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Danny Boyle and the British started this Olympics off in unconventional fashion: a "Chariots of Fire" spoof; an ode to the National Health Service; geese and sheep on the same infield where Olympians would eventually throw javelins and discuses.
But the British followed a more traditional path after the Opening Ceremony: fine sport in rollicking venues with the emphasis on who got the medals. Traditional honors — knighthoods — are sure to follow.
Time to hand out Olympic prizes, before the royals beat us to it:
Best on land
Sure, Usain Bolt finished off an unprecedented triple-double, winning the 100 meters, the 200 meters and the 4x100 relay with Jamaica for the second consecutive Olympics. Sure, David Rudisha set his own pace and boldly became the first man to break 1 minute 41 seconds in the 800.
But did Bolt or Rudisha do any of this on a broken leg? Step up, Manteo Mitchell, the little-known American runner who felt something pop as he ran the opening leg of the heats in the 4x400-meter relay during the Games. In great pain, Mitchell kept on running, allowing the United States to qualify for the final, where it won a silver medal. "I'm pretty amazed that I still split 45 seconds on a broken leg," Mitchell said.
Worst on land
Some Brazilians, still cursing their Olympic luck, might lobby for their men's soccer team, which once again failed to win the gold medal despite the creative contributions of Neymar and a spot in the final against Mexico. But that would be forgetting what happened to the world's leading nation in men's soccer, long before the medal round. Spain — champion of Europe and the world — failed to score a single goal in three games. Coach Luis Milla is now looking for work in a bad Spanish economy.
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