The 2012 Olympic Games: A day-by-day timeline

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Timeline of 2012

Image credit: Eurosport

28/05/2020 at 08:05 | Updated 28/05/2020 at 09:05

Looking back to a time of national pride and unity, Eurosport is giving sports fans the opportunity to relive and share the feelings of elation and joy with its Return to London 2012 programming.

#ReturnTo2012 with Eurosport and Eurosport Player



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As a primer for that, Eurosport decided to take a look back at the key moments and golden moments from each day of the Games of the XXX Olympiad.

DAY 1: July 28 - Cavendish falls short

Key Moments:

  • Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan wins men's road race, with Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) and Alexander Kristoff (Norway) in second and third. Mark Cavendish, GB’s first real gold hope and world champ at the time, falls short.
  • Michael Phelps finishes fourth in the men's 400-metre individual medley and off the podium at an Olympic event for the first time since 2000 Games in Sydney. Ryan Lochte takes gold.

Golden moment: Ryan Lochte powers to 400-metre individual medley gold

GB gold count: 0

DAY 2: July 29 - Armitstead and Adlington miss out on gold

Key Moments:

  • The Netherlands’ Marianne Vos holds off GB’s Lizzie Armitstead to claim gold in the women’s road race.
  • France's Camille Muffat breaks the Olympic record to win the 400 metre freestyle, with Rebecca Adlington in third.

GB gold count: 0

Golden moment: Cycling superstar Marianne Vos wins Olympic gold by a bike-length after thrilling finish

#Returnto2012 – Deignan pipped by Vos in soaked road race thriller


DAY 3: July 30 - Gymnasts end GB's century-long medal wait

Key Moments:

  • GB quintet - Sam Oldham, Daniel Purvis, Louis Smith, Kristian Thomas and Max Whitlock - secure an emotional bronze in men's artistic team all-around, GB's first Olympic team gymnastics medal in a century.
  • Missy Franklin wins gold in the women's 100 metre backstroke in an American record.
  • 15-year-old Ruta Meilutyte wins gold in the women's 100m breaststroke.
  • Tom Daley and Pete Waterfield share blame after failing to medal in synchronised 10m platform.

GB gold count: 0

Golden moment: Missy Franklin announces herself to the world

DAY 4: July 31 - From heartbreaking to record breaking for Phelps

Key Moments:

  • Michael Phelps misses out on gold in the 200 metre butterfly as he is beaten by just 0.05 seconds by Chad le Clos.
  • But he returns in the relay alongside Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens to dominate the 4x200m freestyle relay for his 19th Olympic medal (15 gold, two silver, and two bronze), surpassing Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina as the most decorated medallist in the history of the Games.

GB gold count: 0

Golden moment: Chad le Clos pips two-time defending Olympic champion Michael Phelps for 200 metre butterfly gold


DAY 5: August 1 - GB off the mark

Key Moments:

  • A first gold for the host nation as Helen Glover and Heather Stanning power to victory in the women's coxless pair at Eton Dorney.
  • Bradley Wiggins beats Tony Martin of Germany and Team Sky and Team GB team-mate Chris Froome to seal GB’s second gold of the day - it is Wiggins' seventh Olympic medal

GB gold count: 2

Golden moment: Wiggins winning a British record seventh Olympic medal


DAY 6: August 2 - GB on a roll

Key Moments:

  • Peter Wilson seals men's double trap glory by two shots.
  • Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott edge out Team GB team-mates for gold in the men's canoe double (C2).
  • Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish break women's team sprint world record in qualification but are later relegated for an early exchange.
  • Philip Hindes, Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny break the men’s team sprint world record in the first round and the final as GB pick up another gold.
  • Michael Phelps claims a record-extending 20th Olympic medal and becomes the first male swimmer to win gold at three consecutive Olympics in the same event with victory in the 200 metre individual medley.
  • Gemma Gibbons, ranked 42nd in the world at the time, wins the silver medal in the 78kg category in judo.

GB gold count: 5

Golden moment: Chris Hoy equals Steve Redgrave's British record of five Olympic gold medals


DAY 7: August 3 – More world records fall

Key Moments:

  • A time of 3:51.659 secures Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh the world record and gold in the men's team pursuit.
  • Victoria Pendleton puts the disappointment of team sprint relegation behind her to claim Olympic Keirin gold.
  • Swimming sensation Missy Franklin doubles up in the backstroke adding the 200m to her 100m gold courtesy of a world-record time of 2:04.06.
  • Michael Phelps claims his record 17th Olympic gold medal this time in the men's 100 metre butterfly.
  • Defending Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington takes bronze behind 15-year-old US star Katie Ledecky and Spain's Mireia Belmonte in the 800 metre freestyle.
  • Women's double sculls success for GB's Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger continues the gold rush.
  • Andy Murray beats Novak Djokovic to set up a final against Roger Federer, who earlier defeated Juan Martin Del Potro in a lengthy contest.

