Pushed to greater heights by a competitive field which saw reigning Olympic champions Zou Kai of China set the pace with a difficulty level of 7.9 and a score of 16.366 before Germany's Fabian Hambuchen upped the ante with 16.400, Zonderland pulled off a personal best and an unprecedented routine that culminated with the hardest release dismount -- a Cassina to a Kovacs to a Kolman -- possible in the discipline. Zonderland was awarded 16.533 points and a place in gymnastics folklore.
Rudisha smashes 800m world record
"My best moment was David Rudisha, just a spectacular performance. Bolt was good but this guy was just magnificent, from a different planet," was the appraisal of Seb Coe, the chairman of the London 2012 Organizing Committee, after watching the men's 800m final.
Coe should know a thing or two about the discipline, having won two silver medals for the distance at the Moscow '80 and Los Angeles '84 Games.
Rudisha blew away his opponents -- six of whom set personal bests -- and smashed the world record with a time of one minute 40.91 seconds to win gold. The Kenyan is only the third man in 36 years to reduce the world record for the distance, and the feat was hailed by Coe as "moving on the event" in a way that has not happened for 20 years.
Rudisha's Masai tribe are now faced with the task of topping the celebration they prepared for him after he first broke the record in 2010, when they slaughtered 50 cows!
USA's flying female foursome
Carmelita Jeter knew it was a fast time; that's why she pointed with incredulity at the clock as she ran over the finish line as if to say: "Even I don't believe it!"
But it was not a dream: the U.S. women's 4x100m quartet of Jeter (who anchored), Allyson Felix, Tianna Madison and Bianca Knight set the London track on fire with a blistering relay time of 40.82 to win America's first gold in the discipline since 1996.
A full half-second was blown from a world record that had held firm for 27 years, and they beat a formidable Jamaican team to boot.
"As I'm running, I'm looking at the clock and seeing this time that's like 37, 38, 39. In my heart, I said, 'We just did it!' I definitely knew we ran well," Jeter told reporters.
The race was just one of three fantastic performances from Felix in London. The 26-year-old claimed gold in the women's 200m before running with Dee Dee Trotter, Francena McCorory and Sanya Richards-Ross in the 4x400m where she helped the U.S. to their fifth straight gold in the event.
Murray banishes Wimbledon woe
Being a tennis player in Britain carries a weight of responsibility that few other sports can match, for despite hosting arguably the most coveted grand slam on the circuit there has not been a home winner of Wimbledon in the men's or women's singles since Virgina Wade triumphed in 1977.
The pressure exerted by the home crowd on any man or woman who progresses to the knockout stages of the competition usually becomes so overbearing that performance crumbles and hopes are vanquished for yet another year.
Andy Murray has been the latest racket wielder to experience this spiral of self-defeating collective action by the British public. The 25-year-old Scot almost broke the hoodoo when he battled with Swiss master Roger Federer in this year's final before bowing out in an emotional 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 defeat.
But the magic of hosting the Games affected both the crowd at Wimbledon (the venue for the Olympic tennis competition) and something in the heart of Murray. After making it to the final, where Federer stood once again on the other side of the Centre Court net as his opponent, he did not buckle under the burden but rose to play what he hailed as the "biggest win of his life."
Murray steamrolled arguably the best tennis player to live in straight sets 6-2 6-1 6-4 to win gold, four weeks to the day after losing the slam final on the same piece of grass.
After topping the medal table in Beijing, China was always going to be keen to maintain the winning streak at the 2012 Olympics -- and garnering over 80 medals has to be seen as a success.
Gold, silver and bronze were won in diverse disciplines but one of the greatest breakthrough areas for China was in the swimming pool. It was in this domain that Ye Shiwen, one of the Asian nation's biggest stars, emerged in London.
The 16-year-old created headlines around the world by winning the 400m individual medley in a world-record time of four minutes 28.43 seconds. In doing so, she shaved five seconds from her personal best and completed the last 50m freestyle in a time quicker than America's Ryan Lochte, the champion of the men's equivalent event. She also claimed gold in the women's 200m individual medley setting a new Olympic record in the process.
The times were so extraordinary that the Chinese Swimming Association was forced to issue a statement denying allegations Ye had been taking performance-enhancing drugs. Curious too that the same cynicism in the world's press did not follow any of the other performances listed here in the same manner.
Uganda's marathon man
Nations like Uganda do not figure in the scrap for Olympic medals often, and in the run-up to London 2012 there was no reason to think that this would change at the 30th Olympiad.