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Golden moments to look out for at London 2012Ben Blackmore July 27, 2012
On the day that the London 2012 Games officially get underway, we pick out ten of the most unmissable landmarks that may be achieved at this year's Olympics...
What is left for Roger Federer to do in the game of tennis? All-time record holder for most grand slam wins? Done. Largest number of weeks spent as a world No. 1? Done. Winner of all four grand slams? Done.
Olympic gold medal medallist? Done... but only partially.
The greatest tennis player of all time is the reigning champion of the Olympic men's doubles title, which he will try to defend in London. But it is the Olympic singles title that remains the one major credential missing from the Swiss's career.
In London he returns to the same patch of grass that recently saw him win Wimbledon, against Britain's Andy Murray. With Rafael Nadal injured, Federer does not have to face any of the big four (Nadal, Djokovic and Murray) until the final. It would be a glorious crowning moment in his career if he wowed SW19 once again.
For all the significant news from the men's London 2012 tennis draw, click here.
No man has ever defended the Olympic 200m title.
I'll repeat that... no man has ever defended the Olympic 200m title. Not even the great Michael Johnson. Moreover, only one individual (Carl Lewis) has retained the 100m crown, and even that happened only once the man who beat him in 1988 - Ben Johnson - failed a drug test.
So that is the piece of history that awaits Usain Bolt in London. The Jamaican will no doubt be expected to break his world records in the 100m and 200m, but if he doesn't that should not lessen the sheer scale of what he will achieve if he defends his Olympic titles.
To see inside the stadium where Bolt will go for gold at London 2012, click here.
You might be tempted to query what else Michael Phelps has to achieve at this summer's Games? The phenomenal American swimmer already holds the record for the most Olympic gold medals - he's won 14 so far, well ahead of another swimmer in Mark Spitz, the track and field athletes Paavo Nurmi and Carl Lewis, and the Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who all won nine.
However, another piece of history awaits the aquatic animal in London, and it is likely he will breeze to the landmark with little fuss. Gunning for seven more golds, Phelps can break the record for the most medals (of any colour) held by an Olympian. Currently he has 16 - two bronzes in addition to 14 golds. That leaves him two medals behind Latynina, who won 18 in all (nine gold, five silver and four bronze). Of all the golden moments mentioned in this article, Phelps is arguably the biggest shoo-in.
To see inside the Aquatics Centre where Phelps will attempt to make history, click here.
Great Britain is behind you Mo Farah! You may be an Arsenal fan (which no doubt grates with the odd Spurs diehard), but there is no smile we'd rather see beaming across the back pages than when you pick up gold in the 5,000m or 10,000m finals.
Why the significance of Farah? Because he will achieve something no Brit has managed for over 100 years if he takes gold. At London 2012, Farah can become the first British athlete since 1908 to win a long-distance gold medal, finally laying to rest the achievement of Emil Voigt. Going even further, triumphs at both the 5,000m and 10,000 could even see Farah become the first Brit to win the distance double in Olympic Games history.
To journey back in time to the 1908 Games, click here.
Arguably the most underrated achievement that will take place at London 2012, Oscar Pistorius, having been selected by South Africa, is set to become the first double amputee runner at an Olympic Games.
Nicknamed Blade Runner, Pistorius will surely one day have his own film made of his already outstanding achievements, which include competing at the 2011 World Championships in the individual 400m event.
He is now on the cusp of emulating that feat on the Olympic stage, where he will run with the aid of carbon fibre artificial limbs. Holder of the world record for sport class T44 in the 100m, 200m and 400m, Pistorius has described his selection for London 2012 as "truly one of the proudest days of my life."
To find out when Pistorius will run, take a look at our Schedule by clicking here.
You may just have heard of the name Bradley Wiggins in the past week or so. Carrying the look of a reject from the band Oasis, Wiggins' sideburns became iconic during his recent Tour de France triumph, described by Sir Chris Hoy as the greatest achievement in the history of British sport.
Now Wiggins has the chance to make 2012 an extra special year. Racing in the Time Trial (and we saw how he obliterated the field during the Tour), the Brit can complete the Tour and Olympic double - surely earning him the Sports Personality of the Year award, which would of course top the lot.
Keep up to date with all medal winners with our medal table, here.
If you believe the words of Dai Greene, he would have grown up to be a "prat" had he decided to become a professional footballer for Swansea. Fortunately, Britain's gold medal hopeful chose 400m hurdles as his life vocation, leaving the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and John Terry to have a good bash at proving the aforementioned point about footballers.
Greene's race at the Olympics will be one of the most hotly-contested, with the Welshman facing the likes of Kerron Clement, Angelo Taylor and Javier Culson. However, if he wins, he becomes the first British athlete since Sally Gunnell to win all four major titles (European, Commonwealth, World and Olympic) in any event.
Rewind to Barcelona 1992 to remember Gunnell's triumph by clicking here.
Victory for Jess Ennis would not be an achievement to rival many of the landmarks above, but there is no arguing it would provide the golden moment of the Games as far as the British public is concerned.
Ennis has been everywhere ahead of the Games: Want some Powerade? Go to Ennis. Want some petrol? Ennis is your girl. Need a flight with British Airways? It's likely our heptathlete can stamp your ticket.
Ennis is the face of London 2012 for Great Britain, and her bid for gold has taken on Kelly Holmes-like comparisons. Shackled by injury weeks before Beijing, this summer's event has been eight years in the waiting for Ennis. Her time has to be now.
Inspire yourself by looking back to Holmes' Olympic double in 2004. Click here.
Ben Ainslie claims there are 12 men who could beat him at London 2012. The likelihood is, those 12 probably won't.
Currently a three-time Olympic champion, Ainslie has tasted gold in each of the last three Olympic Games. Should he make it four in 16 years, he will take himself level with the likes of Sir Matthew Pinsent - one behind the greatest British Olympian of them all: Sir Steve Redgrave.
Having started sailing at the age of eight, Ainslie heads to London at the age of 35. A king of the water, he has twice won the Finn class and once triumphed in the Laser. Should he add another success over the coming days, he will not receive the glory offered to the likes of Ennis and Co, but his endeavours will not be underestimated at ESPN Towers.
Don't miss a result during the Olympics. Click here.
If you're good enough, you're young enough. That is the belief of Greg Searle, who returns to Olympic action 11 years after retiring from the sport of rowing. Having won gold in the coxed pairs in Barcelona way back in 1992, Searle called it quits in 2001, not long after the Sydney Games.
However, the former World Junior champion wants another crack and, at the age of 40, he has earned a final shot at glory on home turf. "The first time I came at it I was young, totally enthusiastic and totally bullet proof," Searle said. "I'd never lost a race before and I just expected I would show up at the Olympics and win another one because it was just another race. I recognise the difference of doing this as a 20-year-old and doing it as a 40-year-old."
Expect tears from big Greg if he wins 20 years after his first gold medal triumph, as he prepares to compete in the eight-man discipline over the next couple of weeks.
For live updates from every day of London 2012, head to our Olympic section here.