2012 London Olympics Highlights
July 31, 2012
By Raquel Reichard
Friday’s London Olympics opening ceremony drew in 40.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched Summer Games opening ceremony ever. With fireworks lighting up the sky, the ceremony welcomed the finest athletes from more than 200 countries, and for the first time in history, women were represented on each nation’s team.
Now four days into the 30th Olympic games, Team USA is currently first in the medal count, tied with China. Both nations have collected 17 medals in total. China has nine gold, five silver, and three bronze, while the U.S. has five gold, seven silver, and five bronze. Japan sits in third with one gold, four silver and six bronze.
The U.S. started celebrating early on Saturday, thanks to the men’s archery victory. The team brought in the U.S.’s first medals at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. They took home the silver in a tight final against Italy, losing the gold by only a single point.
Ryan Lochte picked up America’s first gold medal. He shocked the world, and himself, by defeating rival and Maryland-born swimmer Michael Phelps in the Men’s 400m individual medley Saturday. Phelps, who came in fourth place, failed to medal for the first time since the Sydney Games in 2000. The two men will see each other again in the Men’s 200m individual medley.
World champion gymnast Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for the Olympic all-around finals due to a rule that limits each nation to just two finalists. Wieber, 17, wound up in fourth place overall, but was third behind Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas for the U.S.
Kim Rhode broke records on Sunday, becoming the first American to win individual medals in five straight Olympics. Rhode won the women’s skeet shooting with 99 points– meaning she missed one of 100 shots. Silver-medalist Wei Ning of China was eight points behind Rhode, and Slovakia’s Danka Bartekova, who earned the bronze medal, was nine points off.
American swimmer Dana Vollmer also made history Sunday. Vollmer broke the 100m butterfly world record, finishing in a time of 55.98 seconds. The 24-year-old New York native earned the gold medal despite losing her swimming cap midway through the race.
On Monday, it was the men who were breaking records. American swimmer Matt Grevers took the gold medal for the men’s 100m backstroke, setting an Olympic record of 52.16 seconds. Behind the 27-year-old Illinois native was American Nick Thoman, who came through in 52.92 seconds. Japan’s Ryosuke Irie received the bronze medal with his 52.97-second backstroke.
In other news, patriotism and religious esteem have made its way into the coiffures of this year’s women competitors. Three-time Olympic champion Venus Williams showed up to London with long braids twisted together with red, white, and blue strands. Meanwhile, Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani, one of Saudi Arabia’s first two female Olympians, said she wouldn’t compete in the judo competition if she wasn’t allowed to wear her hijab. Though judo officials originally refused her request, International Judo Federation spokesman Nicolas Messner said Monday that she would compete.Top Medal Winners as of 7/30/12 1. China 2. United States 3. Japan 4. Italy 5. France 6. South Korea 7. Russia 8. North Korea 9. Australia 10. Romania