London Olympics 2012

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Usain Bolt: A global hero

ESPN staff
August 9, 2012

Every day of the Olympics, we at ESPN Towers will award gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three moments. Here are our choices for day 13...

Schedule
Results
Medal Table

Gold

What is there left to say about Usain Bolt? Yes he's the 100m and 200m Olympic champion; yes he's the first man to ever defend the 200m title, and yes he's the first man to complete back-to-back 100m and 200m doubles.

But there's something else about this man. There's a confidence bordering on arrogance, yet where Cristiano Ronaldo struggles to win over the public's affection, Bolt's swagger prompts nothing but smiles from his adoring fans.

Ahead of the 200m final, he was so relaxed that he chatted at length to a volunteer, and then 'busted' hands with another. Then, when his name was announced, he delivered a royal wave.

As he crossed the line, rather than ensure victory was his, he put his finger to his lips to send a message to his doubters. Trademark Bolt.

Post-race celebrations saw Bolt steal a photographer's camera to take photos of Blake, but with every moment of showmanship comes equal amounts of respect, such as when he delayed an interview to applaud 800m champion David Rudisha as he collected his gold medal.

Bolt wanted to become a legend at these Games and, for more than one reason, he has achieved his goal.

Silver

Nicola Adams achieved something on Thursday that will never be repeated by any Olympian... for the rest of time. By winning gold in her flyweight boxing final, she became the first female in Olympic history to win boxing gold.

And boy did she do it in style.

Her opponent was world champion Ren Cancan of China, a rival who had become something of a nemesis for Adams, beating her twice previously. If Adams was going to win, she was going to have to strain every sinew to get there.

Or so we thought.

See, our girl Nicola Adams is not your average boxer. Gold was not enough for her, she wanted to lay on a clinic. A booming left hook in the second round even floored the world champ, and the final score read 16-7.

It wasn't even close, and neither is the competition for the best smile of the Games. Adams is a role model for women's boxing, and she's also now a national hero.

Bronze

We give bronze to Britain's individual dressage competitors, although not for the obvious reason. Charlotte Dujardin and Laura Bechtolsheimer claimed gold and bronze respectively, but the most impressive part of their performance was their choice of songs.

Bechtolsheimer leant on the Lion King to introduced some fun to her ride, before fellow Brit Carl Hester contributed with the Champions League theme song.

Best was still to come though as Dujardin manoeuvred from Escape to Victory, to Mission Impossible, back to Escape to Victory, before adding in a little Land of Hope and Glory.

The only thing missing was "Whoa, we're going to Ibiza" by the Vengaboys.

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