The Sports Mole Team's Olympic highlights

The Sports Mole Team's Olympic highlights
© PA Photos
The Sports Mole team pick out their favourite moments from the London 2012 Games.

204 countries, more than 10,500 athletes, 964 medals and 17 days of incredible human triumph.

It's hard to believe it's almost over but tonight the curtain closes on the 2012 Games, capping a fortnight of epic achievements and indelible memories.

Here, the Sports Mole team pick out their highlights of London 2012.


Neil Wilkes
Neil Wilkes, Editor
The Opening Ceremony

Trying to choose a favourite moment from the greatest sporting fortnight in recent history is the kind of dilemma not even Meryl Streep could handle. The GB gold rush, the incredible Usain Bolt, Tom Daley's emotional victory, Michael Phelps's amazing achievements, Andy Murray's long-awaited triumph, Hoy and Wiggins, Victoria Pendleton's heartfelt goodbye, Team GB in the men's football, the Mobot... it's all too much. So for my favourite moment I'm going to rewind to where it all began, the Opening Ceremony, memories of which should have new poignancy after two weeks of incredible triumphs.

In a Jubilee year that has Great Britain written all over it, Danny Boyle's lavish and sometimes-campy (hello Queenie!) display illuminated the "great", unleashing relentless waves of feverous pride across the nation. But it was the climax of Boyle's industrial revolution that lodged the largest lump in the throat. Formed by a smelting process of pig iron and slag (look it up), five giant illuminated rings majestically rose and arranged themselves together above the Olympic Stadium, symbolising the unity the Games brings to all corners of the globe.

Top that, Rio.


The Real Jack Prescott
Jack Prescott, Olympic Tennis Reporter
Murray defeats Federer for Olympic gold

It may have been because I covered a billion hours' worth of tennis during the course of the Games, but my defining moment of London 2012 was Andy Murray's historic win in the men's singles at Wimbledon. The manchild from Dunblane became the first British winner in the event since 1908 after he dismantled the great Roger Federer in the final on a highly-charged Centre Court.

I had expected myself to be disappointed over Federer's failure to win the coveted Career Golden Slam with what would surely be his last chance, but this was the London Olympics and the red, white and blue of Team GB was now racing through my system at an alarming rate. When Murray whacked home match point I got out of my seat, laughing. He'd done it and I never saw it coming.


Liam Apicella
Liam Apicella, Olympic Athletics Reporter
Team GB's Olympics gold rush

Great Britain are not famed for winning medals in track and field events at an Olympic Games, which makes Saturday, August 4 easily the most memorable day of the London Olympics for me. Granted, we all had a feeling that Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah would do the business, but to see Greg Rutherford claim the gold medal in the men's long jump was outstanding. I think it was three golds in the space of 45 minutes! Easily the best night in British athletics ever!


Matt Law
Matt Law, Olympic Football Reporter
USA defeat Canada in the women's football semi-finals

It would probably be fair to state that women's football as a whole has taken a lot of stick in recent years - but this summer it provided one of the most exciting football matches of all time. Not even a hat-trick from Canadian striker Christine Sinclair - to make it 143 goals for her country - could claim the victory. It had everything you would want from a football match - rivalry, passion, goals, tackles, goal-mouth incidents. It was just a wonderful advert for women's football, and the Olympics as a whole.


Pascal Lemesre
Pascal Lemesre, Olympic Tennis and Athletics Reporter
Bradley Wiggins atop the podium at Hampton Court Palace

We've all been informed of Bradley Wiggins's historic achievements in arguably the most gruelling of sports - road cycling - but it's the way he does it which I love. He became the first man to win the Tour de France and Olympic gold in the same year but he doesn't do it how you'd expect. After the TdF victory he stood in the global eye on the Champs-Élysées and said: "Ok, it's time for the raffle." It was a lighthearted moment we didn't expect that would have confused the cultured Parisians and he continued this irregularly wonderful persona in London. Standing in front of his adoring crowd at Hampton Court, Wiggins physically conducted the chants of "Wiggo, Wiggo, Wiggo" in a manner only he could. The tears of Hoy et al are joyful just the same but characters like 'Wiggo' are in short supply these days and we should appreciate that.


Danielle Joynson
Danielle Joynson, Reporter
Team GB's Olympics gold rush

It's so difficult to pick one moment, so instead I'll opt for a whole evening! It's probably an obvious choice but 'Super Saturday' was arguably one of the standout moments of the Olympics. Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford clinching gold medals within 44 minutes was just incredible. It really set off GB's gold rush and was a great start to the Games.


Mark Langshaw
Mark Langshaw, Olympic Aquatics Reporter
Sir Chris Hoy's keirin gold

For me the highlight of London 2012 has to be Sir Chris Hoy's gold medal in the keirin. There was nobody more deserving of the accolade than Britain's most decorated Olympian, and the tenacity he showed during his victory summed up what representing your country in a major tournament is all about. What better possible way for one of the greatest athletes of our generation to bow out?


