2012 Summer Olympics

Facts

Competition type Olympic Games
Host city (Venues)
Opening ceremony 27 July
Closing ceremony 12 August
Competition dates 25 July – 12 August
OCOG London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
Participants 10517 from 205 countries
Medal events 302 in 39 disciplines

Overview

London hosted the Olympic Games for the third time in 2012, but neither of the previous could be considered normal host efforts. In 1908 the Games were originally awarded to Rome, which relinquished the responsibility in 1906 because of government funding problems, then exacerbated by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Thus, the London 1908 organizers had only 2 years to put on the Games but they did well, hosting the first truly modern Olympic Games. In 1948 London was chosen as host city despite recovering from World War II, its streets and buildings bombed out, and its citizens still on rations, of food and other essentials. They have been called the Austerity Olympics, but again London did their job and did it well.

One would not expect anything less for London 2012. The city won the bid in a closely fought contest against Paris, but only the day after the bid, suicide bombers struck the London Underground, killing 52 passengers, as well as the cowardly terrorists. It raised fears of security problems in the world’s most metropolitan city, and a huge one to protect at best. But after that initial attack, London was safe from 2005 through the Games and there were no major problems during the Olympics, although pre-Games publicity focused on the G4S, the security agency that was hired to assist during the Olympics. They had not hired enough staff and the British Government and police forces were forced to step in and requisition more troops to assist with security. In the end there was no problem.

The Games opened at night with a wondrous Opening Ceremony, highlighted by Queen Elizabeth II seemingly parachuting out of a helicopter accompanied by James Bond, and Mr. Bean running at St. Andrews to the accompaniment of the “Chariots of Fire” theme. One innovation at the Opening Ceremony was that the coach’s representative declared an oath for the first time, this done by canoeing coach Eric Farrell. Paul McCartney ended the ceremony with “Hey Jude”, and London was ready to revel.

And revel it did. The London Olympics were a magnificent embodiment of the British people, who embraced London 2012 as the organizers, LOCOG, put on a wondrous show. The British weather co-operated as well. London had had the rainiest, coldest spring and early summer in recent memory, but for two weeks, the sun came out, with rare exceptions, such as the women’s cycling road race, and Britain basked in warm Mediterranean-like weather on the final few days of the Games.

London’s venues were spread around the large city, and even the country, with football matches at Old Trafford in Manchester and even in Scotland and Wales, with some held in Glasgow and Cardiff. Many of the venues were centered in the Olympic Park, a concept that had begun with Sydney. Huge crowds flocked daily to the Park, basking in the Olympic experience. For those unable to get tickets to the events, they could sit on the grass on the banks of the River Lea and watch many of them on a huge-screen television.

The venues themselves won praise as they assisted the athletes in their assault on the record books. Multiple world records were set at the velodrome, led by the British track cyclists. The athletics stadium track was considered very fast and even saw three world records, rare anymore at the Olympics, as David Rudisha became the first man to better 1:41 for the 800 metres, Jamaica broke its own record for the 4×100 relay, and the US women’s 4×100 relay team eliminated the second oldest women’s mark on the books, the world record set back in 1985 by a GDR team. At the aquatics stadium, the fast pool led to several world records that had seemed inviolate once the sport had banned the fast skinsuits that grew popular in 2008, and returned to textile suits.

In that pool Michael Phelps was back to assault the record for most Olympic medals won. He succeeded, winning six medals to bring his Olympic career total to 22 medals and 18 golds, although he was less dominant than he had been in Beijing. Usain Bolt was also back, and won the 100-200-4×100 relay sprint triple again, although this time setting only one world record, that in the relay, anchoring for his Jamaican team. But even he was overshadowed at the athletics stadium by a wondrous mid-Games Saturday night and British distance runner Mo Farah.

The night started with Jessica Ennis, the darling of the British media leading up to the Games, finishing her 800 metres to win the women’s heptathlon. The roar from the British fans then increased and reverberated as Britain’s Greg Rutherford scored an upset victory in the men’s long jump. A few minutes later, the crowd grew even louder in the men’s 10,000 metres when Farah won that gold medal, Britain reaching gold three times within an hour, as the sound within Olympic Stadium could be heard at other venues within the Park, and probably even at Old Trafford. One week later, on the final night of athletics competition, Farah came back to complete the 5-10K double, a fitting ending on another Saturday to the cheers of his adoring countrymen.

