Another Olympics has come and gone. For two weeks the London Games united the globe: records were shattered, tears were shed and national anthems were played.

So what made these games special?

Here are 20 of the moments that we'll be talking about for a long, long time. Presented in no order, these individuals represent some of the most talented, bold, courageous and charismatic the world has to offer.

The 20 Most Unforgettable Moments Of 2012 Olympics Slideshow


How's This For Starters?

Queen Elizabeth II made quite an entrance to the Opening Ceremonies on July 27. Her Majesty took party in a hilarious introductory video with James Bond actor Daniel Craig and then dropped into Olympic Stadium from a high-flying helicopter. Of course, there was a little trickery involved.



Usain Bolt defied the doubters and pulled off the unprecedented "double-triple," defending gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter races as well as the 4x100 relay.


A Gold For Grandma

On the day of his preliminary heat in Beijing, Felix Sanchez found out his grandmother had passed away. The gold medalist in Athens didn't even qualify for the finals of the 400 hurdles in 2008. After the 2008 Games, Sanchez promised that he would win a gold for his grandmother. Running with a photo of him and his grandmother beneath his race bib and "Abuela" -- Spanish for grandmother -- on his spikes, Sanchez made good on his promise in London. At 34, Sanchez became the oldest man to bring home the top prize in that event.


Breaking Barriers

In what many are calling a breakthrough Olympics for female athletes, perhaps no single athlete tore down more barriers than Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani. The judo fighter was the first female athlete from Saudi Arabia to compete in the Olympics.


Big Night For Britain

Billed the "poster girl" of the British Olympic squad, Jessica Ennis lived up to the hype when she captured gold in the heptathalon. Ennis' victory was the highlight of "Super Saturday" for Great Britain at the Olympic Stadium. The host country won three gold medals in under an hour, with Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford winning their events.


Gold On Grass

Andy Murray got revenge for a heartbreaking loss to Roger Federer at Wimbledon in June, as the Scot easily triumphed over Federer in straight sets for the men’s singles gold medal. Murray became the first British man to win gold in singles since Josiah Ritchie in 1908.


"Blade Runner" Makes History

The last person added to South Africa's Olympic team, Oscar Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics. Pistorius, nicknamed "Blade Runner," advanced to finals of the 4x400 relay and the semifinals in the 400-meter dash. Pistorius isn't done in London, as he'll be back for the Paralymic Games in a few weeks.


Marathon Man

In one of the signature events of the Olympics, Stephen Kiprotich pulled off a surprise win. His gold was just Uganda's seventh Olympic medal and first gold in 40 years.


Phelps' Farewell

How did Michael Phelps top an amazing eight gold medals in 2008? By becoming the most decorated Olympian in history. The Baltimore Bullet added six more medals to his collection, including four golds. In what he promises will be his last Olympics, Phelps once again dominated in the pool.


China's Golden Girl

Just 16 years old, Ye shocked the world with her amazing times in the pool. She took home a pair of golds and smashed Olympic records in both of her events. Her 400-meter individual medley time was so fast—she shaved five seconds off her personal best to finish with a time of 4:28:43 -- that it prompted allegations of doping.


High-Flying Five

Whether you call them the "Fab Five" or the "Fierce Five," the United States women's gymnastics quintet was fantastic. The group, led by all-around gold medalist Gabby Douglas, captured the United States' first gold medal in team gymnastics since 1996.


Babyface Thriller

British fan favorite Nicola Adams, nicknamed "Babyface," became the first woman to win a gold medal in boxing. The sport made its Olympic debut in London.


Reign Women

One year after a devastating loss to Japan in the World Cup, the American women topped the Japanese, 2-1, in a thrilling gold medal final for their third consecutive first-place finish.


Pool Power

Missy Franklin captured the heart of her country with her charm and ear-to-ear smile. And her two world records didn't hurt. The 17-year-old, who won four gold medals and one bronze, could be the face of US swimming for the foreseeable future.


Down And Out

The top-ranked Chinese duo of Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli, along with three other teams, were disqualified from the Olympics after conspiring to lose a match in the preliminary rounds to gain better positioning for the knockout rounds. Yu, who won a gold medal in doubles in Beijing, retired from the sport after her disgraceful exit.


Unforgettable "Mo-ments"

Mo Farah thrilled the crowd in London with a with a pair of wins in the 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter races. Farah is now being hailed as the greatest distance runner in British history and is may even become knighted after the Games.


Mexico Accomplishes Golden Goal

Soccer-mad Mexico celebrated its first Olympic gold medal after its men's squad defeated Brazil at Wembley Stadium, 2-1.


Pedal To The Medal

Sir Chris Hoy, who carried the flag for Great Britain during the Opening Ceremonies, lived up to his billing as one of the country's greatest Olympians. The 36-year-old captured a pair of golds in London, making him the most decorated Olympian in British history.


A Race For The Record Books

Not only did the U.S. women's 4x100 team win gold for the first time since 1996, it did so in record time. The quartet shattered the 27-year-old record with a time of 40.82 seconds. Carmelita Jeter, above, even pointed to the clock as she crossed the finish line.


Harrison Makes History

The fact that Kayla Harrison won the United States' first judo gold medal is impressive enough, but to know what she had to overcome to get to the medal stand makes it all the more amazing. Sexually abused by her coach at age 13, Harrison was part of the most successful Olympic showing ever by American judo fighters.

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