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The ten greatest moments of the Games
IT has featured two of the best weeks of sport ever witnessed, but the London Olympics come to an end tomorrow when the Olympic Stadium stages the closing ceremony. Chief Sports Writer Scott Wilson selects his ten personal sporting highlights of the Games
1. Kat Copeland and Sophie Hosking win gold in the lightweight double sculls
It was enough that Ingleby Barwick's Copeland created history when she became the first North-east woman ever to win an Olympic gold medal. Rowing with former Durham University student Hosking, she obliterated a world-class field. But what will really live in the memory is the euphoric reaction she shared with her partner.
“Oh my God, we've won the Olympics,” screamed Copeland, before the pair both burst into tears on the medal podium as the national anthem began to play. It was a moment of raw emotion – the epitome of what makes the Olympic Games so great.
2. Sir Chris Hoy claims a record-breaking sixth gold medal
The velodrome had already witnessed some incredible sights when Hoy lined up for the final track event of the Games in the keirin. But the best had been saved for last.
Attempting to become the first Briton to win six Olympic gold medals, the Scot appeared to be in trouble when German Maximilian Levy headed him on the sprint to the line.
But digging into his incredible reserves of energy and spirit, Hoy rallied to pull clear again and claim the gold that turned him into Britain's most successful ever Olympian. Cue utter pandemonium and one of the greatest moments in the history of British sport.
3. Mo Farah charges around the last lap to claim 10,000m gold
'Super Saturday' had already lived up to its name by the time Farah took to the track for the men's 10,000m final, and Britain's greatest ever distance runner provided the perfect climax as he secured his first Olympic gold.
Having held his position through a tactical race that saw groups of African runners combining in an attempt to unsettle him, Farah struck for home shortly before the bell.
For a brief moment, it looked as though he would be reeled in, as he had been in last year's World Championship final, but with 80,000 screaming supporters urging him on, he stretched away further in the closing stages to claim an unforgettable win.
4. Usain Bolt retains his 100m crown
Always the most eagerly-awaited event of the Games, the 100m final began with Bolt under pressure. He had lost his world title the previous summer and been beaten in the Jamaican trials. Was his claim to be the fastest man in the world about to be disproved?
Not a bit of it. Despite a slow start, the Jamaican blew his opponents away in the middle of the race and was well clear by the time he powered across the line.
His time of 9.63secs was a new Olympic record, and comfortably the fastest time ever seen in Great Britain. When he subsequently retained his 200m crown as well, Bolt's status as the greatest sprinter of all time was secured.
5. Jess Ennis sprints to 800m victory to secure her heptathlon gold
It could have been little more than a victory procession. After a superb six-event series, Ennis was miles ahead of her rivals as the heptathlon came to its conclusion with the 800m.
But rather than relaxing, British athletics' poster girl was determined to put on a show for the crowd. She burst clear early on, and while her rivals came back to her with around 200m to go, she kicked clear again in the final straight.
With the Olympic Stadium crowd rising as one, she crossed the line and immediately broke into the broadest of grins. We always knew Ennis was a superstar – what a way to prove just how good she has become.
6. Nicola Adams becomes the first female boxer ever to win Olympic gold
There had been plenty of dissenting voices when women's boxing was finally added to the Olympic programme ahead of the London Games, but the sport proved one of the biggest hits during the fortnight of competition.
Adams flew the flag for England, boxing superbly as she made her way into the flyweight final against China's Ren Cancan.
On paper, it looked like being a closely-fought final. In the ring, however, it was a completely different story as Adams completely outclassed her opponent. Her joy at winning gold was infectious – few other British medals were celebrated with such unbridled passion.
7. Michael Phelps makes history as he becomes the most successful Olympian of all time
He ended the Olympics with 22 medals to his name, but it was number 19 that was the most special as Phelps broke Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's record for the most medals won.
The historic moment came in the final of the 4x200m freestyle relay as Phelps raced through the last leg to provide the United States team with a comprehensive success.
He went on to produce even better performances in the Aquatic Centre, most notably when he outclassed Ryan Lochte to win the 200m individual medley. But it was his relay gold that created history and confirmed Phelps as the most successful Olympian in the history of the Games.
8. Bradley Wiggins surges to Olympic gold in the men's time trial
It is easy to forget now, but in the early stages of the Games, there were fears that Team GB would flop. Helen Glover and Heather Stanning had just secured the nation's first gold when Wiggins set off on his time trial, but in the wake of a disappointing road race, British supporters were desperate for a high-profile success.
Calmly, confidently, comprehensively, Wiggins delivered it. Powering around the roads close to Hampton Court, the Tour de France champion pedalled his rivals into submission.
In the end, he won by 42 seconds, a huge margin in an Olympic time trial, and claimed the fourth gold medal of his career. Needless to say, he then proceeded to celebrate in style.
9. Andy Murray claims Olympic tennis gold at Wimbledon
The arguments about tennis' place at the Olympics continue to rage, but Murray bought into the Olympic ethos from the start and was desperate to deliver for his British fans.
His task in the final could hardly have been tougher, as he was pitted against Roger Federer, who had beaten him on centre court just a month earlier in the Wimbledon final.
However, Murray turned the tables in style, thrashing Federer in straight sets to secure the biggest win of his career. Later the same afternoon, he paired up with Laura Robson to claim silver in the mixed doubles.
10. Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins win the women's double sculls
Prior to this Olympics, Grainger boasted the biggest hard luck story on the British team. She had claimed silver medals at each of the previous three Olympics and appeared destined to never quite manage gold.
Yet in partnership with Watkins, she broke her duck in fantastic fashion at Eton Dorney, dominating her heavyweight double sculls final to end one of the longest waits in sport.
Joyful and triumphant, she spoke eloquently about finally fulfilling a lifetime ambition. This Games has produced a host of role models, but Grainger is probably the most inspirational of all.
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