On the sports fields, the biggest controversy came in badminton – who woulda thunk it? In the final matches of women’s doubles round-robin play, Chinese, Korean, and Indonesian pairs, already qualified to advance, engaged in a charade to throw their matches to gain a better draw in the knock-out rounds. Making no pretence of trying to win, the crowd booed and the officials spoke to them, imploring them to make their best efforts, to no avail. The next day, the officials reacted decisively, disqualifying all eight players and four teams, and advancing four other teams to the single-elimination tournament.

Were there any other problems with London 2012? Precious few, but the major complaint was about the Olympic Torch, or lack of it. It was lit within the stadium infield at the Opening Ceremony, and was moved to a corner of the stadium, thus it was not visible to spectators who have come to look at the Torch as the symbol of the Olympic Games. The Organizing Committee caved a little bit and took to showing a video of the Torch burning on the screens around the stadium, but this was a faux pas.

On the final night, London 2012 closed in the Olympic Stadium with a Symphony of British music, as George Michael, Annie Lennox, The Who, and the Spice Girls, among many others, entertained. And though Sir Paul was not there, John Lennon was shown on the stadium screen singing “Imagine”, ending the Magical Mystery Tour that had been the London Olympic fortnite.

Bid process

The host city for the Games of the XXXth Olympiad was chosen at the 117th IOC Session on 6 July 2005. The original nine candidate cities were Havana, Cuba; Istanbul, Turkey; Leipzig, Germany; London; Great Britain; Madrid, Spain; Moscow, Russia; New York, New York, USA; Paris, France; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazíl. Four cities were eliminated and the five remaining cities advancing to the final vote were London, Madrid, Moscow, New York, and Paris. London was selected as the host city on the 4th round of voting over Paris, 54-50.

Bid voting at the 117th IOC Session in Singapore on 6 July 2005. Because of the number of candidate cities, an Evaluation Commission of the IOC was nominated whose task was to pare the number of candidates down to a more workable five prior to the final vote. There were four eliminated cities: Havana (Cuba), Istanbul (Turkey), Leipzig (Germany) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
London Great Britain 22 32 39 54
Paris France 21 27 33 50
Madrid Spain 20 25 31
New York, New York United States 19 16
Moscow Russia 15

Ceremonies

Officially opened by Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom (Queen)
Torchbearer(s) Steven Redgrave, Callum Airlie (Lit flame), Jordan Duckitt (Lit flame), Desiree Henry (Lit flame), Cameron MacRitchie (Lit flame), Aidan Reynolds (Lit flame), Adelle Tracey (Lit flame), Katie Kirk (Lit flame)
Taker of the Athlete's Oath Sarah Stevenson
Taker of the Official's Oath Mik Basi (Boxing)
Taker of the Coach's Oath Eric Farrell (Canoe Sprint)
Flagbearers Full list
Olympic Flag Bearers Haile Gebrselassie, Cassius Clay, Ban Ki-Moon, Doreen Lawrence, Sally Becker, Shami Chakrabarti, Daniel Barenboim, Marina Silva, Leymah Gbowee

Medal Disciplines

Archery Cycling Track Rowing
Artistic Gymnastics Diving Sailing
Artistic Swimming Equestrian Dressage Shooting
Athletics Equestrian Eventing Swimming
Badminton Equestrian Jumping Table Tennis
Basketball Fencing Taekwondo
Beach Volleyball Football Tennis
Boxing Handball Trampolining
Canoe Slalom Hockey Triathlon
Canoe Sprint Judo Volleyball
Cycling BMX Racing Marathon Swimming Water Polo
Cycling Mountain Bike Modern Pentathlon Weightlifting
Cycling Road Rhythmic Gymnastics Wrestling

Medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 46 28 30 104
People's Republic of China CHN 38 31 22 91
Great Britain GBR 29 17 19 65
Russian Federation RUS 20 19 28 67
Republic of Korea KOR 13 9 8 30
Germany GER 11 20 13 44
France FRA 11 11 13 35
Australia AUS 8 15 12 35
Italy ITA 8 9 11 28
Hungary HUN 8 4 6 18
Japan JPN 7 14 17 38
Netherlands NED 6 6 8 20
Islamic Republic of Iran IRI 6 6 1 13
New Zealand NZL 6 2 5 13
Ukraine UKR 5 4 10 19
Cuba CUB 5 3 7 15
Spain ESP 4 10 4 18
Jamaica JAM 4 5 3 12
Czech Republic CZE 4 3 4 11
South Africa RSA 4 1 1 6
Democratic People's Republic of Korea PRK 4 0 2 6
Brazil BRA 3 5 9 17
Ethiopia ETH 3 2 2 7
Kazakhstan KAZ 3 1 7 11
Poland POL 3 1 7 11
Croatia CRO 3 1 2 6
Canada CAN 2 5 11 18
Belarus BLR 2 5 3 10
Romania ROU 2 5 2 9
Kenya KEN 2 4 7 13
Denmark DEN 2 4 3 9
Azerbaijan AZE 2 2 6 10
Switzerland SUI 2 2 0 4
Norway NOR 2 1 1 4
Lithuania LTU 2 0 3 5
Tunisia TUN 2 0 1 3
Sweden SWE 1 4 3 8
Colombia COL 1 3 4 8
Mexico MEX 1 3 4 8
Georgia GEO 1 2 3 6
Ireland IRL 1 1 4 6
Argentina ARG 1 1 2 4
Serbia SRB 1 1 2 4
Slovenia SLO 1 1 2 4
Trinidad and Tobago TTO 1 1 2 4
Turkey TUR 1 1 1 3
Dominican Republic DOM 1 1 0 2
Chinese Taipei TPE 1 0 1 2
Latvia LAT 1 0 1 2
Algeria ALG 1 0 0 1
Bahrain BRN 1 0 0 1
Grenada GRN 1 0 0 1
The Bahamas BAH 1 0 0 1
Uganda UGA 1 0 0 1
Venezuela VEN 1 0 0 1
Egypt EGY 0 3 1 4
India IND 0 2 4 6
Mongolia MGL 0 2 3 5
Thailand THA 0 2 2 4
Bulgaria BUL 0 2 1 3
Finland FIN 0 2 1 3
Indonesia INA 0 2 1 3
Slovakia SVK 0 1 3 4
Belgium BEL 0 1 2 3
Armenia ARM 0 1 1 2
Estonia EST 0 1 1 2
Malaysia MAS 0 1 1 2
Puerto Rico PUR 0 1 1 2
Botswana BOT 0 1 0 1
Cyprus CYP 0 1 0 1
Gabon GAB 0 1 0 1
Guatemala GUA 0 1 0 1
Montenegro MNE 0 1 0 1
Portugal POR 0 1 0 1
Greece GRE 0 0 2 2
Qatar QAT 0 0 2 2
Singapore SGP 0 0 2 2
Uzbekistan UZB 0 0 2 2
Afghanistan AFG 0 0 1 1
Cameroon CMR 0 0 1 1
Hong Kong, China HKG 0 0 1 1
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia KSA 0 0 1 1
Kuwait KUW 0 0 1 1
Morocco MAR 0 0 1 1
Tajikistan TJK 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Michael Phelps USA 4 2 0 6
Missy Franklin USA 4 0 1 5
Allison Schmitt USA 3 1 1 5
Dana Vollmer USA 3 0 0 3
Allyson Felix USA 3 0 0 3
Usain Bolt JAM 3 0 0 3
Ryan Lochte USA 2 2 1 5
Sun Yang CHN 2 1 1 4
Ranomi Kromowidjojo NED 2 1 0 3
Matt Grevers USA 2 1 0 3
Nathan Adrian USA 2 1 0 3
Rebecca Soni USA 2 1 0 3
Yannick Agnel FRA 2 1 0 3

All medalists at these Games