Not halfway through these Summer Olympics, we’ve seen plenty of history made, records broken, tears of joy and heartbreak, and, of course, controversy. But have we seen the overall defining moment of these Games?
It’s hard to believe there’s another week-plus of competition ahead—and who knows what the rest of the schedule could hold? Lest we forget, these are Team USA’s best moments so far. Maybe, just maybe, one (or more) of them will be what we remember long after the Olympic flame in London is extinguished.
Women’s Gymnastics Captures Team Gold Medal
The Fab Five tumbled, back-flipped and vaulted their way into our hearts on their way to earning gold in team competition. The diminutive phenoms, as expected, ended the drought of top-medal honors that dated back to the 1996 Atlanta Games and the Magnificent Seven—another Olympic-defining moment that pre-dates the entire team.
Gabby Douglas Shines With All-Around Gymnastics Gold Medal
If anything outshone the gold medal-winning performance of the women’s gymnastics team, it had to be Gabby Douglas’ megawatt smile, which only seemed to get bigger and brighter after she won gold in the all-around competition—becoming the first African-American in Olympic history to do so. She’ll soon be lighting up a breakfast table near you, as she’ll grace boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal.
Michael Phelps Earns Most Decorated Olympian Title
As someone who can claim the title of the “greatest swimmer in history,” what record does Michael Phelps not hold? He’s got the all-time record for golds, most golds in individual competition and most golds in the same individual events at consecutive Olympic Games. Now that he’s added most decorated Olympian of all time to his already impressive resume, he says the London Games are his last.
Missy Franklin Gives Aurora, Colorado Reason to Cheer
The much ballyhooed Phelps vs. Lochte showdown may seem to overshadow any other swimming competition, but not where Missy Franklin and Aurora, Colorado are concerned. The teenaged record-setter has won two gold medals so far and—maybe most importantly—given her hometown something to cheer about after a deadly movie theater shooting just a week before the Games began.
Kayla Harrison Wins First-Ever Olympic Gold for U.S. in Judo
Kayla Harrison experienced the lowest point in her life to her highest, all in relation to judo. After being sexually abused by her coach as a young teen, Harrison wanted to give up the sport altogether. But instead she fought back to ultimately stand on top of the world as the best in her sport and make U.S. Olympic history. The emotion of the moment boiled over as she broke down on the medal stand.
Kim Rhode Takes Aim at History—and Makes It
With a near-perfect performance in London, the American double trap and skeet shooter became the first from the United States to medal in five consecutive Olympic Games. By hitting 99 of 100 clays in London, Kim Rhode equaled the world record en route to earning her record-setting medal—a gold in skeet shooting—to add to her collection.
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