Every Olympic Games has its curling…you know, that quirky sport that captures the attention of the world? When we look back on these Olympic Games, will we remember the moments when we watched archers channeling Katniss Everdeen?
Or, will we remember dressage, the equestrian event that captured the hearts of Republicans and Democrats alike, all of whom wanted to know how Ann Romney’s horse would fare in the Olympic arena?
Rafalca and her rider Jan Ebeling didn’t make the medal round, in case you had lost track.
Or, will the darling of these Games be team handball, the favorite obscure Olympic sport of one Mr. Charlie Pierce?
No, it’s not team handball.
The darling of these games might just be Gabby Douglas, winner of the women’s all-around in gymnastics who, when speaking at a press conference on Friday demonstrated that no matter how many medals an athlete wins, there’s always someone who’s won more…unless you’re Michael Phelps.
“It’s quite fun. The swimmers are like, ‘Okay, when you guys are done with competition you can come sit with us,’” Douglas said. “And we’re just in awe, we’re like, ‘Ah, the swimmers invited us to the table.’
Douglas also told those reporters that she was still waiting, and hoping, to meet Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, another darling of these games. Looking back, it can be hard to believe that when the 100 and 200-meter defending champion arrived in London, there were those who said he couldn’t do it again.
“A lot of people doubted me, but in my mind there wasn’t a doubt,” Bolt said. “After the 100 meters I was really confident in myself. I knew I could do it, so it wasn’t a problem.”
An American sprinter… or two … or four will be remembered from these Games as well. How about Carmelita Jeter, who, when she crossed the finish line of the women’s 4×100 meter relay on Friday, had enough energy to point at the clock displaying the U.S. team’s new world record time?
“I knew that right away. I knew that we were moving. I knew that we were running very well. And so I was excited,” Jeter said.
Fellow American Ashton Eaton didn’t break a world record when bringing home gold in the decathalon. But, Eaton, and his teammate Trey Hardee, who took silver, did carry on an American tradition of sorts in the event the US has won more often than not since it was first introduced.
“There’s been a really good history with U.S. Decathletes,” Eaton said. “This is the 100th year anniversary, it started back in 1912 with Jim Thorpe, and Trey and I are just doing are best to carry it on.”
The Olympics have other traditions, too. Maggie Steffens, the 19-year-old goal-scoring phenom of the women’s water polo team, was an first-timer at these Games. But she knew exactly what to do after helping the U.S. win gold.
“Oh, I was like, give me a flag. You know, [you] see it on TV. I wanted to be just like that,” Steffens said.
And what Olympics would be complete without reporters asking the head of the International Olympic Committee, in this case Jacques Rogge, how he thinks the Games are going…and getting a scintillating answer.
“All in all I would say these are really very good games, and I’m a very happy man,” Rogge said.
I suppose that’s more believable than the answer former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch gave after almost every Olympics when he was in charge. He called them all the “best Games ever.”
There are those who will say I’ve missed their favorite Olympic moment, and I’m sure they’d be right. I’m also sure there will still be another highlight or two to come before that cauldron is extinguished Sunday night. But, I will not be able to show my face in this office on Monday morning unless I also offer a nod to another golden moment from London.
On Thursday, a record crowd of 80,203 filed into Wembley stadium to watch the U.S. women’s soccer team beat Japan 2 to 1. It was the American’s third consecutive gold medal and some payback after Japan’s 2011 Women’s World Cup victory.