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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.”

No Zika cases from Olympics, WHO says

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 12:  An aerial view of the Christ The Redeemer statue (F) and the Maracana Stadium (B) on November 12, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
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There have been zero Zika virus cases stemming from the Rio Olympics, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

“From the reports WHO received from national health authorities, there have so far been no laboratory confirmed cases of Zika virus in anyone associated with the Olympics,” the organization said in an online update Thursday.

Earlier this summer, several athletes cited Zika concerns in skipping the Olympics.

The World Health Organization said before the Rio Games that the Olympics posed “a very low risk” of accelerating the Zika virus spread around the world.

Thousands of athletes will come to Rio for the Paralympics that run from Sept. 7-18, which is still during Brazil’s winter, lessening the Zika risk.

MORE: Hope Solo banned 6 months after Olympic comments

Devon Allen weighs turning pro in track and field

Devon Allen
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University of Oregon hurdler and wide receiver Devon Allen said he “thinks” he’s turning pro in track, but also said he hasn’t really decided if his NCAA track career is finished Thursday.

“There’s not really much more I can do in college track other than break the collegiate record,” Allen said.

Allen, a University of Oregon junior, finished fifth in the Rio Olympic 110m hurdles on Aug. 16 after winning the Olympic Trials on July 9.

Allen can turn pro in track and field and still play football for the Ducks, so long as he keeps his track and field profits to prize money and not endorsement deals.

He’s definitely planning on playing for Oregon’s football team this season, perhaps even in the season opener Sept. 3.

As for track season next winter and spring, that’s looking unlikely. Allen noted that he has won NCAA individual and team titles.

The only missing piece is the NCAA record of 13.00 set by former world-record holder Renaldo Nehemiah. Allen’s personal best is 13.03.

It’s clear that Allen would like to be a professional in both track and football.

“The NFL is something I’ve been dreaming about doing, just like I dreamed about running in the Olympics,” said Allen, who caught nine passes for 94 yards last season, coming back from tearing knee ligaments in the Rose Bowl. “I kind of accomplished that Olympic dream, obviously, in four years, I want to win a gold medal, so that’s one more step to that dream. Now my next dream is to play in the NFL.”

VIDEO: Top track and field moments from Rio Olympics