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Aug 4, 2012 - Karin Helmstaedt and Craig Lord
Olympic Games, London 2012
There were almost too many to count. At these London Olympics - the third to be held in the British capital - every night brought a new raft of memorable - unforgettable - Olympic moments.
Here are just ten of our favourites. Let us know yours @swimnewscom
1. Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) - winner of the men's 100 breaststroke - smiled on the top rung of the podium and seemed to have a moment with his thoughts as the South African flag was raised. Wearing the medal he dedicated to his late friend, world champion Norwegian breastroker Alex Dale Oen who died of cardiac arrest last spring, he winced with joy and glanced up as if to the heavens while the parents of both young men felt with him in the stands.
2. The first three-peat for the greatest Olympian of all time - after the men's 200 IM. Much had been written about this and Michael Phelps had waited a long time - until Day 6 in fact. Upon turning and seeing the clock, Phelps heard the thunderous roar of the crowd and - was still. Quiet, with his back to the wall, he smiled a small smile of beatitude - and enjoyed the sound and feel of the moment - his greatest goal fulfilled. And it wasn't to be the last time.
3. The second gold medal of the meet for South Africa went to Chad le Clos who denied Michael Phelps the three-peat in the 200 butterfly. As the sounds of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica - the country's national anthem which means "God Bless Africa" - rang out for the second time in three days, Le Clos was at pains to control his emotions. Heaving deep breaths - he tried valiantly to keep his composure - but when the music played for his golden moment he couldn't fight back the tears, not daring to sing the words for fear of trembling too much. His parents waved the flag from the stands - his mother wiping tears of her own. Later on the BBC's Clare Balding sat down with his father Bert Le Clos to talk about the surprising victory - an amusing show of emotion in husky Afrikaanglish - and the consensus on the Twittersphere that night after finals was that this one took the cake.
4. More tears - they do it every time - as Lithuania's new Olympic star 15 year-old Ruta Meilutyte was awash as she stepped to the top of the podium. the tears streaming down her face for the duration of her country's national anthem.
5. Ryan Lochte was tipped for a second gold in the 200 metre freestyle. Would it be Park Tae Hwan or Sun Yang who would stop him? Non! Yannick Agnel! Nice one for the warrior of Gaul and coach Fabrice Pellerin, a man who gets his charges to listen to the Beatles and Mozart while training.
6. They said the Missile would fire way out ahead - but predictions are not worth the paper they're written on. If Nathan Adrian diffused James "the Missile" Magnussen by 0.01 seconds - then Brent Hayden, already a world champion, was right up there with the big guns for bronze - a nice gift to show off at his wedding party next week in Lebanon.
7. The home crowd's enthusiasm that was fit to raise the roof - and its unwavering appreciation of a bronze medal from one of their own. Becky Adlington's 800 freestyle bronze was a golden moment for them - and the 23 year-old could do little more than just let the emotion go. Tears streamed down her face for the entirety of the medalists' honour walk round the pool - and everyone loved it.
8. The sound of Jos van Kuijeren and his operatic voice belting out the beautiful Dutch national anthem for Ranomi Kromowidjojo's second gold medal - and sweep of the women's sprint freestyles.
9. Sun Yang's dramatic world record victory in the 1500 freestyle - his time of 14:31.02 a mark to boggle the mind. He almost thought he'd blown it too, falling into the water before the starter's pistol went, in an event that's better known for lead feet. He led the longest race on the program like a shark heading in for the kill - under his own world record pace all the way - and when he saw his victory jumped up onto the lane-line and pointed at a sea of red Chinese flags - before smashing the water with both fists 8 times. Symbolic numerology at play? Just the 1 would have done...
10. Phelps' victory tour after taking his last laps in the winning men's medley relay - was one of those things you never forget. When he stopped to hug and thank his lifelong coach and mentor Bob Bowman, the man he calls a second Dad, Bowman embraced him and whispered. "I love you."