It's time to extinguish The Torch, and end NPR's three-week marathon of Olympic coverage. From the London Games' opening ceremony through 302 medal events, these Summer Olympics have fed fans a rich diet of history and spectacle. I only wish I'd been able to eat it all — but part of the Olympics' allure is that its smorgasbord is over-stuffed with intense competition.
It's nearly time to extinguish The Torch, and end NPR's little marathon of Olympic coverage. Before we do, we must note that the games have now become the most-watched television event in U.S. history, with a total of 219.4 viewers over 17 days of coverage.
Those high ratings push the London Games past Beijing 2008, which held the previous record of 215 million viewers. The number seems to include only NBC's TV audience, not mobile or online.
They've been called the first "Social Games" — and the London Summer Olympics have delivered on that promise, making social stars out of athletes like gymnast Gabby Douglas, who saw her Facebook fanbase grow by nearly 4,000 percent during the games.
Gymnasts Marcel Nguyen and Jordyn Wieber were also among the big winners on Facebook, according to a research firm that tracked athletes' fan numbers during the games.
The London 2012 Olympics were billed as the Social Games, with Twitter, Facebook and other services making it an immersive experience. But it might be remembered as "The Crying Games," for the swelling of emotions many Britons experienced. We run down some of the Olympics' winners and losers:
Originally published on Sun August 12, 2012 7:43 pm
The last medals of the London Games were just presented at the end of the women's modern pentathlon.
Like it did in the last three Olympics, the United States dominated. Last time around in Beijing, China outdid the States in total gold medals but this year, the U.S. climbed back proving itself in pretty much every category.
Phelps dives into the pool for his last Olympic race. He says that his plans for post-Olympic life include finally seeing the cities he's competed in.
Credit Clive Rose / Getty Images
Phelps leaves the pool after his final Olympic swim, in the men's 4x100 meter medley relay. Phelps, who won his 18th gold medal in the race, has said "I am getting older, and I do find it harder to recover" after events.
Credit Chris Graythen / Getty Images for Visa
Michael Phelps poses with one of his record 22 Olympic medals after a press conference presented by Visa in London. Now that he's retired, Phelps hopes to see some of the world's cities that he's competed in.
Credit Al Bello / Getty Images
Michael Phelps accepts a trophy commemorating his status as the most-decorated Olympian from FINA president Julio Maglione. Phelps is retiring from Olympic swimming at 27.
Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 7:36 am
When Michael Phelps came to London for the 2012 Summer Games, he had 14 Olympic gold medals. He's leaving with 18 and a record 22 overall. And now he's retiring at 27, leaving the sport in which he always said he wanted to do things that had never been done before.