Team Great Britain had surpassed all expectations, with the local crowd on a sporting high, while the US finished on top of the world with 46 gold medals.
But let’s take a look back at the Aussie triumphs and highlights that made these games one of the most memorable yet.
The dream becomes reality
No Aussie highlights reel for London 2012 would be complete without golden girl Sally Pearson’s winning hurdles run. Her 12.35 second run was painfully extended as she nervously waited to be confirmed Olympic champion. Defeating American Dawn Harper by two one hundredths of a second also gave Pearson the Olympic record.
“I was so pumped up after the heat. I thought, 'I want this. It has to be mine. It can’t go any other way,” Pearson said after her race.
Bringing home a large stack of medals for Australia were our teams of four.
The under-hyped Women’s 4x100 relay swimming team claimed our first gold medal in stunning style ahead of The Netherlands and USA. Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger become Australia’s overnight princesses of the pool, and add Bronte Barrat and Kylie Palmer to the mix and you also get a 4x200 silver medal.
Tate Smith, Murray Stewart, Jake Clear and David Smith in the men's kayak four (K4) 1000 metres also produced a gold medal performance. As the only non-European team, they became the first Australian crew boat to win at an Olympics when they led all the way to beat home Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Other strong teams of four that claimed silver medals were our female 4x100 medley swim team, as well as the men’s four rowing team.
Strength in the velodrome
All eyes were on Anna Meares as she looked to improve on her silver medal sprint in Beijing. Beating her long time rival, Great Britain’s “Queen” Victoria Pendleton, Meares became the most successful female Olympic track cyclist in history with a bronze medal also added to her collection. In a show of great sportsmanship Pendleton hugged and congratulated an emotional Meares at the medal presentation.
Producing three gold and one silver, sailing was undoubtedly Australia’s success story at the Games. Classing London as “mission accomplished”, our sailing team are now focusing their attention on Rio 2016. 40-year-old Malcolm Page deserves an honourable mention after defending his Beijing title to become a sailing dual gold medallist. Tom Slingsby took out the Laser class, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen were victorious in the 49er skiff and Malcolm page and Matthew Belcher held their nerve in the 470 class to claim the Australian seventh gold medal of the games. No Australian sailing squad has ever won three gold medals at an Olympic regatta before.
School girl wins diving silver
The youngest member of the Australian Olympic team displayed nerves of steel to claim a surprise silver medal in the women’s 10 metre platform. Gold Coast schoolgirl Brittany Broben, just 16, pulled out a spectacular final dive to finish behind China’s Chen Ruolin.
"I did almost fall off the platform because my legs were so shaky but I did it,” she said.
Pride of South Australia
South Australian young-guns Sam Willoughby and Annette Edmondson also made their home state proud when they won silver and bronze medals respectively. Willoughby, 20, brought home Australia’s first ever BMX Olympic medal, with Edmondson, also 20, won a bronze in the omnium that she only switched to two years ago after becoming bored with sprinting.
Tallent walks to back-to-back silver
Despite thinking his Olympic medal dreams were over after receiving two out of a possible three red cards before the half-way mark, Jared Tallent stormed home to win his second Olympic silver in the 50km walk. The 27-year-old won the third Olympic medal of his career by smashing his personal best by more than two minutes.
Put a (Olympic) ring on it.
Putting the icing on the cake for Beki Lee after beating her personal best time in the 20km walk was the surprise proposal from boyfriend Daniel Smith. Lee answered with a big ‘yes’ to Smith’s proposal in front of a clapping crowd after finishing 28th and shaving almost a minute off her previous best time. The couple who have been together for five years are now heading to Paris together to reflect on a bust 48 hours.
With four years to reflect on the good, the bad and the breath taking moments of London 2012, one can only imagine what magical moments Rio 2016 will bring.
Images: clicksport.com.au, qasport.qld.gov.au, sportingjournal.com.au, photographytips.com.au, london2012.olympics.com.au