Just like in Beijing, Team USA had to work for gold against Spain. This time, it was even tighter, with a one-point differential at halftime and at the end of the third quarter. But a monster dunk and a three from LeBron James in the fourth quarter lifted the U.S. to a 107-100 victory, earning team U.S.A. its second straight gold and 14th overall in basketball. James joins Michael Jordan as the only player to win the regular NBA season MVP title, the NBA Finals, Finals MVP and Olympic gold in the same year.
After squeaking into the semifinals in 18th and last place, David Boudia stunned the diving world when he shocked world champion Qiu Bo of China for the 10-meter platform gold with a series of textbook dives that had nary a splash upon entry. It's the second straight Olympics in which diving powerhouse China, which claimed all eight diving golds at last year's worlds, was upset in the event on which it seemingly had a lock. Boudia's gold is the first for the U.S. in diving since Laura Wilkinson's in 2000 and the first in the event since Greg Louganis in 1988.
Usain Bolt made it a triple double in London, defending his 4x100-meter relay gold with his Jamaican teammates in world record fashion. Running the anchor leg, Bolt, uh, bolted away from the U.S.' Ryan Bailey to cross the line in 36.84 seconds -- the first sub-37 time in the event.
Buoyed by a rocking home crowd, Mo Farah added the 5,000-meter title to his 10,000-meter win from Great Britain's Super Saturday. He is the first British man to win either event and the seventh man to complete the long-distance double in the same Olympics.
The world may be catching up to the U.S. men's basketball team, but the American women are still far and away the best. Team USA extended its Olympic win streak to 41 straight games with an 86-50 rout of France to claim its fifth-straight gold medal. The five-peat is the first in any women's event in Olympic competition.
It looked like Brazil, a five-time World Cup champ, would finally win its first Olympic gold in soccer, but Mexico had other ideas. Oribe Peralta scored 29 seconds in -- the quickest goal ever in an Olympic final -- and Brazil never recovered, losing 2-1. The gold is Mexico's first in soccer after previously finishing fourth at its home games in Mexico City in 1968. Maybe Brazil will have better luck at home in 2016?
Maybe we should revisit the modern pentathlon rules? In the equestrian portion, competitors must ride an unfamiliar horse, which did not exactly go well for South Korea's Woojin Hwang. His horse, Shearwater Oscar, did not take to him from the start and promptly bucked him off. Neither were hurt, and Woojin finished the competition -- but incurred 464 penalty points thanks to his unruly buck. Ouch.
The Bahamas won its first gold medal in the men's 4x400-meter relay thanks to a killer anchor leg by Ramon Miller to pass two-time 400-meter hurdles champ Angelo Taylor of the U.S. The late upset ended the Americans' win streak in the event, which dated back to 1972. The U.S., however, was depleted this year with former 400-meter champs Jeremy Wariner and LaShawn Merritt injured, and Manteo Mitchell breaking his left fibula while running in the preliminaries. South Africa, featuring "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius, finished eighth.
Rhythmic gymnasts use a variety of objects during their performances, but there was an unexpected one during South Korean Son Yeon-Jae's clubs routine. Her right shoe flew off while she was mid-pirouette. Son finished her routine before sheepishly picking up her shoe, which she said came off because of sweat. Nonetheless, she advanced to the final.
Jordan Burroughs was certainly not lacking in confidence going into London: The wrestler's Twitter handle is @alliseeisgold. But you'd have that much self-belief too if you've been undefeated since December 2009. Burroughs kept that streak alive, defeating Iranian Sadegh Goudarszi 1-0, 1-0 with a pair of double-leg takedowns. It's the first wrestling gold for the U.S. in London.
It was deja vu of the worst kind for Uceny. As the bell sounded for the final lap of the 1,500-meter final, Uceny's legs hit the knee of Ethiopia's Abeba Aregawi, causing her to fall. The two-time defending U.S. champ had fallen in the final lap in last year's world championships in similar fashion. Uceny, who was a medal favorite in London, sobbed on the track and stayed there well past the end of the race, which was won by Turkey's Asli Cakir Alptekin.
