10 Most Memorable Moments of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London

From Michael Phelps to the Fierce Five and everything in between, the last Summer Games were truly unforgettable

By Rebecca Macatee Aug 05, 2016 5:00 PMTags
Daniel Craig, Queen Elizabeth II, CorgisNBC

Let the games begin!

The 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony takes place tonight, marking the official start of the Summer Games. We're anticipating a slew of emotions once the competition ensues—much like we experienced during the last Summer Games.

Yes, we're talking about the 2012 London Olympics! In fact, before we fully immerse ourselves in all things Rio, let's take a look back at the 10 most memorable moments from the games four years ago. Beginning, of course, with... 

1. Queen Elizabeth II Meeting James Bond: Even Prince William and Prince Harry were taken aback at the sight of Her Majesty meeting Daniel Craig's 007 during the Opening Ceremony! Queen Elizabeth's Corgis also made an appearance in the pre-taped, Danny Boyle-directed segment.

Olympic Opening Ceremonies Fashion Rewind
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2. The "Queen" Skydives into Olympic Park: The royal herself gave the A-OK for stuntman to dress in her likeness and parachute down into Olympic Park. This stunt made people around the world smile, but it took a sad coda the following year when Mark Sutton, the stuntman from the skit, was killed in a wing-diving accident in the Swiss Alps.

2016 U.S. Olympic Portraits
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3. The Royals Cheer on Team Great Britain: William, Harry and Duchess Kate were regulars in the stands at multiple events throughout the 2012 Games. They were encouraging, enthusiastic and animated—all of which resulted in some epic facial expressions

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

4: Zara Phillips Medals: Prince William's cousin not only competed in the games, but she also earned a silver medal along with Team GB's equestrian squad for their second-place finish in the Eventing Team Jumping Competition.

Royals at the Olympics
Al Bello/Getty Images

5. Michael Phelps Makes History: The swimmer became the most decorated Olympian of all time during the London Games, bringing his total collection of medals to 22 (18 of them gold).

6. USA's Swim Teams Dominate: Phelps was a big fish, alright, but his fellow swimmers from this side of the pond fared well, too. Missy Franklin earned five medals in London, four of which were gold. She set a new world record in the women's 200m backstroke event, and along with the the rest of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swim Team, she won our hearts over with the "Call Me Maybe" lip sync video above.

Why the Triumph of the Magnificent Seven Was the Best Olympic Moment
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

7. The Fierce Five Rule: Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber made up the supergroup of female gymnasts that won a team gold medal for the United States. In the individual all-around competition, Douglas won gold. Raisman won a gold medal in the individual floor exercise as well as a bronze medal for the beam.

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

8. Usain Bolt Also Makes History: The Jamaican sprinter defended his 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics gold in London and set a new world record. He became the first athlete to ever sweep the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at consecutive Olympics.

Prince Harry "Races" Usain Bolt: Guess Who Won?

9. Serena Williams Does a Victory Dance: And we danced right along with her! The tennis star defeated Maria Sharapova, winning gold and becoming the second woman ever to achieve a career Golden Slam—winning all four of tennis' Grand Slam titles (the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open), plus an Olympic gold medal—and the first player to achieve a Golden Slam in both singles and doubles.


10: The Spice Girls Reunite: Victoria Beckham, Mel B, Geri Halliwell, Mel C and Emma Bunton took the stage during the 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony. Beckham later told Vanity Fair, "Doing the Olympics was an incredible honor. I was so proud to do it, proud to be British. That was a perfect time to say, 'That's great. Thank you to everybody, but no more. Sometimes you've got to know when it's time to leave the party." 

Big Moments From the 2012 Olympics