The 2012 London Olympics is now heading into its fifth day and we’ve already seen a whole lot of things to talk about. Whether its history being made, controversies, betting scandals, and shocking upsets, London has offered a smorgasbord of highlights and lowlights. From our vantage point, we’ve picked out a few of the more important events that have happened in the first five days of the Olympics, all of which will be talked about for a long time.
Just like in Beijing four years ago, American swimmer Michael Phelps has been the headlines of the Olympics. Phelps hasn’t been as dominant as his Beijing conquests, having lost his first three swimming events – one to teammate Ryan Lochte – before the 4×200 freestyle relay. But after striking out in his first three events, Phelps helped the US Swimming team win the gold in the 4×200 freestyle relay, earning him his first gold medal of the 2012 London Olympics. More importantly, it was Phelps’ 19th Olympic medal, an achievement that puts him on top as the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, eclipsing Russian gymnast Larissa Latynina’s 18 total medals. Phelps still has a couple of more events in the next week so you can at least expect the man to add to his record-breaking Olympic medal haul.
While Phelps’ record will undoubtedly be the talk of the 2012 London Games, the quadrennial event also comes with its fair share of controversies and no more was that evident when it reared its ugly head in the semi-finals of a fencing event that saw South Korean fencer Shin A Lam get shafted out of a win. The surreal scene at the ExCel Arena saw Shin lose out on a medal after a clock malfunction allowed her opponent, Germany’s Britta Heidenmann to score a decisive point that sent her to the gold medal round. The clock had already gone down to zero during the fight but Austrian referee Barbara Csar determined that there was still a second left, at which point Heidenmann scored the point. The Korean team vehemently protested the result as Shin could be seen bawling her eyes out over the controversial ruling. It certainly didn’t help matters that the team’s protest was rejected, further rubbing salt into the poor South Korean fencer’s wounds.
The Spanish football team also made the headlines for the wrong reasons after it was unceremoniously booted out of a tournament a lot of people expected them to win. Apologists will point out that the team comprised of under-23 players, meaning that most of the Euro 2012 championship team weren’t part of the squad. Nevertheless, a shocking 1-0 loss to Japan was followed by an equally perplexing 1-0 upset in the hands of Honduras meant that not only did Spain exit the football tournament without a medal, but they also failed to score a goal against a pair of opponents that were huge underdogs heading into their respective matches.
Finally, the on-going investigation surrounding Ireland sailor Peter O’Leary is still in progress, but since no resolution has been reached, the man is still being allowed to compete in his event and incredibly, he and teammate David Burrows are still in contention to win a medal in the men’s keelboat class. We’re dumbfounded as to why O’Leary’s being allowed to compete when such a serious allegation hangs over his head, but then again, it’s the Olympics.
It’s a place where history, controversy, scandals, and upsets can happen in a matter of days. And the best part? We still have a little under two weeks of this to enjoy.