutch wonder Epke Zonderland with shaggy hair and catchy name amazed viewers as he soared on the high bar. Zonderland's gold was the Netherlands' first gymnastics medal ever.

23. Diver scores 0.0s

When you're fooling around with friends at the pool, a belly flop usually draws some laughs. Not so at the Olympics. German diver Stephan Feck experienced that firsthand as received zeros across the board for his inadvertent "back flop" .

24. "Queen" parachutes in to Olympic Stadium

The Opening Ceremony took us on a journey through British history that was at some times sleep-inducing, at others intriguing and often full of unintentional comedy. One of the cooler moments was a Queen stunt double parachuting down to the festivities. On the funny side was Meredith Viera pronouncing the predominantly stone-faced Queen's "wicked sense of humor" in "full display."

25. By thatmuch

In the closest swimming finish, American Nathan Adrian won the 100m freestyle by .001 seconds. Track's tightest finish had the U.S. on the silver side with Australia's Sally Pearson edging out Dawn Harper by .02 seconds in the 100m hurdles.

26. Federer fights off del Potro

It was the match that just wouldn't end in the Olympic tennis semifinal. Back and forth Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro went to earn a chance at gold. Federer finally broke through for to win the third set 19-17 after 4 hours and 26 minutes on the court.

27.  Wieber misses all-around

Tears streamed down Jordyn Wieber's face -- the reigning world champion would not get a chance to achieve her dream. Although Wieber finished fourth in the all-around qualifications, each country can advance only two gymnasts to the final and teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas took the U.S. spots coming in second and third.

28. Maroney's sneer inspires Internet sensation

After her triumphant moment in the team final, McKayla Maroney seemed like a shoe-in for individual gold in the vault. But gymnastics is unpredictable and Maroney failed to land her second vault. She got silver but was unsatisfied. Her sneer on the medal stand spawned a series of "not impressed" memes taking off on the web.

29. Ole!

It took Mexico just 29 seconds to break through in the men's soccer gold medal match. Mexico earned its first Olympic soccer medal with a 2-1 win over Brazil.

30. Musical merriment

The games of London came to a close with a celebration of the country's iconic music. Athletes paraded in as one, filling the Olympic Stadium and a smorgasbord of music acts including One Direction, Annie Lennox, The Spice Girls and The Who performed. Fireworks punctuated a rocking end to a wonderful two weeks.

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