The bell sounded the end of the third round and both fighters took to their corners. The audience was noticeably nervous to hear the judges announce the final result, but still bellowed with the support of a home crowd.
“And the winner, with a judges score of 14-11, is Luke Campbell of Great Britain!”
The crowd erupted in elation. Campbell threw his arms in the air, returning the crowd’s love. His job was complete; he knew he had made his country proud.
This was the scene last Saturday at Excel Arena, where Campbell became one of Great Britain’s 29 gold medalists. In a Summer Olympics where hosting the games seemed exciting enough for many supporters of Team GB, they have managed to have their most successful Olympics in history.
“Really quite nothing like it in recent memory. Not football, not the Tour (de France); this has got to be the greatest moment in Britain’s athletic history,” said Oliver Perkins, of London, who had just returned from watching some of the Olympic events with his mates.
After winning the Tour de France in mid July, Bradley Wiggins, affectionately known as “Wiggo,” kicked off the games by winning gold in the cycling time trial. While supporters of Team GB were ecstatic with Wiggo’s gold, they had no idea of the dominance the game’s host country would display during the rest of the Olympics.
“I never thought it would go this well for Team GB, but I must say it is brilliant we’re doing so well,” said Tom Bellack, a gamesmaker. “It really has added to the all-around success of the games.”
Talk of Wiggins being knighted by Her Royal Majesty was rumored when Scotsman, Andy Murray, won gold against arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time, Roger Federer, in the men’s tennis singles final. After Murray’s redemption of his Wimbledon final against Federer, the dominoes began to fall.
Jessica Ennis won gold in the heptathlon, Zara Phillips (granddaughter of the Queen of England) won silver in equestrian, and then Team GB’s dominance of the Velodrome began. Winning 7 gold medals in just 10 events in the Velodrome, the results had other countries in bewilderment of how strong the British performances were. Isabella Gautheron, France’s cycling chief, even went as far to suggest they were using dirty tactics and “magic” wheels.
“They hide their wheels a lot. The ones for the bikes they race on are put in wheel covers at the finish,” said Gautheron to French newspaper L’Equipe.
While some countries have questioned how they are doing it, Great Britain’s overall success cannot be denied. Team GB finished third in the final medal count, amassing 29 gold medals and 65 medals overall, making this statistically the greatest Olympics in their history. Team GB finished fourth in medal count at the Beijing Olympics, but that has not compared to the national pride felt from winning in these 2012 games, according to David Ackley, a fan of Great Britain and the Olympics. Being the host of the games as well as one of the top medal winners has support of Team GB at an all-time high.
“Having them do so well has really sparked Londoners interest in the games,” Ackley said. “I’ve never seen the city bursting with so much pride for our athletes.”
While larger countries like America and China dominated the overall medal count, Great Britain’s success has made the people of the UK proud, Ackley said.
“Hosting the games and competing like we have, has really made us all proud.”