Summer Olympics In Photos, Part 1: The Best 42 Images From The Opening Week

From the Opening Ceremony to Michael Phelps in the pool to Gabby Douglas on the beam, we present some of the best photos from the first week of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

"The 2012 Summer Olympics are over, but the memories will last a lifetime!"

That's probably something NBC has said by now, perhaps while trying to sell you a commemorative dish, or a collection of pins (I'll never understand the Olympic pin obsession). But in reality, you'll probably soon forget most of what you saw in London, if you haven't already (quick -- who won the decathlon? Right.). Your sports mind needs to start making room for the final weeks of the baseball season, NFL training camps getting started and, I dunno, non-stop Tim Tebow news, apparently. So gone is the name Ashton Eaton.

But fortunately, in addition to the thousands of athletes at the Olympics, there were also thousands of people with cameras, and they took thousands and thousands of pictures. The 2012 Games, perhaps more than any before, will be preserved forever in amazing photos. What follows in an attempt to catalog some of the best from the first week of competition (Part 2 will run Wednesday). Since there were literally tens of thousands of photos to sort through, I tended to focus on gold medal events and American athletes.


The Opening Ceremony was weird, sure, but it made for some amazing fireworks shots. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)


(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)


Hahaha, I mean, I don't even. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)


Whoa. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)


We covered this already, but bears repeating that the Netherlands won the SWAGGED OUT medals. All of them. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)


(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)


The Olympic Cauldron (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)


More fireworks awesomeness (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


Sir Chris Hoy -- yep, he's a gold-medal winning cyclist and a knight -- leads Great Britain during the Opening Ceremony. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)


Jake Kaminski helped land the United States its first medal of the games, a silver in Men's Team Archery (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)


A face never seen before: Michael Phelps' reaction to not winning a final in the Olympics (he finished fourth in the Men's 400m IM) (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)


Alexandr Vinokurov of Kazakhstan wins the Men's Road Race (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


One of the coolest beach volleyball venues ever, at Horse Guards Parade (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)


A multiple exposures shot of Carolin Golubytskyi of Germany against Elisa Di Francisca of Italy in Women's Foil (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)


Lazy (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)


Cameron van der Burgh (South Africa) won the 100m Breastsroke and then relaxed in disbelief in pretty awesome fashion (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)


In a bit of revenge from 2008, France celebrates after beating the United States in the 4x100m Freestyle Relay. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)


Kimberly Rhode during the Women's Trap Shooting Qualification. (she won gold in Women's Skeet earlier in the week)


Little known rule: If you're putting together a best of pictures post, this photo of China's Ning Ding legally had to be included. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)


The exact moment Chad le Clos of South Africa realized he won gold in the 200m Butterfly. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)


Rebecca Soni, swimming in a Busta Rhymes video. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)


It was difficult not just make this a collection of like, 80 underwater swimming pictures. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)


You want to see this dunk in GIF form, don't you? Who could blame you -- here it is. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


Judo looks very normal and fun. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)


"LOL nope!" -- Mystery Whisper (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)


This is an actual Olympic event. OK, no, not really, but it is the British photo from the Olympics. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)


Jinsun Jung of Korea celebrates his bronze medal win in Epee against Seth Kelsey of the United States (in a Busta Rhymes video). They decided to stop using real swords after this. RIP Seth (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)


Swimming -- swimming! -- might be the sport that lends itself to some of the coolest photos. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)


The United States women's eight rowing team finished last. Their cox Mary Whipple was punished. (KIDDING you guys, relax -- this is them celebrating their gold medal. They just really don't like Mary Whipple.) (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


This photo of Gabby Douglas on beam during the individual all-around, taken by Greg Bull of the Associated Press, might just be the image of the Olympics.


Just going to call this "WINGSPAN" (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)


You can't convince me track cycling isn't a sport from some future, post-apocalyptic world. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)


Team USA's Katie Ledecky, just 15 years old, reacts after winning the 800m Freestyle gold medal -- For more on Ledecky and an exclusive look at her return home, check out The Full Nelson (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)


Serena Williams finally won her singles gold medal. Then, at the Olympics -- at Wimbledon -- she did a crip-walk. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


Things were really heating up on the track! (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)


This man is the very definition of the nickname "HOSS" (Reese Hoffa won bronze in shot put) (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)


Godfrey Khotso Mokoena of South Africa, flying through the air during long jump (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)


This is simply one of the best photos from the Olympics. Great Britain's Mo Farah, in front, celebrating his gold medal in the 10,000m while American Galen Rupp, his training partner and silver medalist, screams "MOOOOO!" Just the best. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)


That's how much Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the women's 100m by over Carmelita Jeter (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


Team USA's Carmelita Jeter was still plenty pleased with her silver though (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)


Yang Sun was pretty excited after winning gold in the men's 1500m Freestyle (he set a new world record in the event) (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)


The greatest ever says goodbye to the Olympics Saturday night. Michael Phelps leaves the Games with 22 career medals, 18 of them gold (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics hub.

And now let's watch the final 8-bit medal count video: