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Sports

Opinion: London put on a great show

DW sports journalist Stefan Nestler explains why he found the Olympic Games a true delight to watch - and why criticism of German athletes has been taken too far.

The 2012 Olympic Games were an impressive event. As the host, London offered exciting locations for the various sporting events. The marathon and cycling races passed by Buckingham Palace, the beach volleyball matches took place at the Horse Guards Parade ground, and the open water swimmers competed in Hyde Park.

The atmosphere was fantastic, whether in the stadium, on the streets, at Dorney Lake in Eton or at the other competition venues. The spectators celebrated all athletes - both the winners and the losers.

The Brits' golden performance

Stefan Nestler (DW / Per Henriksen)

Stefan Nestler

Naturally, there was an extra amount of cheering when British athletes won gold, silver and bronze medals - which happened more often than many had anticipated. The hosting worked out very well: in recent years, the British invested a lot of money into giving their athletes the best possible preparation for the Games. Now Great Britain is one of the "big three" in sport: behind the United States and China, and ahead of Russia. It will be interesting to observe whether they can maintain this rank in the future.

German Olympians may have been less successful in the gold-medal domain, but altogether managed to score more medals than at the Beijing Olympics. However, some people - those whose priority is national pride - see this negatively and complain about Germany's allegedly poor results. But while there are some points that need to be addressed - such as why the swimmers delivered their worst performance since 1932 - which scream for reforms in the German sporting world, many of the athletes did a brilliant job. Some of them, while not necessarily winning medals, managed to break their personal records, which is worthy of respect. Equal respect should be given to athletes from other countries who simply did better in the decisive moments.

Memorable moments

Several German athletes created some real magic and won gold. These included discus thrower Robert Harting, the men's eight rowing team and the sensational beach volleyball champions Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann.

The great performance of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt will also not go forgotten: his Olympic victories have earned him a legendary status, just like US swimmer Michael Phelps, who made history in London by winning his 19th Olympic medal. Meanwhile, the amount of doping cases remained low, which allowed us to concentrate more on the sport itself. And it was great, just like the games themselves.

Thank you, London!

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