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Monday, 13 August 2012 09:58

2012 Olympics were inspiring, magical, memorable and much more

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What inspired you?

Yesterday, the 2012 Olympics came to a close, and the day wasn't about the long and drawn out ceremony—full of ancient performers—it was about reliving one of the most memorable Olympics we can think of.

For us Coloradans, the story of the games was our darling, the mystical Missy Franklin.

Missy isn't just a dominant swimmer—at a mere 17 years old, she brought home four gold medals and one bronze—but her character is too bubbly, goofy and lighthearted not to love.

In a world filled with professional athletes acting absurdly—racking up DUIs like frat boys, beating their wives and/or girlfriends and demanding higher salaries and trades—Missy is a breath of fresh air.

She was incredibly easy to root for, not only because she's from the US and is one of us, but due to the person she is.

Missy's mammoth smile is heartwarming, a reminder of the good in a world veiled in so much bad.

Yes, she's a superstar in the sport of swimming, but she really is only a junior at Regis Jesuit High School, and when Justin Beiber took a few minutes out of his day to send her a video message we saw just that. Her face lit up and she almost teared up in excitement, jumping at Bob Costas' invitation to send the Beiber a message back.

Of course, sharing the pool with our Missy was the grizzled 27 year old Michael Phelps, who was once again phenomenal.

Phelps came into this, his fourth Olympics, thought of as too old to be overbearing for the competition—how wrong the critics were.

He swam stupendously, winning four golds (two individual) and two silvers, eventually becoming the greatest Olympian of all time with 22 total medals.

Phelps is fantastic, bringing excitement to swimming in the 21st century. He's cocky, he's a winner, he's all-American.

But beyond the swimmers, there was so much more to “Inspire a Generation.”

Oscar Pistorius, a 25 year old runner from Pretoria, South Africa, became the first ever double amputee to compete in the Olympics.

“Blade Runner” didn't win any medals, but he embodied the Olympic spirit of humility, dedication and sportsmanship.

The real running sensation was again Usain Bolt of Jamaica, who set a new Olympic Record (9.63 seconds) in the 100m, and was part of the World Record (36.84) in the 4 x 100m relay.

Bolt is faster than lightening and he never ceases to amaze on the track or afterwords in his post-race celebrations where he dances and lets everyone know he's the greatest of all time.

In an act of rebellion, Wojdan Shaherkani became the first ever woman to compete internationally from her native Saudi Arabia when she participated in Judo.

Andy Murray was finally able to win on the big stage, defeating Roger Federer, to win a gold for Great Britain at their home Wimbledon court.

Other British athletes stepped it up for the home crowd as well, including Jessica Ennis (Gold in Heptathlon) and Mo Farah became the first to win Gold in 5,000m.

Let's not forget either the teams that were supposed to win, and came through in the world's biggest stage.

USA Women's Gymnastics took home five total medals (3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze), an awesome amount, and they even stumbled in some areas.

Men's and Women's Basketball were commanding throughout, and each team won gold. Neither team lost a single game, and for the women, it marks an unprecedented fifth straight Olympic gold.

The men saw the world continue to catch up, but the blend of superstars was special and each was willing to defer to the other in search of proving once again, we're still the best in basketball.

Most paramount performance of the games goes to Misty May and Kerri Walsh, who won gold in Women's Beach Volleyball for a most-ever third straight Olympics. As a team, the two went 21-0 in matches, 42-1 in sets, dropping their first ever set this year.

All in all, the women accounted for 58 of the United States' 104 total medals, a wonderful sign for young ladies looking to compete in sports.

And in the end, there are too many wonderful performances to list here, too many to remember them all.

But if you watched along the last two weeks, something struck you, something stuck with you, something inspired you.

This is the magic of the Olympics.

Rich Kurtzman

Free agent sportswriter looking for a rookie contract. Writer, athletics enthusiast, C/2B softball player throws/bats R, 5 star grill chef. You can follow him on facebook and/or twitter.

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