Review of the year- Top ten Olympic moments

By Emma Bird.   Last Updated: 18/12/12 2:58pm

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As 2012 draws to a close, never before has there been a more memorable year for sport in Britain or an occasion that lifted the spirits of a nation as the London Olympic Games did.

There were moments of sheer exhilaration and success but also times of great disappointment and sadness. Since 2005 the world knew that London had been given the opportunity of a lifetime; it was only in 2012 that the world saw just how 'Great' Britain could be.

The hordes of enthusiastic volunteers created an atmosphere never before felt in the capital. They were priceless, and without them, the Games could have had quite a different outcome.

With such a wide spectrum of gold medals, scenes of euphoria and numerous records being broken, choosing our top ten has been an Olympic event in itself.

Nevertheless, we have had a shot at it, so here goes with our look back at the most incredible summer of sport Britain has ever witnessed.

The Opening Ceremony

When else would it be socially acceptable to have a scene in which the Queen made an appearance with a James Bond star, NHS nurses danced around hospital beds and David Beckham led the way for the Olympic torch on a speedboat?

Danny Boyle's "Isles of Wonder" showpiece encased all of the above and so much more for the July 27th ceremony which kick-started the most wonderful summer of sport.

With so much speculation surrounding who would light the Olympic flame, the honour in the end fell to seven young athletes who followed Sir Steve Redgrave's procession with the torch on its final leg of the relay into the Olympic Stadium.

There then came more singing, dancing, acting, speeches and, of course, fireworks. Yet most significantly, there came pride. It was evident from the very first night of the 30th Olympiad that the London Games were going to be something rather special.

Super Saturday

It was the 4th August, 2012. A Saturday. But not just any old Saturday- this one was to be known as 'Super Saturday'.

Never before has so much glory affected so many people across the nation in such a short space of time.

First up it was the British rowers at Eton Dorney, with the men's coxless four team and women's lightweight double sculls taking the gold medals. Little did they, or anyone else know, that this was to be the start of something extraordinary.

The velodrome then lit up as the women's team pursuit riders, Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell, secured a stunning victory at world record speed.

Already looking a pretty impressive day for Team GB, it was only going to get better as the British athletes took the track and field events by storm inside the Olympic Stadium.

Jessica Ennis hurdled, ran and threw her way to Olympic gold, Greg Rutherford jumped to reach the top of the podium and Mo Farah ran his heart out to see that medal around his neck- all within 45 minutes of one another.

Britain's finest Olympic day in a century was one that will live long in the memory without a doubt.

Team GB's First Gold

It was a moment that the country had been waiting for. After a tense four-day wait, rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover won the coxless pairs event at Eton Dorney - Great Britain's first gold medal of the London Olympics.

The incredible performance, brimming with determination and utter strength, saw the duo create history as they became the first British female rowers to win an Olympic title.

The moment not only highlighted the talent and skill of the two rowers and their support teams but it also provided a huge sigh of relief up and down the British Isles as Team GB were finally on their way to what was, ultimately, a gloriously golden summer.

Gemma Gibbons

The ExCeL Arena was home to many scenes of elation and pain over the summer, however this particular moment saw tears flow, hearts clench and truly epitomised what the Olympic Games are all about.

Gemma Gibbons won a silver medal in the under-78kg judo category in London yet it was what followed immediately after the victory for which she will be remembered.

The 25-year-old looked skywards whilst still on the tatami, and mouthed "I love you mum." It was, quite possibly, the most poignant moment of the entire Olympics.

After winning Britain's first Olympic judo medal for 12 years, the judoka dedicated her victory to her mother, who died of leukaemia eight years ago. It was her way of saying thank you. It was a private moment yet millions witnessed it.

It not only expressed the absolute commitment of Gibbons throughout such an incredibly tough time, but it was a moment that put everything in life, not simply sport, into perspective.

Sir Chris Hoy

Sir Chris Hoy confirmed his status as Britain's most decorated Olympian with his stunning performances in the London 2012 velodrome.

