POSTED: 07:01 a.m. HST, Aug 13, 2012
LONDON >> Red, white and blue was everywhere in London.
For the Americans — and for the British, too.
The most medals, and the most gold medals. That's what the U.S. Olympic Team wanted, and it's what they delivered. As for the home team? Riding the wave of home-field advantage, the British put together their best Olympic showing in over a century.
The competition is over. The U.S. was best, but the success stories from London truly spanned the globe.
"I think these games were absolutely fabulous," International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said.
The final numbers: 104 medals for the United States, 46 of them gold, their highest total at a "road" Olympics. China won 87 medals, 38 of them gold, down from what they did as the home team in 2008. Britain won 29 golds, third-most of any nation, and 65 overall — fourth in that category behind Russia, a winner of 82 medals, 24 gold.
Grenada had its first gold medalist, and six other nations sent athletes to the Olympic podium for the first time. Meanwhile, Australia took another step back in its Olympic freefall after a scintillating show in Sydney 12 years ago.
In all, 85 nations won something in London, from the U.S. to Tajikistan and dozens of points in between.
"We are immensely proud of the success that our athletes had in London," U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said Sunday.
So were the hosts, who delivered on a promise of greatness in 2012.
"What I've witnessed in the last couple of weeks has been both uplifting and energizing," London Games chief Sebastian Coe said. "I don't think any country that has staged the games or any city that staged the games is ever the same afterwards."
Neither are the athletes who win them. A boxer from Thailand protested losing a gold-medal fight to a Chinese opponent, and shed tears of disbelief when the decision was announced. He cried again 10 minutes later, holding his silver medal for the first time.
"I'm happy. I'm still really happy that I've got this silver medal," said the Thai fighter, Kaeo Pongprayoon. "I'm really proud. It might not be gold, but it's a medal I can bring back to the Thai people."
The U.S. brought a whole slew of hardware back to the American people. The 46 golds in London were one more than the gold haul from Paris in 1924 and Mexico City in 1968.