PHOTOS & VIDEOS
Britain's superstar athlete Jessica Ennis competes in the long jump event of the heptathlon, on August 4. Ennis, a popular British athlete who sat out the 2008 Beijing Games after an injury, earned gold in the heptathlon. The heptathlon involves gaining the most points over seven track and field events: 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter race, long jump, javelin throw and 800-meter race.
U.S. tennis star Serena Williams competes against Russia's Maria Sharapova during the gold medal match of the women's singles tennis final, on August 4. Williams won the gold, becoming just the second female tennis player to achieve the "Golden Slam" by winning singles titles in all four major tennis tournaments and the Olympics. Sharapova settled for silver, while Victoria Azarenka of Belarus won bronze.
World's Fastest Woman
Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce holds her country's flag as she celebrates winning gold in the women's 100-meter final, on August 4. It was the second-straight win in the Olympic event for the sprinter, which she completed in 10.75 seconds. American Carmelita Jeter won silver and Jamaican Veronica Campbell Brown took bronze.
World's Fastest Man
Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates winning gold in the men's 100-meter final, on August 5. The win made him the second male sprinter--after Carl Lewis in 1984 and 1989--to win back-to-back titles in the 100-meters. Considered the world's fastest man, Bolt finished the race in 9.63 seconds, an Olympic record (he also holds the world record of 9.58 seconds, set at the 2009 world championships). Bolt's fellow Jamaican—and biggest rival—Yohan Blake earned silver, and Justin Gatlin of the U.S. took bronze.
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius runs in the semifinals of the 400-meter race, on August 5. Pistorius is the first double-amputee athlete to compete in track and field at the Olympics. He uses J-shaped blade prosthetics during races. The runner finished last in the round, so he will not move on to the finals. But Pistorius will compete again on August 9 as part of South Africa's 4x400 relay team. He will also compete later this month in the Paralympic Games.
Britain's Andy Murray reacts in front of a cheering home crowd after winning Olympic gold in the men's singles tennis match against Switzerland's Roger Federer, on August 5. The win was especially significant because of the match's location: the All England Tennis Club in London's Wimbledon district. Just four weeks ago, Federer had defeated Murray on the same lawn in the Wimbledon Championship finals, a top international tennis tournament held annually in London. Murray's triumph at the Olympics is the first time in over 75 years that a British male player won a major tennis event on the grounds of Wimbledon.
U.S. track and field athlete Jennifer Suhr competes in the women's pole vault final, on August 6. The competition's top spot came down to a tight race. After Suhr and Cuba's Yarisley Silva both vaulted 15 feet, 7 inches, a tiebreaker handed the gold to Suhr and silver to Silva. Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva, the two-time defending Olympic champion who has broken the world record 28 times, won bronze.
Grenada's Kirani James leads in the men's 400-meter final, on August 6. James took home the gold—the first-ever Olympic medal for his country, a small island in the Caribbean. Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic finished second for the silver, while Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago took bronze.
Flooring For Gold
U.S. gymnast Alexandra Raisman performs during the women' s gymnastics floor exercise final, on August 7. She earned the floor event gold medal for her performance. Romania's Catalina Ponor took silver and Russia's Aliya Mustafina won bronze in the same event. Earlier in the day, Raisman also won a bronze medal in the balance beam event.
Australia's Sally Pearson races ahead of Turkey's Nevin Yanit during the Women's 100-meter hurdles final, on August 7. Pearson won the gold in an Olympic-record 12.35 seconds. She beat silver medalist Dawn Harper of the United States by just two-hundredth of a second. American hurdler Kellie Wells finished third for the bronze.
Leonel Manzano of the United States celebrates after winning silver in the men's 1,500-meter final, on August 7. The Mexican-born American runner came from near the back of the pack in the final stretch of the race to finish second. Manzano is the first American to take home a medal in the event since 1968. Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi finished first for the gold, while Morocco's Abdalaati Iguider took bronze.
An Olympic First
Saudi Arabia's Sarah Attar, 19, competes at the start of the women's 800-meter heats, on August 8. Attar is the first Saudi woman to compete in an Olympic track and field event. As she crossed the finish line—last in the race—many people in the crowd rose to their feet to give her a standing ovation. The London 2012 Games marks the first year Saudi women are competing in any Olympics.