Michael Penkman
Michael Penkman, Olympic Boxing Reporter
Record-breaking GB win team pursuit

I think my favourite moment of the Games was the men's team pursuit team smashing the Americans' (and the world) record in the final. The atmosphere inside the Velodrome seemed electric every day due mainly to our resounding success. We were tearing it up in there. There was an inevitability every time our cyclists took to the track, which was a surreal feeling as a British person, who is more used to heroic/abject failure and underdog status. We are the dominant force in the sport at the moment. Watching the team pursuit team step up to the mark in a final, expecting them to win, and them actually doing it was amazing.


The Real Barney Corkhill
Barney Corkhill, Reporter
Mo Farah's 10,000m gold

There have been so many great moments to choose from. The opening ceremony was spectacular, then Ennis, Murray, Hoy, Wiggins, Trott, Bolt and Phelps all helped to make it the best Games that I have ever seen. However, my favourite moment is one that I suspect will be a popular one - Mo Farah's 10,000m win. His 5,000m win was spectacular too, but Saturday, August 4 was one of the greatest nights of sport I have ever witnessed, and Farah was responsible for capping it off. Ennis and Rutherford deserve credit for their part in that great night too, but Farah's performance just outdoes them for me.


Joseph 'Joe' Fish
Joe Fish, Olympic Football Reporter
Mo Farah winning the 5,000m

I know this is going to be a popular choice, but Mo Farah ran himself into the history books. There was no point during the entire Games at which I was more excited, no point at which I was more nervous, no point at which I was willing an athlete to win more than when he entered that last 150m. If ever the crowd cheered somebody to victory, it was down that final stretch - he looked completely exhausted, broken even, and still managed to cross the line ahead of a stellar field of athletes. Double Olympic champion, at his home Games, Farah has well and truly ended the African distance-running dominance. Honourable mentions go to the thrilling USA 4-3 Canada women's football semi-final, and One Direction performing at the closing ceremony.


Darren Plant, Reporter
Andy Murray defeats Roger Federer

Andy Murray beating Roger Federer in the Olympic tennis final was worth more than just winning a tennis match. It was a masterclass in how to beat the greatest player ever on his favourite surface. It was the monkey, no, gorilla off his back that proved he could perform in a major five-set match. And it was a display that made huge headway into improving the public's perception of one of Great Britain's hardest-working sportsmen.


Matt Domm, Reporter
Katherine Grainger's last hurrah

The Olympics is about discovering new world-beaters but, equally, it is about athletes working for years to give everything for one last shot at gold. Rower Katherine Grainger had won silver at the previous three Games and at 36 this was her last shot. The setting was perfect - a roaring crowd at her home Olympics. As she destroyed the field with Anna Watkins in the final everyone watching shared her victory, she had finally done it. This was not just a gold medal, this was a class act giving her life's work for that single moment on top of the podium. Was there a more deserved gold medal?


Liam Power
Liam Power, Reporter
Mo Farah secures double gold

Hardly going out a limb here, but Mo Farah becoming double Olympic champion takes some beating. The way he managed to regain his composure after winning the 10,000m to dominate a world-class field with a measured, mature performance for the second time in a week was just superb. Perhaps for one night only Usain Bolt had to play second fiddle on the track. The Jamaican bowing down to Farah's brilliance and joining the world in rocking the 'Mo-bot' made for a special memory. All hail Mo Farah, the new king of Saturday night TV!


Paul Gorst, Reporter
The men's 100 metres

Perhaps I won't score points for most original idea here, but the sight of seven men running sub 10.00 in the 100m final was an amazing advertisement for the continued endeavour of the human race, led of course, by the peerless Usain Bolt. Had it not been for the unfortunate Asafa Powell and his pulled hamstring, the final would have been the first time in history that every competitor had run one hundred metres in less than 10 seconds. Heartbreakingly, for the Jamaican, it wasn't to be, but it was still a final that will resonate through the ages. On the same day that saw Nasa's 'Curiosity' robot land on Mars, Bolt and co reminded us all that there are still some achievements here on planet Earth that we can marvel at.


Nik Simon
Nik Simon, Reporter
David Rudisha sets world record in 800m

Kenya's David Rudisha lit up the Usain Bolt show with what has been dubbed the greatest 800m race of all time. Rudisha, victorious in 44 out 45 of his previous races, ran a world record time of 40.91sec. The race was ran at such a pace that the silver medallist was carried off on a stretcher and Britain's Andrew Osagie, who finished eighth, ran a time which would have won gold at the two previous Olympics.


Subhankar Mondal
Subhankar Mondal, Reporter
Swimming gold for 15-year-old Ruta Meilutyte

Lithuanian teenager Ruta Meilutyte winning the 100m breaststroke final in swimming is my favourite moment of the London Olympics. It is indeed a marvellous feat for a 15-year-old to win an Olympic gold, and she did it in style too. Not concerned by the false start from Breeja Larson, she held off the challenge of Rebecca Soni to claim gold. You could sense it on Meilutyte's face right after the race that she was shocked that she came first and could not speak during the interview that followed immediately after. That moment encapsulated the unassuming, unalloyed joy that sport strives to bring.


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