07th Sep 2012
The London Olympics 2012 started off with a bang and ended like a long BritPop concert. The event is now done and dusted, with the 2012 Paralympics also ending this weekend. As we look back on what is being called India's best medal haul till date, let's see how Google paid tributes to the sporting mega event through its Doodles, ranked in ascending order of their "wow" factor:
7. Closing Ceremony 2012 (12th Aug)
As the games came to a close after 15 days of sporting conquests, the search giant's logo was lost in a riot of colour and celebration. In it, characters depicted over the previous fortnight made victory poses and strutted about amid a shower of confetti. Even so, the static image was a rather dull way to close out an otherwise impressive set of doodles that Google had displayed over the course of the event. In comparison, the Beijing 2008 closing ceremony doodle was a bit more elegant and organized, as was its closing ceremony celebration. A rather disappointing end to a colourful journey, this doodle finishes last on my list.
6. Opening Ceremony 2012 (27th Jul)
As the London 2012 games was inaugurated with much fanfare, Google kicked off its series with a fancy doodle. Unlike the one with mascots and Olympic rings that graced its homepage for Beijing's opening ceremony four years ago, this logo highlighted six sports instead. These included swimming \ diving, javelin throwing, fencing, football, basketball, and athletics — a refreshing way to start the thirtieth summer games. The best doodle (in a short list) to mark the beginning of an Olympic games, this one features at number six because it's a significant improvement over its predecessor.
5. Slalom Canoe 2012 (9th Aug)
A few days before the close, Google decided to highlight a sport that's mostly unheard of in our part of the world. This interactive doodle requires you to row a kayak through a stream to reach the finish line in the fastest possible time, passing through each "gate" as you proceed. For the uninitiated, a kayak is a type of canoe originally used by Eskimos, and in its present form, consists of a lightweight boat with a closed top that is steered by a paddle with blades at both ends. While the canoe sprint consists of a straight race to the finish line through calm waters, the slalom version requires the rower to manoeuvre his boat through white water rapids, passing through each gate formed by suspending two poles close together over the water. Canoe slalom was first included in the 1972 games, but became a permanent feature only in 1992. Dominated mainly by the European nations, you can view the final medal standings here. Click the title link to "play" the doodle. Although a fun experience, it finishes low on my list because it took me quite a while to understand the game and get the hang of it. After many tries though, I managed to reach the finish line in 19.4 seconds. Not bad, eh?
4. Synchronized Swimming 2012 (5th Aug)
Although it wasn't interactive, the Synchronized Swimming doodle was the best-looking one of the lot. It features eight swimmers forming the first "o" in Google's logo floating in a pool. The attention to detail in this artwork is commendable. The sport, which is open only for women, was first included in the 1984 summer games, and has been dominated by teams from Russia, Canada, and Japan. The former has won gold since 2000, successfully defending its title in the 2012 edition as well. Looking at the amount of work that went into this doodle, I couldn't rank it any lower.
3. Hurdles 2012 (7th Aug)
In a first of sorts, Google put up the first interactive doodle related to the Olympics, resembling an 80s-style video game. Users had to jump over obstacles as they ran to the finish line. They could then display their scores on their Google+ account. Needless to say, for many, this became the find of the day, as people eagerly tried to better their friends's scores - so much so that reports of dipping employee productivity began to emerge.
As for the medals, Australia's Sally Pearson bagged gold, with Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells from the US coming second and third in the 100 m women's hurdles. The 110 m men's hurdles was won by Aries Merritt of the US, with compatriot Jason Richardson in second and Hansle Parchment of Jamaica in third. Click the title link to play the doodle. The first dozen times, I walked through all the hurdles and struggled with mistimed jumps. However, the game was fun to try out, and I managed to get a time of 12.6 seconds. Considering that I am not a fan of video games, this doodle finishes third on my list. What was your best time?
2. Soccer 2012 (10th Aug)
The last interactive doodle that Google showcased revolved around football (or soccer, as the US-based search giant likes to call it). The simplest game of the lot, you're expected to stop goals from being scored — three misses and the game's over.
Men's football has been a part of every Olympics except 1896 and 1932, whereas the sport was introduced for women only in 1996. In this year's competition, five-time FIFA World Cup champions Brazil fell to a shocking 1-2 defeat against Mexico, which has not even finished in the top four in any World Cup. Meanwhile, South Korea's dream run culminated in a first-ever football medal: bronze. In the women's competition, USA picked up the gold, with Japan and Canada bagging silver and bronze respectively. Click the title link to play the doodle. This one is my second favourite doodle of the lot, because it was the easiest to play, earned me the best score (45 goals saved: 3 stars!), and worked well even with a mouse. This way, my boss remained unaware of the time I was wasting, since I didn't need the noisy spacebar any more.
1. Basketball 2012 (8th Aug)
After the success of its Hurdles doodle, Google came up with an even more interesting creation, based on the popular game of basketball. The aim is simple — shoot as many hoops as you can in 24 seconds, then share the score in your Google+ account.
Basketball was initiated in the 1936 Olympics for men and 1976 for women. It has been dominated by the US, its country of origin, in both forms, and the 2012 games were no different. Team USA bagged gold in both the men's and women's events, with Spain and France getting silver and Russia and Australia in the third spot. Click the title link to play the doodle. This one's my favourite, because I loved shooting hoops as a kid in school. Although I am far from being athletic now, the PC still allows us armchair sports lovers to enjoy the game. I netted 21 baskets in 24 seconds, which is not bad at all. Can you do better?
Which doodle did you like best, and what was your score in each? Let us know in the comments.
Top 7 Google Doodles From The London 2012 Olympics
A selection of Google's creativity on display while celebrating the biggest sporting event of the year.
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