The team of Tianna Madison, 200 meters champ Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and 100 meters silver medalist and 200 meters bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter put two Olympics worth of baton flubs behind them with a sensational relay that culminated with a world record of 40.82 seconds. It's the first sub-41 time in the event and erased the East Germans' 1985 global standard by more than half a second. The gold is also the first for the U.S. women in the 4x100 since 1996.
On the 100th anniversary of the event at the Olympics, Ashton Eaton won the decathlon and, along with it, the title of "world's greatest athlete." Teammate Trey Hardee took silver, making it the first time Americans went 1-2 since Milton Gray Campbell and Rafer Johnson did it in 1956. Eaton's 8,869 points were off the world record 9,039 points he set at trials, but his performance left even Usain Bolt impressed. "I'm a great athlete, but to do 10 events, especially the 1,500 -- I've got to give it to him," Bolt said.
Pound-for-pound the best lightweight boxer in the world, Ireland's Katie Taylor -- the reigning world champion since 2006 -- won the first ever lightweight Olympic gold medal, defeating Russia's Sofya Ochigava 10-8. It's Ireland's first gold medal since 1996.
Team USA avenged its painful loss to Japan at last year's World Cup final with a 2-1 victory to win the gold. Carli Lloyd scored both goals and Hope Solo came up with massive acrobatic saves, including a diving block in the 83rd minute to preserve the lead. It is the Americans' third straight Olympic gold and fourth overall.
Bolt raced into the history books when he jetted to an unprecedented second straight gold in the 200 meters in 19.32. Not only that, but the Jamaican superstar became the only man to win the 100 and the 200 twice. After he crossed the line, Bolt, never one to shy away from the spotlight, put his finger to his lips to silence those who doubted him coming into London. "I was just telling them: You can stop talking now, because I am a legend," he said.
Seventeen-year-old Claressa Shields won the first women's boxing gold for the U.S. in the event's inaugural year at the Olympics. The middleweight is the second youngest fighter to win gold in either men's or women's boxing and claimed the only gold medal for the U.S. boxing team in London.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings were golden one last time, winning their third straight beach volleyball gold. It was their final match (and a quick one at that -- it lasted 35 minutes), as May-Treanor is retiring, and they end their partnership undefeated at the Olympics, going 21-0. Even more absurd? They dropped only one set through the three Games -- to Austria during their London preliminary rounds.
Sarah Attar finished last and more than 30 seconds slower than her next closest competitor in the 800-meter preliminaries, but just being on the track was a victory in and of itself. Attar is the first woman from Saudi Arabia to run at the Olympics and was received with rousing applause from the crowd. "This is such a huge honor and an amazing experience, just to be representing the women," said Attar, who was covered from head to toe. "I know that this can make a huge difference."
When you can't beat them, you hit them where it hurts -- really hurts. Down 66-59 with 23 seconds left in the quarterfinal, France's basketball forward Nicolas Batum, who shot 3-for-12 during the game, punched Spanish guard Juan Carlos Navarro right in the groin. After initially telling reporters that he wanted to give Navarro a "good reason to flop," Batum later tweeted an apology for his "stupid act."
On his first pole vaulting qualifying attempt at 17.5 feet, Cuba's Lazaro Borges was mid-flight when his pole shattered into three pieces, sending him into the landing pit while fiberglass shot in a various directions. Fortunately, Borges, the reigning world silver medalist, was uninjured and calmly collected the pieces afterward. He finished one spot out of qualifying for the final.
After snagging silver behind Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown in Athens and Beijing, Felix finally wins her elusive individual gold medal in the 200 meters (aka her "baby"), zipping through the final meters in Bolt-like fashion in 21.88. It was the fourth-fastest time she's ever run and she was the only person in the field under 22 seconds. Felix's winning margin of .21 seconds over 100-meter champ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the largest since American Gwen Torrence beat Jamaica's Juliet Cuthbert by the same margin in 1992.
