The Olympic Stadium was packed with attendees who were even more eager to see the first medal events in athletics as they were to see the pageantry of the opening ceremony. No one from Great Britain medaled at track and field but the home athletes had good showings at other sites at the Olympic Park.
At the end of one week of competition, the USA maintains its lead in the medals race. The margin is slim, though. With 43 total medals the USA is just one ahead of China. Great Britain raised its game, emerging by the end of Day 7 as the fourth best nation in the medals rankings with a total of 22 medals so far.
The highlights for Team GB included two golds in track cycling - the Men's Team Pursuit and Victoria Pendleton in the Women's Keirin, a gold in Women's Double Sculls won by rowers Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger, bronze for Rebecca Adlington in the 800m freestyle, and Andy Murray, the 2012 Wimbledon finalist, has secured a minimum silver in singles tennis after his semi-final win over Serbia's Novak Djokovic (7-5, 7-5). Great Britain didn't get a place on the podium in the first athletics finals of the Games but they will have plenty more opportunities in the coming week.
Women's 200m backstroke. The darling of American swimming, Missy Franklin, followed up her 100m gold with another in the 200m. The 17-year-old blew the defending gold medalist Kirsty Coventry away with a time of 2:04.06, a 1% faster speed than Coventry's own electrifying race at the Beijing Games. Franklin's world record time was the perfect end to the last of her individual races at the XXX Olympiad.
Men's 100m butterfly. Like Franklin, the 100m fly was Michael Phelps's last individual event of the Games. And just like his teammate, Phelps raced to gold. His 51.21 time was 1.2% slower than his Beijing gold-medal swim, but enough to solidify his legacy of the all-time greatest Olympic champion with a career total of 17 golds and 21 medals overall.
Women's 800m freestyle. Britain's hopes for a swimming gold were thwarted again as Rebecca Adlington took her second bronze. The gold and silver went to American Katie Ledecky and Spain's Mireia Belmonte García with times of 8:14.63 and 8:18.76, respectively. Ledecky was a tad shy (0.1%) of Adlington's gold-medal time at Beijing, nothing like Keena Rothhammer 5.3% improvement on the standing gold record at the 1972 Munich Games, the second Olympic year this event was raced.
Men's 50m freestyle. Making its debut at the 1988 Games, the 50m free is the youngest of the swimming sprints. It has become the new measure of the fastest swimmer in the pool. For the men this summer the title goes to France's Florent Manaudou. His time was just 0.04 second slower than César Cielo's 2008 gold-medal swim. The defending champion took the third place this Olympic year.
Men's shot put. At Olympic Stadium, all the splendors from the open ceremony have been taken down, the track has been rolled out, and the athletes are ready to get to work. Day 7 was the first night to award medals in track and field events. Shot put has been a medal event since the inaugural games of Paris. The Shot put distances have been in a bit of a slump since the 1988 Games when Ulf Timmermann threw an impressive 22.47 meters. This summer, Poland's Tomasz Majewski didn't surpass that distance but did beat his Beijing gold-medal throw by 0.38 meters (1.7%).
Women's 10,000m. It was a second gold for Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia. The long-distance runner's time 30:20.75 was enough to outrun Kenyans Sally Kipyego and Vivian Cheruiyot but couldn't match her 1.4% faster gold-winning time at Beijing.
Men's 85kg. Though the light heavyweight has been an Olympic weightlifting event since 1920, the maximum weight in this weight class has only been at 85kg since 2000. The gold and silver medalist at the London Games were Poland's Adrian Zieliński and Russia's Apti Aukhadov, who each lifted a combined 385kg. An impressive performance for both men but still 9kg under the 2008 gold medal lift of China's Lu Yong and Belarusian Andrei Rybakou.
Women's 75kg. It was an impressive day for the heavyweight category of women's weightlifting. Both Zazakhstan's Svetlana Podobedova and Russia's Natalia Zabolotnaya lifted a total 291kg for the snatch and clean & jerk events, the gold medal going to the lighter lifter of the two Podobedova.