CLEVELAND - The Olympics have come to a close, captivating the world with compelling, inspiring and some humorous moments. Here are 30 of the most memorable from the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London.
1. Phelps becomes most decorated Olympian
At Beijing, Michael Phelps won the most medals in a single Olympics. In London, he cemented his legacy among the greatest of all-time. Anchoring the 4x200 relay, Phelps earned his record-setting 19th medal, more than any other Olympian. Phelps says he's retiring, finishing his career with 22 medals, 18 of them gold.
2. Lightning strikes twice for Bolt
Call him cocky but the fastest man on earth has every right to be. Bolt made it look easy, becoming the first man to sweep the 100m and 200m at two straight Olympics. The buzz Bolt generates and speed he runs with are astounding. His achievements in London may earn him the title of greatest sprinter in history.
3. Gabby gets gold
Following in the footsteps of Americans Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin, American Gabby Douglas earned the title of best all-around gymnast at the London games. Douglas, nicknamed 'the flying squirrel,' finished a near-flawless night with her infectious floor routine. She is the first African-American gymnast to win all-around gold.
4. Pistorius and James exemplify Olympic spirit
Double amputee Oscar Pistorius and eventual gold medal winner Kirani James both competed in the men's 400m. The two were in the same semifinal, where James finished first and Pistorius last. Though on opposite ends of the spectrum, James showed the utmost class, exchanging name bibs with the inspiring Pistorius.
5. Maroney vaults 'Fab Five' to gold
The defining moment of 1996's 'Magnificent Seven' was a vault. It may too be for the 'Fab Five.' While Kerri Strug's vault was unforgettable for its adversity, Maroney's stands out for its sheer perfection. Maroney left one judge's jaw dropped with what commentators called a "state-of-the-art" vault. It kicked off a near-perfect night for the American women on their way to the first U.S. gymnastics team gold since Atlanta.
6. Morgan's header ousts Canada
Abby Wambach has become known for her game-changing headers. But this time it was young American Alex Morgan who headed the ball into the goal in the 123rd minute to defeat Canada 4-3 in a classic semifinal match.
7. Boudia's dramatic dive
It came down to three men separated by hundredths of a point for gold in the final dive of the men's 10m platform. American David Boudia finished 18th in prelims, earning the final spot into the semifinals. From last to qualify to top of the podium, Boudia became the first American male to win platform gold since Greg Louganis, upsetting Chinese Qui Bo and British Tom Daley by the slimmest of margins.
8. Misty and Kerri three-peat on the beach
For the third consecutive Olympics, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings were the class of the women's beach volleyball field. In Misty's final match, the pair knocked off fellow Americans Jen Kessy and April Ross to earn gold. In their Olympic career, May and Walsh never lost a match and dropped just one set.
9. Badminton misconduct
Badminton is not typically a top Olympic news story. This time it was but for the wrong reasons, as four pairs from China, Indonesia and South Korea were disqualified after throwing matches. Their reason? To try to secure a better draw in later rounds.
10. U.S. women set 4x100 records on track & in pool
Schmitt, Franklin, Soni, Vollmer. Madison, Felix, Knight, Jeter. American women blew the competition out of the water and off the track with their speed in the relays.
11. Team USA obliterates Nigeria in 83-point win
It was arguably the greatest performance in Olympic basketball history, as the U.S. set records for most points scored (156) and largest margin of victory (83) in a complete domination of Nigeria.
12. Missy's double dip
Time wasn't necessarily on the side of 17-year-old Missy Franklin in her quest for her first gold medal. Franklin had less than 15 minutes between her 200-meter freestyle semifinal and 100-meter backstroke final. She wasn't fazed, breaking her own American record for the gold.
13. Murray avenges Wimbledon loss
Two weeks after getting emotional on centre court, it was a different experience for Andy Murray at the All-England Club at the Olympics. Again facing Roger Federer, the man who beat him in the Wimbledon final, Murray got revenge winning gold in front of his home country.
14. Gold and grill
Ryan Lochte wasn't happy just wearing gold on the podium. Even though the IOC told him no, Lochte put in his red, white and blue diamond-encrusted grill to celebrate. Why? I'm not sure any of us can answer that one.
15. Jessica Ennis' roaring heptathlon win
In front of the home crowd, Jessica Ennis triumphantly crossed the line for heptathlon gold. They sure let her know their excitement and pride with their booming volume.
16. Crowd urges Farah to distance double