Great Britain is no slouch in the equestrian department, but until this year, it had never won gold in dressage. Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin changed that, garnering gold less than 24 hours after their showjumping teammates won a gold in that event for the first time in 60 years. The dressage gold was Britain's 20th in London, eclipsing its record post-World War II haul in Beijing.
Congrats, Stephan Feck. You didn't win gold in London, but you accomplished something more important and everlasting: going viral. Attempting a forward three-and-a-half somersault in the 3-meter springboard preliminaries, the German diver got off the board fine, but he lost his grip on his left thigh, causing him to come out of his tuck and land flat on his back in the water. He got nothing but zeros for the dive and finished dead last.
Defending weightlifting champion Matthias Steiner had a major scare when he lost his balance and dropped a 432-pound barbell on his neck. Fortunately, the German was able to walk off on his own, and tests later showed that he suffered ligament and muscle injuries with no damage to his spine.
What's worse? Hitting a hurdle when you're way out in front for gold or finishing in the worst place (aka fourth)? Jones has experienced both, the former in Beijing, where she was the favorite in the 100-meter hurdles but ended up seventh due to the flub, and the latter in London. She wasn't the favorite in these Games (six women in the final have had better times than she has this year), but given the ceaseless media attention on Jones leading into the Olympics, the hype might make this close call sting more.
Raisman missed out on an all-around bronze because of a tiebreaker, but she finally got a (tie) break in the balance beam final after an accepted appeal shifted her from fourth to tied for third. This time, she won the tiebreaker and the medal. An hour later, Raisman moved up to the top spot of the podium thanks to an exhilarating floor exercise routine left her untouchable with five gymnasts after her in the event. Raisman leaves London with three medals, including the team gold -- one more than all-around champ Gabby Douglas and two more than pre-Olympics favorite Jordyn Wieber.
Chris Hoy, who served as Great Britain's flag bearer, dethroned rower Steve Redgrave as the country's top Olympic champ when he won his sixth gold medal in kierin. The cyclist is the first rider to defend a kierin title and it couldn't have come at a better time -- it was the last race of Hoy's Olympic career.
It was an unfortunate case of deja vu for China when Athens 110-meter hurdles champ Liu -- the country's first track and field Olympic gold medalist -- clipped the first hurdle in his heat, crumbled to the ground and grabbed his lower right leg in pain. The head of China's track team said Liu might have ruptured his Achilles tendon. In Beijing, Liu, China's most famous athlete, broke 1.3 billion hearts when he withdrew from his heat because of an Achilles injury. Before Liu was wheelchaired off the track in London, he limped to the end and kissed the last hurdle.
On the morning of his 400-meter hurdles heat in Beijing, 2004 champ Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic learned that his beloved grandmother, Lilian, died. Distraught, he failed to advance out of the heat, but vowed afterward to win another gold for her in London. And that he did, gliding to an easy victory in 47.63 -- the same as his winning time in Athens to become, at nearly 35, the oldest man to win the event. Sanchez then pulled out a photo of him and Lilian that he had pinned to the inside of his name bib and kissed it on the ground. On the podium, he sobbed uncontrollably while his flag was raised.
The North American neighbors put on an intense, physical and thrilling match that literally went down to the wire. Canada's Christine Sinclair pulled off a hat trick to put her team up three times during the match, only for the U.S. to claw back to tie each time. They were 30 seconds from penalty kicks when Heather O'Reilly shot a cross to Alex Morgan, who knocked in a header in the 123nd minute. The win ensured the Americans remain undefeated in Olympic semifinals and gives them a rematch in the final against Japan, to whom they lost in the World Cup last year.