He now has six gold medals to his name, winning the team sprint and keirin events this summer, meaning he surpassed Sir Steve Redgrave's record of five and rode his way into the history books.

Following his amazing feat, Hoy was overcome with emotion as the tears began to fall and the realisation of what he had achieved throughout his Olympic career hit him.

It is a spectacular accomplishment to win one Olympic gold yet alone six, and throughout his journey Hoy has remained a true professional in every way.

Tom Daley

Although it was not gold for the Plymouth diver, a bronze medal symbolised so much more than third place for Tom Daley.

The 18 year-old arrived in London having gone through the toughest year of his young life.

His father Rob died in May last year, and with Daley constantly being in the spotlight as Britain's golden boy, his private life hardly ever remains just that, private.

The pressure put upon the diving sensation was overwhelming in the lead-up to London 2012 yet Daley did not let it faze him. His focus was sharp; he knew what he was there to do.

This memorable moment could have been occupied by another gold medallist, but quite honestly, Daley's achievement in London was about far more than the medal he left with and he deserves the recognition simply for his sheer hard work, commitment and passion for his sport despite going through personal tragedy.

Katherine Grainger

What a scene it was. The regatta at Eton Dorney was crammed with home support as finally Katherine Grainger won her first Olympic gold medal, after a frustrating string of silver medals at the three previous Games.

Along with Anna Watkins, Grainger took the title in the women's double sculls and proved the value of never giving up in life.

Grainger became Britain's most successful female rower this summer and her achievement embodied the ethos of the Olympic ideals.

The sportswoman had long been a great role model for young rowers in this country; yet her gold in London highlighted that nothing is ever impossible if you want it enough - and are prepared to work for it.

David Rudisha

It was a performance that lit up the Olympic Stadium, a sublime running display executed in perfect fashion by a natural athlete.

Kenyan David Rudisha won the 800m gold and in doing so, he became the first athlete to set a new world record on the London 2012 track.

The 23-year-old was the first man inside one minute 41 seconds, clocking 1:40.91, a 10th of a second better than his previous best.

He led his race from the front and the title was never really in doubt. His focus, technique and skill were magnificent and to beat his own world record at such an event was testament to his character.

Usain Bolt's achievements were incredible in London yet Rudisha came from relatively nowhere to create an explosion within the athletics world. Bolt was expected to be a success after such a build-up; Rudisha entered quietly but left with a rather loud bang.

Bradley Wiggins

Where to start with Bradley Wiggins?

As if becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France wasn't enough, the Team Sky cyclist went on to win the Olympic gold medal in the men's time trial in London in 2012.

His astonishing success has since been recognised as he was voted the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year for 2012.

The side-burn-clad Wiggins' victory was the seventh Olympic medal of his career and even the cyclist himself was bemused by how he could ever top such an achievement.

Following the race victory, the 'king' took a brief respite on a throne at Hampton Court in Surrey; a scene which will be long associated with Wiggin's performance at the Games. How could someone look quite so calm, cool and relaxed after such a feat?

But that is the way Wiggins has achieved so much this year. It has been an incredibly long journey for the cyclist, with a cluster of ups and downs throughout his sporting expedition, yet 2012 was the year that he showed the world how to make history.

Nicola Adams

Speaking of history, Leeds boxer Nicola Adams wrote her name firmly in the record books this summer, as she became the first female boxer to win an Olympic gold medal.

With women's boxing making its debut in London, the bubbly yet focused Adams took to the ring and silenced the critics with a dominant display.

She fought her way to victory over China's Ren Cancan in the flyweight division, and in the process, she became a role model for thousands of young girls across the country.

It was official; boxing is not just a male sport. Women could have a go too; and not only for recreational purposes. They too can win medals, Olympic golds in fact.

Adams' performance was full of skill and talent which she had nurtured for many years, before she got to show off what she could do on a global stage. London was a platform for women's boxing, and with her success, Adams has ensured it should never be a hidden sport again.

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