It’s always a celebration four years in the making, with people all over the world tuning in to their television screens and hearing the infamous Olympics music during every commercial break. The two weeks of nail-biting, hair-raising, scream-inducing events come and go before we can barely blink an eye. Through the tears and triumphs, I realized that the 2012 Olympics had disappeared faster than I wanted them to, leaving me with memories I wanted to relive all over again. Here are a few of those Olympic celebrities and moments I can’t help but miss.
Lochte catapulted into the spotlight the second he beat Michael Phelps to claim the first gold medal for the United States this Olympics. And given the way he looks without a shirt on, it’s safe to say the female population kept him in the press. Well, women combined with a few other things. With his infamous United States ‘grill’ he wasn’t allowed to wear on the podium, his trademark ‘#Jeah’ at the end of his tweets and his mother talking about his one night stands, Lochte was always a popular topic this Olympics. And with a rumored reality show in the works, this might not be the last we see of him.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings
They dominated the sand for three consecutive summer Olympics, but right now I still haven’t come to terms with the fact that this dream duo won’t be back to fight for a fourth title. Though they’re bowing out on an ultimate high, becoming the first beach volleyball pair to win three consecutive gold medals, the competition won’t be the same without Kerry’s signature braid and the way they always fell to the ground and hugged one another after winning each and every match. Jen Kessy and April Ross, the silver medalist American team this year, will have impossibly large sandy footprints to fill.
The Fab Five
Gymnastics is always the first week crowd pleaser; you can’t help but root for the girls, who are barely old enough to get their drivers licenses, as they flip across the tiny balance beam, or the college guys throwing stunts that make you question reality — or gravity. This year drama came quick and early for the girls, starting when Aly Raisman surprised the world when she beat teammate Jordan Wieber to secure the second spot for the United States in the All-Around Finals with fellow American Gabby Douglas. With a controversial rule stating that only two teammates from each country could qualify for All-Around Finals, the defending World Champion was left out in the cold. Luckily, the ‘Fab Five’ beat out a team of highly emotional Russian powerhouses to earn the first group gold medal for the United States since the Magnificent Seven in 1996. Gabby Douglas would go on to win the gold in All-Around Finals, Aly Raisman would earn a gold in Individual Floor, and the Fab Five would become the greatest women’s gymnastics team in U.S. Olympic history.
When the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Won the Gold
As a soccer player for 15 years, the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) has always held a special place in my heart. From watching veteran Mia Hamm to rising star Alex Morgan, soccer has always been a personal favorite sport of mine to watch and cheer for during the Olympics, so much so that I would record games at 3:30 a.m. when they were played live and refuse to check the Internet until I had watched the full 90 plus minutes of play. With our men’s team not even qualifying for the Olympics, all the attention went to the women. And this year, the girls were looking for redemption. After an incredible run during the 2011 World Cup (including the most amazing game against Brazil I had ever seen), the USWNT lost to Japan in a horrible mess of a shootout I don’t often like to recall. Fast forward to 2012, and after a heart-attack inducing game against Canada in the semi-finals, the girls were gearing up for a rematch. Japan was their opponent, and suddenly it was 2011 all over again. But this time, the results were in our favor. As Hope Solo, Abby Wambach and all these amazing girls I remember idolizing ran around the field in tears and bit their gold medals, it made me realize how much I still loved the sport, 15 years later.
When Usain Bolt Stopped his Interview
Usain Bolt’s domination of the track is known by just about every person to turn on Olympic track & field events. He seemed to appear out of nowhere, blowing away the competition and setting world records with ease, all the while gaining a reputation for having a laid back and easy personality — if a bit cocky. Often during these Olympic games, he’d dance and ham it up for the camera, annoying fans with his ego and constant talk about being the best sprinter in the world. So it came as a pleasant surprise to everyone when Bolt showed his classy side. When the U.S National Anthem started playing for Sanya Richards-Ross, Bolt was mid-interview. He politely turned and stopped, pointing for the reporter to honor the anthem as well. Bolt remained silent during the entire anthem, only returning to the questions after it concluded. Though I’m a fan of his no matter what comes out of his mouth, this made me respect him even more. Want to check it out? Here’s the clip!
Last, but certainly not least, the most decorated Olympian in history. With a record 22 medals earned, Phelps did just about everything he could in the world of swimming, and his retirement will be a huge loss for the United States in future Olympic competitions. I think I might still be in denial about it. Though this year wasn’t as illustrious as last year, Phelps still dominated the pool, helping relays flying down his lanes in individual events and humbly answering interview questions after meet. And then it was over. He was done. From his mom’s dramatic expressions on camera, to his eight gold medals from 2008, and finally, his confirmation of retirement to Bob Costas, Phelps has blazed a trail that may never be touched, leaving his mark on the United States forever.
Though we’re mourning the loss of some of our top contenders, I can’t help but be excited about the new talent and surprises 2016 will bring. And as for 2012, well, we’ll always have the memories.
What do you miss most about the Olympics? Tell us about it in the comments below!