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Bolt’s repeat top feat


BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Bolt’s repeat top feat

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The London 2012 Olympics proved the perfect stage for the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, whose warp-speed performances saw him become the first man to defend the 100 and 200 metres double.
As he accelerated to the 200 title he put his finger to his lips – silencing the doubters – on crossing the line. With his Jamaican teammates, he went on to a “double treble”, breaking the world record to retain the 4×100 metres relay title.
“I came here to become a legend and I am now,” Bolt said, before an early-hours turn as a nightclub DJ. “I’ve got nothing left to prove. I’ve showed the world I’m the best.”
In the pool, the supremacy issue was resolved emphatically when Michael Phelps swam to a status as the most decorated Olympian with 22 medals, 18 of them gold. His victory set off a debate about whether that meant he was the world’s greatest.
Phelps too, had nothing left to prove and promptly quit the sport.
“It’s kinda weird, it’s very strange, the first day of not having to swim and never having it again,” he said. “I’m not sure right now how I feel. It’s really confusing.”
There was no confusion on the subject of sporting domination, though, with the United States finishing the Games on top of the medals table. Having trailed China in Beijing, the Americans beat the Chinese into second place with a haul of 46 golds among their 104 medals. China won 38 golds and 87 in all.
Britain’s Olympians took up the baton to finish third, ahead of traditionally mighty Russia, with 29 golds across the field.
Fresh from Britain’s first win in the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins, a fashion throwback to the 1960s Mod era, won the men’s cycling time trial early on. His gold gave him a total of seven career medals, more than any other British Olympian.
Early British success snowballed. Jessica Ennis dominated the heptathlon and became a national heroine overnight, along with Somali-born 5 000 and 10 000 metres double winner Mo Farah. His hands-on-pate “Mobot”, an M-for-Mo victory salute, rivalled Bolt’s arrow gesture for most emulated pose in souvenir snaps.
Kenya’s David Rudisha smashed the 800 metres world record to win gold in 1 minute 40.91 seconds – a run that Games chief Sebastian Coe, himself a former Olympic middle-distance champion, called the “stand-out performance” of London 2012.
Not since topping the table – in London – in 1908 had Britain won so many golds. One went to Nicola Adams; with a dazzling smile and down-to-earth Yorkshire grace, the 29-year-old gave the performance of her life to win women’s boxing’s first Olympic final.
Women’s soccer got a major boost and a crowd of more than 80 000 attended a memorable, magical final where the United States beat Japan 2-1 for a third successive gold. On the men’s side, five-times World Cup winners Brazil were left seeking the one major title to elude them when they were beaten by Mexico.
Andy Murray put Wimbledon heartbreak behind him to win gold with a breathtaking thrashing of Roger Federer.
Britain ruled the velodrome and sprinter Sir Chris Hoy shed tears of joy – for Olympic chief Jacques Rogge, the “defining moment of the Games” – as the hosts ended their Olympic track cycling campaign with seven titles.
Other tears were shed in bitterness. South Korea’s Shin A-Lam wept for an hour on the fencing piste after a timing quirk denied her the place in the final she thought she had secured.
Top-seeded Chinese badminton player Yu Yang quit the sport altogether in despair after being sent home following a tactical “play-to-lose” scandal.
Regardless, China completed a sweep of all five badminton golds, but the treatment of the women, and a whispering campaign about doping against swimming sensation Ye Shiwen angered the Chinese.
One American who contributed to their gold collection, and at the same time won hearts the world over, was 16-year-old “flying squirrel” Gabby Douglas who became the first African American win the women’s all-around gymnastics crown.
America’s giants of the NBA beat an inspired Spain to retain the Olympic title. Kevin Durant led the way with 30 points.
South Korea’s women extended their archery domination by winning their seventh consecutive Olympic team title and took the individual gold for the seventh time in eight Olympics.
The war on doping was fought fiercely; 11 were expelled for violations and Belarussian shot putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk was stripped of her gold. (Reuters)

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