GB gold count: 8

Golden moment: Phelps powers to his 17th Olympic gold medal

DAY 8 - August 4 - Three golds in 46 minutes on Super Saturday

Key Moments:

  • Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford win gold in the heptathlon, 10,000m and long jump at the Olympic Stadium to cap GB's most successful day at an Olympics since 1908.
  • GB also get golds from Danielle King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell in the women's team pursuit, Tom James, Pete Reed, Alex Gregory and Andrew Triggs Hodge in the coxless fours and Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking in the women's lightweight double sculls.
  • Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica defends her 2008 title in the women's 100 metres.
  • Serena Williams thrashes Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-0 in the final of the tennis at Wimbledon.
  • The final day of swimming see Michael Phelps seal his 18th gold medal at the Olympics, winning the men's 4x100 metre medley relay alongside Matt Grevers, Brendan Hansen, and Nathan Adrian.
  • Great Britain were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the football tournament after losing a dramatic penalty shoot-out against South Korea.

GB gold count: 14

Golden moment: Super Saturday, the greatest day in British Olympic history!

DAY 9: August 5 - Bolt continues streak, Murray's redemption

Key Moments:

  • Usain Bolt runs an Olympic record 9.63 seconds to beat compatriot Yohan Blake and Justin Gatlin of the US to retain his 100m crown, in a race that contained the four fastest men in history.
  • Ben Ainslie becomes the most successful sailor in Olympic history when he won the men's Finn class – his fifth medal overall.
  • Andy Murray exacts revenge for his Wimbledon final defeat against Roger Federer, beating the Swiss 6–2, 6–1, 6–3
  • Serena and Venus Williams beat Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic to win a third gold together.
  • Murray and Laura Robson take silver in the mixed doubles, with Belarusian pair Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi too strong in the final winning 2–6, 6–3, 10–8.
  • Louis Smith wins silver in the men's pommel horse with Max Whitlock making up the podium.
  • Ethiopia's Tiki Gelana wins the women's marathon in record time.

Golden moment: Andy Murray's redemption after Wimbledon heartache months earlier

GB gold count: 16

DAY 10: August 6 - Tweddle gets hands on elusive Olympic medal

Key Moments:

  • GB’s Beth Tweddle, a European, Commonwealth and world champion, wins bronze on the uneven bars at her third Games.
  • Jason Kenny adds a second gold of the Games, this time in the men's sprint.
  • Team show jumping goes to the GB quartet of Scott Brash, Peter Charles, Ben Maher and Nick Skelton after they win a jump-off against the Netherlands. It's GB's first gold in the event since 1952.

Golden moment: It wasn't a gold but Beth Tweddle completed her medal collection with an Olympic bronze to go alongside her European, Commonwealth and world golds

GB gold count: 18

DAY 11: August 7 - Track gold rush continues as Hoy cements legacy

Key Moments:

  • Laura Trott doubles up, adding the Omnium to her team pursuit gold
  • Chris Hoy takes gold in the Keirin, his sixth Olympic gold and seventh Olympic medal in total – level with Bradley Wiggins for the most for a British Olympian.
  • Alistair Brownlee takes gold in the triathlon, with his brother Jonathan taking bronze as the pair became the first brothers, having competed against each other, to stand on an Olympic podium together in 100 years.
  • Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin secure gold in the team dressage at Greenwich Park.

Golden moment: Chris Hoy seals a Brtish record sixth Olympic gold medal

GB gold count: 22

DAY 12: August 8 - US dominate at the Olympic Stadium

Key Moments:

  • Allyson Felix finally takes 200 metres gold after consecutive silvers at the previous two Olympics.
  • Aries Merritt runs a personal best of 12.92 to win gold in the 110m hurdles from world champion Jason Richardson.
  • Brittney Reese continues her dominance of the long jump despite four foul jumps in the final.
  • Team GB's hopes of gold in the women hockey are ended by a semi-final defeat to Argentina.

Golden moment: Allyson Felix secures 200m gold at the third time of asking

GB gold count: 22

DAY 13: August 9 - A day of firsts

Key Moments:

  • Nicola Adams of Great Britain wins the first ever women's Olympic boxing gold medal.
  • Jade Jones beat China's Hou Yuzhuo in the final of the women's 57 kg division to claim GB’s first ever Olympic taekwondo gold medal.
  • Usain Bolt wins 200m gold again as Jamaica sweep the podium, with Yohan Blake in second, and Warren Weir taking third.
  • Kenya's David Rudisha smashes his own world record with a time of 1:40.91 to win 800m gold.
  • Katie Taylor, of Ireland, wins women's lightweight gold.
  • Decathlon superstar Ashton Eaton wins the men's event.
  • Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin seals individual dressage with an Olympic record.
  • US beat world champions Japan for gold in the women’s football final.

Golden moment: Nicola Adams makes history with women's flyweight gold

GB gold count: 25

DAY 14: August 10 - Double silver for GB in sailing

Key Moments:

  • Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter claim 4x100m relay for US.
  • An Olympic record of 5.97 metres seals pole vault gold for France's Renaud Lavillenie.
  • Two silvers for GB in the sailing as Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell finish second in the men's 470 and Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark do the same in the women's event.
  • The Bahamas win their first medal of the Games and first ever for their men on the track as they beat Team USA in the 4x400m relay.

