2012 Summer Games
27 July to 12 August
10,568 athletes (5,992 men and 4,776 women) from 204 countries participating in 302 events.
Of course these Olympics are pretty recent in our own memories but I’ll talk about them to be a completist and compare to the two other London games. Just the basic facts on numbers of athletes and events are in startling contrast to earlier years (not to mention the cost of putting on the games).
The Guardian put together a series of charts and data visualizations to convey different impressions of the 2012 Olympics – here is a particularly interesting article with visualizations on how life in the UK changed from 1908 to 1948 to 2012.
At the 2012 Olympics, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Brunei sent female athletes for the first time. This was the first Olympics to include women’s boxing, meaning that this was the first time each sport included female athletes.
Michael Phelps (in a down year) won 4 gold and 2 silver to earn the most gold medals and overall medals in Olympic history. His number of gold medals was matched by US swimmer Missy Franklin (who also won a bronze). And Usain Bolt won at 100 meters, 200 meters, and the 4×100 relay with his Jamaican teammates for the second Olympics in a row.
Team GB earned 65 total medals, 4th behind the US, China, and Russia. Charlotte Dujardin won two gold in mixed dressage, and Mo Farah won gold at both 5,000 and 10,000 meters, securing his place as one of the winningest athletes in British history. Farah’s 10,000 meter gold came in the same hour as Jessica Ennis won in the heptathlon and Greg Rutherford was victorious in the long jump for Team GB’s most successful Olympic day in 104 years.
Jason Kenny and Laura Trott each won two gold at track cycling, along with Chris Hoy, who won two gold in his final Olympic appearance. Here is a retrospective of Hoy’s 2012 Olympics and his six-gold-medal Olympic career. He was Team GB’s flag bearer for the 2012 games.
Other big names for Team GB included Bradley Wiggins who won gold in the Individual Time Trial after winning the Tour de France a few days earlier; and Andy Murray securing gold at Wimbledon as an Olympic venue the year before he actually won Wimbledon (plus the silver in mixed doubles with Laura Robson).
Ireland had 64 athletes participating in 54 events, with Katie Taylor winning gold in boxing. Here’s video and a recap of Taylor’s 2012 Olympics (she was also Ireland’s flag bearer for the opening ceremonies). Three of Ireland’s other medals were also in boxing, with their other one coming in equestrianism.