The Jamaican sprinter added to his growing legend by pulling away from the field in the last 50 meters to defend his 100-meters gold. He set a new Olympic record with 9.63 seconds and now owns the three fastest times ever. Bolt is the first man to defend the 100 since Carl Lewis.
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius, aka the "Blade Runner," made history by becoming the first double-amputee to run at the Olympics. He advanced to the 400-meter semifinal, where he finished eighth and last. Afterward, in one of the classiest post-race moves, Grenada's Kirani James, who finished first, asked to swap name bibs with Pistorius.
It wasn't Wimbledon, but it was at Wimbledon. Exactly four weeks after being reduced to tears after his Wimbledon loss to Federer, Murray resoundingly won the rematch 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 to capture the gold before an adoring home crowd. The win is the biggest of the Scot's career, which includes an 0-4 record in Grand Slam finals, -- three of those losses to Federer -- and also denied Federer the career Golden Slam.
Considered to be one of the biggest locks for gold, McKayla Maroney had already left the judges in shock and awe with her near-perfect, high-flying vault in the team final. All she had to do was land on her feet twice in the vault event final for her first individual gold. Instead, she shockingly sat on her second vault and had to settle for silver. But even with the fall, Maroney was only a tenth out of first place.
The host country started off the Olympics slowly, not striking gold until the fifth day of competition, but it's been making up for lost time. Team GB exploded on the first Saturday, winning six golds, topped off by three golds within 44 minutes in track and field. Jessica Ennis won the heptathlon, Greg Rutherford won the long jump and Mo Farah blazed through the final lap to win the 10,000 meters.
Williams routed Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 in just over an hour in the women's final to become the fourth tennis player to complete the career Golden Slam: win all four Grand Slams and Olympic gold. With the win, she also became the first tennis player to have a career Golden Slam in singles and doubles. She later teamed with big sis Venus to win their third Olympic doubles gold. The sisters now own the most Olympic gold medals among tennis players with four each.
Phelps capped his legendary career by winning gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay -- an event the U.S. men have never lost in the Olympics -- for his 22nd medal and 18th gold (twice as many as the next closest competitor). During the medal ceremony, FINA, swimming's governing body, presented him with a special trophy engraved with the phrase "greatest Olympic athlete of all time."
The youngest U.S. Olympian won swimming's longest women's event. Katie Ledecky, 15, cruised to an emphatic victory in the 800-meter freestyle, winning by a whopping four seconds in 8:14.63. The time erased Janet Evans' American record, which was set in 1989 -- eight years before Ledecky was born. Ledecky also became the second youngest American to win an individual gold.
A historic milestone for Qatar ended in heartbreak for Noor Hussain Al-Malki. The 17-year-old runner, Qatar's first female Olympian, pulled up on her right leg 15 meters in to her 100-meter heat. While her competitors whizzed by her, Al-Malki sat on the track with her head buried in her hands. She was later wheelchaired off to a loud ovation.
Seventeen-year-old phenom Missy Franklin lived up the hype in London, never more so than in her best event, the 200-meter backstroke, in which she crushed the field by a full body length and set her first long-course world record, 2:04.06. It was her fourth medal of the Games, third gold and gave her a sweep of the backstroke events. Franklin is also the first American to win the 200 back since Melissa Belote triumphed 40 years ago.
It was no 70-68 in the fifth, but Wimbledon saw another epic match on Centre Court when Roger Federer defeated Juan Martin del Potro in a nail-biting semifinal. The epic 4-hour, 26-minute encounter is the longest three-set men's match in the Open Era. The win not only secured a final berth for the Swiss maestro, but kept him undefeated at the All-England Club this summer, following his record-tying seventh Wimbledon win last month, and improved his record to 6-0 over the Argentine this year.
During the third quarter of Australia's 70-66 victory over Russia, Aussie Liz Cambage did something hardly -- if ever -- seen in women's Olympic basketball competition: She dunked. The 6-foot-8 center received a pass at the line, drove down the lane and slammed down the one-handed dunk. FIBA could not confirm if it was the first dunk by a woman at the Olympics, but longtime players and coaches did not recall it ever happening before. (Women's basketball made its Olympic debut in 1976.)
Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte's famed rivalry came to an end in the 200-meter individual medley final with the master coming out on top. Phelps, who's retiring after London, led the race from the start and, after coming up short in the 400 IM and 200 butterfly, finally became the first male swimmer to three-peat in an individual event. The medal was his 20th overall and 16th gold. Lochte, who earned bronze in the 200 back 30 minutes before the race, won silver for his 11th career medal and the final one of these Games.
Douglas and her irrepressible smile vaulted into gymnastics immortality when she became the fourth American and third straight to win the all-around gold. The 16-year-old jumped out to an early lead on the first apparatus and never relinquished it as she hit mark after mark. Douglas is also the first African-American to win the all-around and the first U.S. gymnast to win both the all-around and team gold at the same Olympics.
You don't have to know much about boxing to know that the person who spends more time on the ground should not be the winner. But that was the case (at first) in the bantamweight clash between Japan's Satoshi Shimizu and Azerbaijan's Magomed Abdulhamidov. Shimizu knocked down Abdulhamidov six times, but referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov from Turkemenistan declared Abdulhamidov the winner. Fans booed and Japan filed a protest, which was accepted. The result was overturned and Meretnyyazov was relieved of his duties.
Harrison nabbed America's first gold in judo -- a victory that means much more than ending a drought. The 22-year-old was sexually abused by a former coach when she was a child and went through her teens aching to quit her sport before relearning to love it with a new coach, two-time bronze medalist Jimmy Pedro.
Australia's James "The Missile" Magnussen, the defending world champion, was the heavy favorite in swimming's glamour event, the 100-meter freestyle, after posting the fourth-fastest time ever (47.10) in March. Not to mention, he publically declared he would win gold. But Adrian had other plans, matching Magnussen stroke for stroke in the final meters before lunging for the wall and winning by one-hundredth of a second. It is the first gold for the U.S. in the event since Matt Biondi's win in 1988 -- the year Adrian was born.
Kohei Uchimura wins all-around gold and Danell Leyva makes a comeback Uchimura of Japan hasn't lost in a major international meet since winning silver in Beijing, so it was no surprise to see him confirm his status as one of the greatest gymnasts ever with the individual all-around gold. Leyva won bronze after staging a huge comeback from 17th place after falling on pommel horse, to third, with clutch parallel bars and high bar routines. The medal was the first for the American men after they imploded in the team final.
Because becoming Britain's first Tour de France champ is not enough, Wiggins crowned his achievement with a gold medal in the time trial -- just 10 days after his Tour win. Wiggins, with his trademark sideburns, is the first person to have won the Tour de France and the Olympics in the same year.
Eight doubles badminton players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were kicked out of the Olympics for trying to lose their round-robin matches in order to get easier matchups in the knockout stage. And they weren't even discreet about it: The players served fault after fault and netted shuttlecocks, drawing jeers from the crowd and warnings from the umpire while incredulous broadcasters watched in disbelief. The International Olympic Committee has asked for an investigation into the scandal.
Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time after the U.S. cruised to an easy victory in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay to give him his 19th medal. Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina held the record with 18 for 48 years. She and Phelps were tied for an hour after he won silver in the 200-meter butterfly. The relay gold is Phelps' 15th gold -- also an all-time record.
Move over, Magnificent Seven! The U.S. women's gymnastics team won the country's second team gold in Olympic history and the first since 1996. There was no dramatic, one-footed vault, as the Fab Five led the final from start to finish, hitting and sticking clean and eye-popping routines. They decisively beat Russia, which fell apart on floor exercise, 183.596 to 178.530.