Golden moment: An evening of firsts for the Bahamas

GB gold count: 25

DAY 15: August 11 - Farah makes history

Key Moments:

  • Mo Farah wins gold in the 5,000m to become the first Briton and seventh man ever to win both the 10,000m and 5,000m races.
  • Lutalo Muhammad becomes the first British man to win a taekwondo medal at the Olympics as he takes bronze.
  • Ed McKeever follows up his 2010 World and European golds by winning the K-1 200 metre event.
  • Luke Campbell beats John Joe Nevin of Ireland to claim men's bantamweight gold for GB.
  • Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt break the world record to seal gold in the 4x100m relay.
  • Tom Daley overcomes some controversy and a re-dive to take bronze in the 10 metre platform behind David Boudia (US) and Qiu Bo (China) at the Aquatics Centre.
  • Oribe Peralta scores twice as Mexico beat Brazil in the men's football final.

Golden moment: Mo Farah seals his legacy by doubling up at home Olympics

GB gold count: 28

DAY 16: August 12 - AJ signs off in style

Key Moments:

  • Anthony Joshua beats reigning Olympic champion Roberto Cammarelle via a count-back
  • Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich wins gold in the marathon.
  • LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis and Carmelo Anthony lead USA to gold in basketball, beating Spain in the final.

Golden moment: AJ beats former two-time world champion Roberto Cammarelle to seal GB’s 29th and final gold of the Games.

GB gold count: 29


Screened daily between 24-31 May on Eurosport 2, #ReturntoLondon2012 will be dedicated to showcasing the historic moments from Team GB’s record-breaking Olympic success at the London 2012 Olympic Games, featuring a special daily highlights show.

The series will look back at the best of the London 2012 Olympic Games, telling the incredible tales of Team GB’s stars through the eyes of the athletes themselves.

Each episode will feature in-depth insights with retrospective interviews through the eyes of some of Great Britain’s brilliant athletes, including cycling greats Sir Bradley Wiggins, Lizzie Deignan, Sir Chris Hoy and Jo Rowsell. Looking back at the gymnastics will be Beth Tweddle, Max Whitlock and Kristian Thomas. Tom Daley, Rebecca Adlington and Adam Peaty will reflect on the action from the Aquatics Centre while Kath Grainger, Helen Glover and Greg Searle will analyse their successes on the water at Eton Dorney. Jade Jones, Gemma Gibbons and Anthony Ogogo will review their respective successes in fight sports and Super Saturday heroes Greg Rutherford and Sir Mo Farah will relive the special night when Team GB astonishingly secured three gold medals in just 48 minutes in the Olympic Stadium. Eurosport will also shine a light on some of the global stars of the Games including Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt.

Throughout the week, Orla Chennaoui will host Eurosport’s nostalgic trip down memory lane starting with Danny Boyle’s iconic Opening Ceremony. Each day will have a different sporting theme with the celebratory series set to strike the same chord that garnered such positivity across the nation ahead of what turned into one of the greatest sporting periods for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


  • Sunday 24th May (4pm) will see Eurosport 2 screen the widely acclaimed Opening Ceremony from the Olympic Stadium.
  • Monday 25th May (2pm and 4pm) will focus on cycling with Sir Bradley Wiggins and Lizzie Deignan discussing road cycling before six-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy and Jo Rowsell review the unprecedented Team GB successes in the velodrome.
  • Tuesday 26th May (2pm) will see Tom Daley join the team to review his medal-winning performance in diving whilst Adam Peaty – ear-marked as a future prospect back in 2012 - and double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington will reflect on the big stories of the Games from the pool.
  • Wednesday 27th May (2pm) will feature gymnasts Max Whitlock, Beth Tweddle and Kristian Thomas looking back on a Games that saw Team GB secure four medals for the first time in a single Olympics and kick-start a golden era for the sport in the UK.
  • Thursday 28th May (2pm) will see rower Helen Glover, winner of the first Team GB gold of the Games, as well as five-time Olympic medallist Kath Grainger and Men’s Eight medallist Greg Searle, discussing the memorable moments from Eton Dorney.
  • Friday 29th May (2pm) focuses on combat sports with boxing star Anthony Agogo discussing his and Team GB’s impressive performances in the ring, whilst medal-winning pair Jade Jones and Gemma Gibbons reflect on their taekwondo and judo successes respectively.
  • Saturday 30th May (2pm) will give viewers the chance to relive the iconic night of the games – known ever since as Super Saturday. On a memorable night at the Olympic Stadium, Team GB secured three gold medals with Greg Rutherford, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Sir Mo Farah all topping the podium. Greg and Mo will look back on the historic evening and discuss some of the other seminal moments.
  • Sunday 31st May (midnight) will see the week come to a close with Boyle’s equally impressive Closing Ceremony to book-end a celebratory period in the country’s sporting history.

Eurosport will also showcase some of the other memorable events during the week including the best of the action from the football competitions, canoeing and the standout Team GB performances in the equestrian.


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