2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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Fans gathered in London, around TV sets and online to witness a 16-day gathering of nations at the Olympics. Surprising Twitter missteps led to a couple of expulsions, but the keenest athletes displayed their talents in jubilant competition. Particularly buzzy were the advances for female athletes: the first-ever women's boxing matches, a very pregnant competitor, and the women on the U.S. team outnumbering men for the first time in Olympic history.

The U.S. women's gymnastics team, dubbed "The Fierce Five," captured American hearts along with the team gold medal. Disappointed silver medalist McKayla Maroney inspired imitators online and in real life (including in the Oval Office) with her "not impressed" face. Teen sensation Missy Franklin delivered, as did the U.S. women's soccer team and the dominant U.S. basketball teams.

And then there was Michael Phelps. Competing in his final Olympic Games, Phelps won six medals, four of them gold. In doing so, the Baltimore swimmer became the most decorated Olympian of all time.