Which brings us to the biggest winner of London 2012: WADA. The World Anti-Doping Agency wins, hands down. Charged with keeping the games free from performance-enhancing drug use, WADA's efforts in London have been brilliant.
Thus far, five athletes have been caught and disqualified for a banned substance. A Moroccan runner, Russian cyclist, Uzbek gymnast, and Albanian weightlifter were all sent home because they tested positive for substances designed to make their bodies stronger.
The fifth athlete sent home was American judo athlete Nick Delpopolo. He failed a drug test taken after a July 30 match. Monday, he became fifth Olympic athlete expelled for doping.
And he was actually using dope. That is, pot. Ganja. Delpopolo was kicked out of the Olympics because he tested positive for marijuana.
American wrestler Stephany Lee, who missed the Olympics entirely because she tested positive for cannabis, spoke out when she heard what happened to Delpopolo. She claimed that calling marijuana a performance-enhancer and putting pot in the same category as steroids or HGH is completely absurd.
Nice try, young lady. The most decorated athlete in Olympic history was photographed pulling huge bong hits. The world's fastest man said he smoked weed while growing up. Because it was Jamaica. Obviously the stuff is enhancing something.
What will I remember the most...
Much as it defies the "anything is possible" nature of the Olympics, I'll remember 2012 as a year that the (medal) rich got richer. Leading the favorites parade was Michael Phelps, who decided that winning eight gold medals in Beijing was not a fitting way to exit to sport. Phelps swam in only seven races in London and medaled in six of them: four golds and two silvers. Not only did he push his gold-medal record to a remarkable 18 and set a new overall medal record with 22, but he won gold for the third straight time in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, the first time a swimmer has won the same individual event in three straight Games (and being Phelps, he did it twice). Teammate Ryan Lochte had a disappointing Olympics given his high expectations coming in, but he still managed to collect two golds, a silver, and two bronzes.
Then there's Usain Bolt, the cocksure, ebullient, undisputed World's Fastest Man. After he was dusted by Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake at the Olympic Trials, Bolt responded with a gold in the 100 meters, running it in a fast but not historic 9.63. Bolt then won the 200, becoming the first man to win two golds in the event.
The most impressive display of excellence, though, has to be the U.S. men's basketball team's epic rout of Nigeria in pool play. The Americans won by a cool 83 points, hitting 29 three-pointers on their way to a 156-73 rout that even impressed the original Dream Teamers. Carmelo Anthony had 37 points in 14 minutes, which translates to 127 points for a full NBA game. Wilt Chamberlain, eat your heart out.