U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix smiles after crossing the finish line first in the women's 200-meter final, on August 8. Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took silver and American Carmelita Jeter finished third for the bronze. This win earns Felix her first Olympic gold, after she got silver medals in the same race at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
China's Zhang Jike (left) and Wang Hao compete against the South Korea team during the men's team table tennis gold medal match, on August 8. China's team earned the gold with a 3-0 victory. Their win completes China's sweep of all four table tennis titles at the 2012 London Games. China has won 24 of 28 gold medals in table tennis since the sport debuted at the Olympics in 1988.
American beach volleyball duo Misty May-Treanor (left) and Kerri Walsh Jennings hug on the podium after winning the beach volleyball women's final match, on August 8. The win earned the power duo their third straight gold medal in the event. This time, they won their final match against fellow Americans Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, who took silver.
Dominating the Decathlon
U.S. track and field athlete Ashton Eaton competes during the men's decathlon discus throw, on August 9. Decathlon athletes compete for points in 10 events over two days. In the end, Eaton earned 8,869 points for the gold medal. Fellow American Trey Hardee earned 8,671 points for the silver. Cuba's Leonel Suarez won the bronze.
U.S. women's water polo team member Maggie Steffens shoots and scores a goal in the finals match against Spain, on August 9. Steffens scored five of the eight winning goals for the U.S. team, which earned its first ever Olympic gold medal in the event. The Spanish team took silver, while Australia defeated Hungary for the bronze medal.
Japan's Azusa Iwashimizu (in red) attempts to make a goal against Team U.S.A. and its goalie Hope Solo (in green) in the women's soccer gold medal match, on August 9. The match was played in London's Wembley Stadium in front of a crowd of 80,203 spectators—an Olympic attendance record. The highly anticipated game between Team U.S.A. and Japan was a rematch of last year's World Cup final, won by Japan. This time, the U.S. team came out on top in a 2-1 victory for the Olympic gold medal.
U.S. freestyle wrestler Jordan Burroughs celebrates winning gold in the men's 163-pound freestyle wrestling event, on August 10. He won his final match against Iran's Sadegh Goudarzi, using his signature move, double leg takedowns. The win marked Burroughs’s 38th straight international freestyle win. Goudarzi earned a silver medal.
BMX in Flight
Maris Strombergs of Latvia, a small country in the Baltic region of Europe, leads the competition during a BMX cycling men's final run, on August 10. Strombergs finished first in the event, earning his second straight gold medal in the sport that made its Olympics debut in 2008. Australia's Sam Willoughby finished second for the silver medal, and Colombia's Carlos Mario Oquendo Zabala earned bronze.
Mexico's men's soccer team poses with their gold medals during the podium ceremony after winning the final match against Brazil (score 2-1), on August 11. With Brazil the favorite to win, Mexico scored its first goal just 29 seconds into the game, the fastest Olympic goal in 36 years. The team went on to take home Mexico's first Olympic gold in men's football. Brazil earned the silver medal. South Korea defeated Japan for the bronze.
U.S. women's basketball team members pose with their gold medals on the court after winning the final game against France, on August 11. The win, by a score of 86-50, earned the U.S. team its fifth straight gold medal in Olympics basketball. Player Diana Taurasi has been a part of the last three Olympic wins. "It just shows the depth and talent in our country," Taurasi told reporters. "It's our sport." France got the silver medal. Australia defeated Russia for the bronze medal.
U.S. basketball star Kobe Bryant jumps to score for Team U.S.A. during the men's gold medal game, on August 12. The U.S. team defeated Spain in a close game by a score of 107-100, taking home their second straight Olympic gold medal. With the win, Miami Heat player LeBron James—who scored 19 points—became the second player after Michael Jordan to win the NBA title, regular-season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and Olympic gold all in the same year.
Ballerina Darcey Bussell from London's Royal Ballet is strapped into a phoenix and lowered next to the Olympic flame inside Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Games, on August 12. Soon after, the flame was put out, marking the official conclusion to the games. The 2016 Summer Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.