2012 Olympics | July 27 - August 12
Posted: Tuesday August 14, 2012 11:29AM ; Updated: Tuesday August 14, 2012 11:31AM

Fifty thoughts from London 2012

Story Highlights

The London Olympics have concluded, but 50 thoughts stayed with our writers

Alex Wolff: London deserves top marks in about every category except for tickets

Also: LeBron James' leverage in Rio; best horse names; genteel hecklers, more

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Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps (top) told Missy Franklin it takes until your third Games to really 'master it.'
Heinz Kluetmeier/SI

LONDON -- The 2012 Games gave us plenty to write about, but here are fifty thoughts that stuck with our writers even after the Olympic flame was extinguished:

• London deserves top marks in just about every category for these Games. The one exception -- and it's as much the IOC's as LOCOG's fault -- was ticketing. From chaos to corruption to confusion to swaths of empty seats, it was a rolling shambles. Fortunately, Jacques Rogge promises a full review. -- Alex Wolff

• London's hangover will be a big one. The economy is at a standstill, and the underlying tensions that sparked the riots across the city a year ago remain. The buses to Olympic Park would pass the same hijacked billboard every day, and the message on it lingered long after you passed by. "Sorry!" it said. "The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock." -- S.L. Price

• Here was an eye-catching stat that stood out from the many releases blasted out by the USOC during the Olympics: The 2012 U.S. Olympic Team featured 100 athletes who speak one or more foreign languages. Was this a U.S. Olympic record? I have no idea, but the list went across sports (men's volleyball player Donald Suxho speaks Albanian), levels of fame (Kobe Bryant, Italian and Lolo Jones, Spanish) and age (16-year-old table tennis player Ariel Hsing speaks Chinese while 53-year-old equestrian Jan Ebeling speaks German). Kind of inspires a reporter to start studying Portuguese for Rio 2016. -- Richard Deitsch

• Offering advice to Olympic rookie Missy Franklin about how to juggle multiple events at one Games, Michael Phelps, a four-time Olympian, told her, "The first one you learn a lot, the second one you slightly master it. The third one you really master it." -- Kelli Anderson

• Kenyan 800-meter runner David Rudisha, who set the world record in the event at the Games, wasn't born, he was manufactured in an 800-meter-runner factory somewhere. He is more sublimely suited to his sport (and event) than any other athlete I've ever seen in any other sport. (Second place: Mike Tyson boxing at age 18). -- Tim Layden

• Gymnasts are famously tiny, but China's Deng Linlin makes her competitors look like NBA players. Deng, 20, is listed -- generously, in my opinion -- at 4-foot-8 and 79 pounds. If she were any tinier, she'd have to take car rides in a child safety seat. -- Phil Taylor

• The best horse names at the Olympics: In the category of celebrity inspired, there was Coolio, D'Niro and Chill Z. There was a Pastor and a Parish; a Gangster and Desperados. There was a Sultan and two Royals (Royal Power and Royal Vinckenburg). For the lush, there was Donnperignon, Gin & Juice and Martini. Bullwinkle, but no Rocky. There was Hello Sailor and Hello Sanctos, both British horses, and Butts Abraxxas and Butts Leon, which hailed from different countries but are related, no doubt. The horse London (jumping for the Netherlands) won two silvers, but the Brits won the week with three golds. -- Sarah Kwak

• Falling behind the relentlessly dramatic USA women's soccer team -- at least in terms of renown -- the U.S. women's basketball team is becoming almost too good for its own good. -- Michael Farber

• The country that gave us hooligans also gives us the genteel heckler. Consider the man at the men's singles final at the All England Club who interrupted play when he yelled out: "We feel strongly about you, Andy!" He no doubt felt even stronger when Andy Murray upset Roger Federer to win another gold for Team GeeBee. -- Jon Wertheim

• It would be remiss not to note the last man to finish the marathon. Lesotho's Tsepo Ramonene crossed the finish line 47 minutes, 53 seconds after Ugandan gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich. Ramonene was the slowest marathon finisher since 2000. -- Nick Zaccardi

• As the NBA pursues an age limit for the Olympics in order to promote the World Cup, an ultimate card may be played by James: If he were to not participate in protest over the ceiling on older (more expensive) players, then he could set off a boycott by many of the biggest stars because so many of them are close friends. -- Ian Thomsen

• By winning a gold medal, U.S. forward Abby Wambach helped her cause in the race with Canada's Christine Sinclair to overtake Mia Hamm's all-time international goals record (158). Wambach and Sinclair are both at 143, but by winning the gold medal the U.S. earned a 10-game "Victory Tour" in the U.S. that includes six more games than the team would have had with a silver medal. The opponents won't exactly be a murderer's row, but Wambach's goals will still count all the same. Long story short: She has an outside chance of breaking Hamm's record this year. -- Grant Wahl

• After sealing a gold medal for Team USA, 18-year-old gymnast Aly Raisman excitedly texted me that both Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber had mentioned her in tweets. -- Sarah Kwak

• You want a BBC sportscaster who would be a star in the States? Gabby Logan, who hosted one of the late-night Olympic wrapup shows would be the one. She deftly guided a wide array of guests, including John McEnroe, Michael Johnson, some of the newly minted medal winners from Great Britain and some former medalists who are now senior citizens, and seemed comfortable with them all. She knew her Olympic sports inside and out and showed a sly sense of humor. And yes, she's quite pleasing to look at. Very, very smooth. -- Phil Taylor

• BBC, the most respected electronic news gathering organization in the world, was utterly embarrassing in its coverage of the Games, revealing itself to be such blatant homers that late Boston Celtics announcer Johnny Most would have blushed. The Beeb play-by-play folks rooted openly for the home side -- the cycling and rowing coverage might have been the worst -- and post-race mixed-zone interviews with GB athletes were cloying. This worldly, dispassionate organization played it straight Podunk. -- Michael Farber

• We got through the London Olympics without a terrorist attack, but not without an explosion: A gas cannister, used by the barbecue at Kiwi House caught fire and forced the evacuation and brief closure of the hospitality headquarters of the New Zealand Olympic team near St. Pancras Station. -- Alex Wolff

• If Usain Bolt keeps racing, it's for the money. And track and field needs him to keep racing. -- Tim Layden

• Serena Williams is in her 30s now, a full dozen years removed from winning her first Major title. So you can hardly call her a breakout star of these Olympics. But her performance surely ranked among the most dominant in both tennis and Olympic history. In six singles matches, she lost only 17 games, her opponents -- including the three most recent No. 1 ranked players -- resisting her the way the grass underfoot resisted a lawnmower. And she teamed with her sister to take a gold in doubles. -- Jon Wertheim

• Much of the talk at the pool was about the so-called Phelps effect, the impact Michael Phelps has had on young swimmers around the globe. But Missy Franklin has already started her own ripple effect. Sitting behind Franklin's parents, Dick and DA, on the first night of the meet was a British woman who introduced herself after she heard Dick yelling "Missy!" and told them Missy was who motivated her daughters, 12 and 14, to swim. -- Kelli Anderson

 
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