A timing error cost South Korean fencer Shin A Lam a chance at epee gold in her semifinal, but it was what happened afterward that was truly heartbreaking. Germany's Britta Heidemann had extra time to get touches on Shin when the clock got stuck with one second left, and after 25 minutes of deliberation, officials gave the finals berth to Heidemann. As the South Koreans filed a protest, an inconsolable Shin bawled on the piste, which she did not leave for more than 30 minutes because that would mean she accepted the result. She had to be escorted off after officials rejected her appeal -- and return 15 minutes later for the bronze medal match, which she lost to China's Sun Yujie.
Spain has won the past three major soccer competitions, but it didn't even get close to adding Olympic gold. The team was shockingly knocked out in the group stage after suffering losses to Japan and Honduras.
Is Mike Tyson in London? After her loss to Cuba's Yurileidys Cobas in her opening round 57-kg judo match, Greece's Ioulietta Boukouvala claimed that Cobas bit her hand during the contest. Boukouvala showed journalists the purported mark, but so far, no photos have surfaced.
This final had it all: drama, disappointment, choking, tears, a feel-good underdog story, an unexpected repeat and a classic scoring controversy. The U.S. men's team completely imploded in the final with catastrophic falls on multiple apparatuses and finished fifth. China proved pundits wrong by defending its title with solid performances and Great Britain won the host country's first team medal in 100 years. The medal was originally silver, with Ukraine getting the bronze, but after Japan -- the gold medal favorite -- protested the pommel horse score for Kohei Uchimura, Japan was bumped from fourth place to second, knocking Ukraine off the podium.
Four years ago, Jason Lezak made a heroic final lap comeback and out-touched France's Alain Bernard to reclaim the 4x100 free relay gold for the U.S. Four years later, it was the U.S. who got Lezak'd, as Frenchman Yannick Agnel produced a searing final split to overtake a fading Ryan Lochte for the win. The runner-up showing gave Phelps the first silver medal of his Olympic career.
Wieber is the defending world all-around gymnastics champion and has only lost two all-around finals in her whole senior career (since 2011). As such, she was the favorite to strike gold in London. But in a surprising turn of events, Wieber was edged out for the two finals spots by Gabby Douglas and her close friend Aly Raisman. Her devastation played out on TV as she cried on the side while Douglas and Raisman celebrated.
Not even Michael Phelps can claim this milestone. Kim Rhode won the skeet shooting gold, equaling the world record of 99 out of 100 clays, to become the first American athlete to medal in individual events in five straight Olympics. She also has golds from Atlanta and Athens, a silver from Beijing and a bronze from Sydney.
During the U.S. women's soccer match against Colombia, Wambach suffered a black eye when Lady Andrade clocked her in the face while she was running across the pitch. Wambach was shocked when officials didn't give Andrade a red card (they claim they didn't see it). But in the 74th minute, Wambach scored her 140th international goal (the U.S. won 3-0) and celebrated by holding open her bad eye with her hand. Wambach later called it a "sucker punch," and after a review, FIFA banned Andrade for two matches.
China confirmed itself as a new swimming powerhouse when Sun Yang won the 400-meter freestyle to give the country its first gold ever in men's swimming. Teammate Li Xuanxu took bronze behind South Korean and defending champion Park Tae-hwan. The same day, 16-year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen won the women's 400-meter IM.
The first showdown between dry-land buddies and pool rivals Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte was a bust. Lochte blew away the field to win the United States' first gold of the Games, while Phelps, the two-time defending champion, finished fourth. It was the first time Phelps was off the podium since he finished fifth in the 200-butterfly in Sydney in his Olympic debut as a 15-year-old. (To be fair, Phelps didn't start training for the 400 IM, aka the decathlon of swimming, until earlier this year after saying for years that he wouldn't swim it in London.)
The United States' first medal in London was a silver in men's team archery, but the team was thisclose to getting a gold. Italy needed a 9 to tie the U.S. and a 10 to win, and in a clutch performance, Mauro Nespoli hit the 10 to clinch the Italians the gold.