Big events happen every year, but 2012 was especially action-packed. This summer, the world's top athletes came together to compete in the Summer Olympics, in London, England. Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S. in October, and cleanup and rebuilding efforts continue to this day. In November, U.S. voters went to the polls, sending President Barack Obama back to the White House for a second term.
There were unforgettable highs, devastating lows and the everyday events that happen in between. Join TFK to take a look back at just a few of the most memorable and moving moments of 2012.
An Italian cruise ship called the Costa Concordia struck rocks near the coast of Giglio, Italy. The impact tore a huge gash in the ship's hull. The 4,200 passengers and crew members had to abandon ship, and more than 30 people died in the disaster.
Extreme temperatures gripped Europe, creating the harshest cold snap to hit that continent in decades. Dangerous temperatures—as low as -33°F in some places—and heavy snowfall claimed more than 400 lives. Here, a bundled-up man braves the cold in Versoix, Switzerland.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after he was named game MVP in Super Bowl XLVI, which was played in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Giants beat the New England Patriots 21--17 to take the NFL's top title.
Thunderstorms and tornadoes swept through Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. The twisters killed at least 38 people and devastated towns, including Marysville, Indiana. These storms were part of an especially severe tornado season.
March Madness, college basketball's three-week-long national playoffs, ended with a big win for the Kentucky Wildcats, who beat the Kansas Jayhawks 67--59 in the NCAA championship game. After his team's triumph, Wildcat Terrence Jones was all smiles.
One World Trade Center rose to 1,271 feet, making it the tallest building in New York City. It beat the observation deck of the Empire State Building for the towering title. The building will reach its full height of 1,776 feet in 2013.
SpaceX, an American company, sent an unmanned supply ship called the Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS). It was the first time a private company—instead of a government—made a delivery of supplies to the ISS.
Sky watchers got a rare view of Venus moving across the sun. During the event, called the transit of Venus, a little black dot appeared to move slowly across the face of the sun. The spectacle won't happen again for 105 years.
Mohamed Morsi (on poster) claimed victory in a landmark presidential election in Egypt. The vote took place 16 months after an uprising forced Hosni Mubarak to step down as Egypt's leader. The elections were part of a series of sweeping changes across the Middle East and North Africa.
U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps won a record 19th Olympic medal at the Summer Games in London, England. The win made him the most decorated Olympian of all time. Phelps retired from competitive swimming after the Games. He ended his career with a total of 22 Olympic medals.
U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas, 16, won an Olympic gold medal in the individual all-around competition and another gold medal as part of Team U.S.A.'s Fierce Five gymnastics team. She is the first U.S. gymnast to win both team and all-around gold in a single Olympics.
Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney waved to delegates at the Republican National Convention, in Tampa, Florida, after Ryan officially accepted the nomination for Vice President of the United States. The next night, Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was nominated for President.
Around 350,000 students returned to their classrooms after teachers ended a seven-day school strike in Chicago, Illinois, one of the nation's largest school districts. It was the first teachers' strike in Chicago in 25 years.
Hurricane Sandy brought pounding winds, rain and flooding to some of the most densely populated areas in the U.S., including New York City. The storm, the second-most-expensive hurricane ever to strike the U.S., left millions of people in need.
Voters reelected President Barack Obama, giving him a second term in the nation's top office. Obama beat Republican candidate Mitt Romney in a hard-fought race, with the popular vote practically split down the middle. Here, Obama celebrates with Vice President Joe Biden.
Runners wearing Santa Claus costumes took part in the Santa Dash in Liverpool, England. More than 8,000 people competed in the festive fun run, which takes place every year. Ho ho ho!
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