July 28, Fencing – Valentina Vezzali joins an elite club
Before competing in London Valentina Vezzali of Italy was already the first fencer in Olympic history to win three Individual Foil gold medals at three consecutive Olympics – Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. If she won the gold medal in the same event in London she would have become the first woman in any sport to be a solo champion in four successive Games. She could only manage a bronze in Individual Foil. But she still became one of only four athletes to win five medals in the same individual event. The ‘queen of fencing’ went on to win the gold in the Team Foil, taking her gold medal count to six and total medal tally to nine.
July 29, Shooting – Kim Rhode wins her third Olympic gold medal
At the age of 33 Kim Rhode from the United States equalled the world record of 99 out of 100 clays in skeet shooting to win her third gold medal after winning in the double trap in the 1996 and 2004 Olympics. Kim is the one of only three athletes and the only woman to win three Olympic individual gold medals in shooting. This was her fifth Olympic medal. Rhode is the only American competitor to win medals for an individual event in five consecutive Olympics.
July 29, Diving – Wu Minxia completes a trio of gold medals
Wu Minxia from China became the first woman to win gold medal at a diving event in three consecutive Olympic Games when she won the Women’s Synchronised 3m Springboard along with He Zi. Then she went on to win the 3m Springboard gold medal as well. This was her sixth medal and she equalled the record for most number of medals in diving. Her exemplary performance was at a cost though. After her second medal her parents revealed that they had withheld information about her grandmother’s death and her mother’s cancer from her to keep her focussed on training.
July 31, Swimming – Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian
In his first event, the 400m Individual Medley, Michael Phelps finished fourth making it the first time since the 2000 Summer Olympics that he had not won a medal in an Olympic event. Many thought that Larisa Latynina’s record might not be broken after all. But three days later Michael Phelps had accumulated the three medals he required to break the record. On July 31, by winning a gold medal in the 4X200m freestyle relay Phelps won his nineteenth medal and became the most decorated Olympian ever. He didn’t stop at that! Phelps went on to win three more gold medals to take his gold medal tally to 18 and his total medal tally to a staggering 22. Phelps has double the number of gold medals than his nearest competitor. More amazingly since the start of Olympics in 1896 only 39 countries have won more gold medals than Phelps’ 18.
August 2, Table Tennis – Zhang Jike achieves career grand slam
By winning the men’s singles Zhang Jike is now the reigning World Cup winner, World and Olympic champion. He is only the fourth person ever to achieve this incredible feat. Also Zhang is the first person in the history of table tennis to be the reigning champion in all three events simultaneously. Zhang won another gold medal in the team event as China swept all four gold medals in table tennis.
August 2, Artistic Gymnastics – Gabby Douglas is the first woman of color to become the individual all-around champion
Since the inception of the individual all-around title way back in 1900 no woman of color had been able to win the gold in that event. Well Gabby Douglas of the United States changed that on the second of August. She also won the gold medal in the team all-around thus becoming the first American to win the individual as well as the team competition.