Year in Review: Boris Johnson steals the show

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OlympicTalk’s writers recount some of their favorite moments from the 2012 London Games.

Usain Bolt, McKayla Maroney, Mo Farah and many others stamped the Olympics with the indelible mark of their personalities, yet arguably the most entertaining person at the 2012 London Olympics wasn’t an athlete at all.

Boris Johnson, the beloved mayor of London, who apparently hates verbal and behavioral restraint as much as he does combs, started things off with awesome (inebriated?) dancing during the Opening Ceremony and proceeded to bandy about town saying and doing whatever he felt like, caring absolutely not at all what anyone thought.

He began by fervently dismissing the naysayers who predicted weather- and security-related doom prior to the Games, then gleefully touted his country and its Olympians with every chance he got, before displaying equal patriotic zeal for the Paralympics. He was so entertaining that it’s difficult to pick his most memorable moment from last summer.

His hilarious interview with David Letterman ranks pretty high, as do his Opening and Closing Ceremony dancing fits, the latter of which was the UK’s most tweeted event of 2012. His numerous off-the-cuff interviews during the Games were all great too, and this mash-up video – an unauthorized Olympic Welcome that splices together things that, for some reason, he’s intentionally said directly to a camera – which went viral just before the Games began, was pretty amazing.

But the absolute best moment of Boris Johnson’s London 2012 was when he attempted to zipline into a park full of Team GB Olympic fans, only to run out of momentum and be awkwardly suspended thirty feet in the air, a Union flag in each hand, for several minutes. Far from uncomfortable, he just joked with onlookers until he was brought down.

“If any other politician anywhere in the world was stuck on a zip wire it would be a disaster,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said of the incident. “For Boris, it’s an absolute triumph.”

Diggins, Randall win historic gold medal for U.S. in cross-country

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The long, long wait is over.

Team USA ended their 42-year Olympic medal drought in cross-country skiing Wednesday and they made American cross-country history in the process.

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first American cross-country skiers to capture a gold medal by winning the women’s team sprint at the Alpensia Cross-Country Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea. Sweden captured silver and Norway took home bronze.

Diggins and Randall are the first American women to win an Olympic medal and join Bill Koch as the only American cross-country skiers to earn an Olympic medal.

The Americans advanced to the finals courtesy of their first place finish in the semifinals, beating Sweden and OAR in the process.

Diggins out-sprinted both the gold and silver medalists of the individual sprint (Stina Nilsson and Maiken Falla, respectively) in the final stretch to take the gold.

Results

Gold: Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins (USA)

Silver: Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson (SWE)

Bronze: Marit Bjoergen and Maiken Falla (NOR)

Click here for a full recap of Team USA’s historic run

Czech Republic advance to medal round with shootout win vs. United States

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Petr Loukal scored the lone shootout goal as the Czech Republic defeated the United States and advance to the medal round.

Jan Kolar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation, while Pavel Francouz made 18 saves and stopped all five shootout attempts.

Ryan Donato scored his tournament-leading fifth goal, and Jim Slater added a shorthanded goal as the Olympics come to an end for the United States.