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The Star photo desk's favourite photos from the London 2012 Olympics

Thousands upon thousands of photos from the London Olympics poured in over the wires over the last two and a half weeks. It was enough to make your eyes go permanently fuzzy, but it's truly been a pleasure to spend all day sorting through the images that capture the highs, lows and in-betweens of these athletes' journeys. Photographers have said the Olympics are their hardest assignment, but also the most rewarding — I think it's also accurate for those on the desk to say the same.



Artists wave Union Jack flags as they perform during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the Olympic stadium in London on August 12, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images/Gabriel Bouys)



A performer playing the role of Britain's Queen Elizabeth parachutes from a helicopter during the opening ceremony on July 27, 2012. (Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch)



Venus Williams of the U.S. takes part in a training session at the All England Lawn Tennis Club on July 26, 2012. (Reuters/Stefan Wermuth)



Canadian diver Alexandre Despatie resurfaces after going off the one-metre springboard during a training session at the Aquatic Centre on July 27, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



Russia's Aliya Mustafina warms up before competing in the balance beam during the women's individual all-around gymnastics final on August 2, 2012. (Reuters/Mike Blake)



Germany's Christina Wenzel attempts to catch empty cartridges from the barrel of her rifle as she competes in the skeet women shooting final on July 29, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images/Marwan Naamani)



Even princesses are subject to security checks! Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrives for the women's handball preliminary match between Croatia and Great Britain on Aug. 5, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)



Sisterly love at Wimbledon — the United States' Serena Williams (L) looks at her sister Venus Williams as they pose on the podium after receiving their gold medal for winning the women's doubles tennis tournament on August 5, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images/Luis Acosta)



Russia's Anastasia Vasina and Anna Vozakova react after scoring a point against Switzerland's Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr during a beach volleyball match on Aug. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)



Canada's Meaghan Benfeito (front) and Roseline Filion perform their second dive dive during the women's synchronised 10m platform final on July 31, 2012. (Reuters/David Gray)



Gabrielle Douglas of the U.S. performs her floor exercise during the women's individual all-around gymnastics final on August 2, 2012. The world fell in love with gymnast Douglas, the 'Flying Squirrel' who became the first African American to win an Olympic title in the women's individual all-round event. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)



Jamaica's Usain Bolt (R) leaps ahead to win the men's 100m final on August 5, 2012. (Reuters/Michael Dalder)



Street artist James Cochran, aka Jimmy C, puts the finishing touches to a piece of work depicting the face of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt on July 20, 2012 in London. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)



Ryan Cochrane's teammates shout to him after he wins the silver medal in the 1500-metre freestyle final on August 4, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



Paula Findlay, who finished last in a disastrous performance after coming back from injury, receives a bit of a lift from Canadian fans during her run during the women's triathlon on August 4, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



Paula Findlay is overcome with emotion during her triathlon run on August 4, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



Canada's Jared Connaughton reacts after the men's 4x100m relay final on August 11, 2012. Canada finished third but were disqualified when Connaughton stepped on the lane line. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)



Coach Dave Ross, Rosannagh MacLennan and Karen Cockburn react to a fall by the final jumper. The fall secured a gold medal for Rosannagh MacLennan, who won Canada's only gold of the Games with her performance in trampoline on August 4, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



Rosannagh MacLennan performs in qualifying on the trampoline on August 4, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



Michael Phelps of the U.S. prepares to take part in his men's 200m individual medley heat on August 1, 2012. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)



The U.S.' McKayla Maroney's face shows her displeasure at her silver medal performance in the women's vault on August 5, 2012. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)



Canada's Antoine Valois-Fortier, top, reacts after defeating United State's Travis Stevens in a bronze medal match during the men's 81-kg judo competition on July 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)



Great Britain's Katherine Copeland cries during the award ceremony for the lightweight women's rowing double sculls after winning the gold medal on Aug. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)



Canadian sprinter Justyn Warner is upset after Canada was disqualified from the bronze medal in the 4x100m on August 11, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



Canadian sprinter Oluseyi Smith buries his face in his hands as Justyn Warner lays on the track after their team was disqualified in the 4x100m relay on Aug. 11, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



A-Lam Shin of Korea cries after losing to Britta Heidemann of Germany in the women's epee individual fencing semifinals on July 30, 2012. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)



Christine Sinclair celebrates with the team as Canada wins the bronze medal beating France 1-0 in the bronze medal soccer match on August 9, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



The United States women's eight rowing team throw their cox Mary Whipple into the water as they celebrate with their gold medals on August 2, 2012. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)



Stroke seat Will Crothers leaps into the lake in celebration as the Canadian men's eight rowing team celebrates their silver medal on August 1, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



Canadian Alexandre Despatie dives off the three-metre springboard during a training session on July 27, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



Athletes run through the Leadenhall Market as they compete in the men's marathon on Aug. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)



Mexico's Tamara Vega falls from her horse Douce de Roulad during the riding show jumping part of the women's Modern Pentathlon on August 12, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images/John MacDougall)



Cyclists compete during the men's omnium elimination race cycling event on August 4, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images/Carl de Souza)



Kazakhstan's Serik Sapiyev celebrates after capturing the gold medal in the Men's Welter (69kg) boxing competition on August 12, 2012. (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)



The Spice Girls perform in the closing ceremonies on August 12, 2012. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)



Trampolinists Karen Cockburn (left) and Rosie MacLennan (right) rise above a mass of Canadian athletes during the closing ceremonies on August 12, 2012. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)



Technicians pose for a souvenir photo at the conclusion of the boxing competition on August 12, 2012. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)



The Olympic Stadium fills with spectators, seen through the flames from the cauldron, before the closing ceremonies on August 12, 2012. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)


For more photos from the Olympics, check out Star photographer Steve Russell's favourites frames from London.




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