Olympics Week 2

Chad W. Lutz
If you blinked, you missed them. What left as suddenly as they came upon us, the XXX Olympiad and Summer Games have concluded. Along the way, we watched champions both triumph and falter, long-fought dreams come to sweet fruition and 10,000 athletes pour their hearts and souls into memorable performances not soon to be forgotten. Now over, takes a look back at the second week of competition to highlight some rather Olympic performances.

Lightning Strikes Twice

Although I realize this is probably the one millionth time this headline has been used in reference to Usain Bolt's 100m and 200m performances, as they say, the millionth time's the charm. Looking to repeat as Men's Olympic champion in both respective events, Usain Bolt unleashed two more memorable performances, edging out fellow countrymen Yohan Blake of Jamaica and Justin Gatlin of the United States in an Olympic record 9.63 in the Men's 100m finals August 5. Bolt missed his own world record set at the World Championships in 2009 by just .05 seconds.

Four days later in the Men's 200m final, Usain Bolt again captured gold for Jamaica in a time of 19.31 seconds. Jamaica completed a sweep of the medals in the Men's 200m with Yohan Blake (19.44) and Warren Weir (19.84) taking silver and bronze. In doing so, Bolt became the first Olympian to complete the double-sweep of the 100m and 200m events.
REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Andy Murray Def. Federer

On a rainy day back in the States, much akin to the type of weather typical of Great Britain, millions watched as the Men's Tennis Finals came down to one final serve. On the heels of a pair of aces, UK's Andy Murray bounced the ball of what would end up being his final serve for a gold medal while staring down opponent Roger Federer, the current No. 1 player in the world. The notion of Roger's rank or the smattering of cheers from the audience just prior to the serve seemed to do very little in the way of detouring the Britain tennis star from his medal. And as the dust cleared after another brilliant serve that found its way to the backstop without so much as a whiff of wind from Federer's racket, a new Olympic champion was crowned, and his name is Andy Murray. The final: Murray over Federer in dominant fashion 6-2 6-1 6-4.
REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
One Nation, In a Pool…

USA Swimming has proven to be one of the most dominant teams, in both Men and Women's competition, for the past three Olympic Games. London served as yet another medal march for the Red, White, and Blue of Team USA, capturing 31 of 105 medals up for grabs in the swimming events.

Adding to his illustrious nature and already sealed fate as one of the greatest Olympians, and athletes, of all-time, Michael Phelps tallied medals 19, 20, 21, and 22 in the second week of the Olympic Games, taking gold in each event. The American also took gold in what may stand as his last professional race ever. Asked of how he feels about his performance in the London Olympics, Phelps simply states, "Everything was accomplished that I wanted to do." Now the 22-time Olympic Medalist will concentrate on retirement as his professional career comes to a close.

The women's team also made headlines the final day of competition. In world record-fashion, Team USA took gold in the 4X100m Medley Relay consisting of Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer, and Allison Schmitt in 3:52:05. Australia and Japan took second and third, respectively.
Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger
Going the Distance

It's no secret that Kenyan, Ethiopia, and many other African countries hold a sort of bogart on distance running greatness. Well, may not sort of; they do. But in the 2012 Olympics, the rest of the countries participating must have missed the memo because Kenya and Ethiopia failed to win gold more than 5X combined, including distance and middle distance events for both men and women. The most surprising of all these were Ugandan marathoner Stephen Kiprotich, Great Britain's Mo Farrah, and Americans Meb Keflezighi and Galen Rupp.

That's not to say, however, that Ethiopia and Kenya didn't get their kicks. Starting things off with gold in the Women's Marathon - winner Tiki Gelana setting an Olympic record - Ethiopia went on to win 7 track & field medals, including 2 other golds. Kenya placed 2nd in the Women's marathon and placed 2nd and 3rd in the Men's marathon. With a gutsy move just inside 23 miles to go, Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda captured gold in the Men's marathon in a time of 2:08:01. Meb Keflezighi, largely counted out of medal contention due to age, placed 4th overall. Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman did not finish the race. When asked about his performance and reason for leaving, the ever-eloquent Ryan Hall stated, "This is just a huge bummer, ya know?" Hall bowed out of the race due to "a little tightness" in his right hamstring. Apparently, he was saving his legs for a bigger race.
Hall addresses media members after bowing out of the 2012 Games (Kimberly Bogin)
In the Men's 10,000m event, Britain's Mo Farrah (27:30:42) captured the gold medal followed closely by Galen Rupp (27:30:90) of the United States and Tariku Bekele (27:31:43) of Ethiopia. In addition to taking the 10,000m for the second straight Olympics, Mo Farrah doubled up and won gold in the Men's 5,000m event, as well, in a time of 13:41:66. Ethiopia and Kenya placed 2, 3 in the 5,000m.

One of the greatest stories to come out of the Track & Field arena was the Men's 800m final on August 9. With Kenya taking gold and bronze, David Lekuta Radisha took 1st place and shattered the beliefs of millions of athletes when he ran an otherworldly 1:40:91. Fellow countrymen Timothy Kitum ran 1:42:53, sandwiching Nigel Amos of Botswana (1:41:73) taking silver. Americans Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds placed 4th and 5th in times of 1:42:82 and 1:42:95, respectively. The Men's 800m final was the first in history to feature five runners under 1:43:00. No one had previously run under a 1:41:00 until Radisha's performance.
So there you have it: some of the best moments of the second week of competition in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Like many of you, I now have to find something else to do each and every night of the week after pining away through channel after channel of Olympic coverage each and every night. I'll miss them, but luckily they come back around every four years (every two if you count the Winter Games). So, until then, Citius, Altius, Foritus. See you in Rio.