We never thought they could do it. But credit where credit is due, Olympic Chairman Lord Coe, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Olympic ambassador David Beckham were just three of a Games team of thousands of volunteers and staff who made the Olympics sensational, defying the odds of British negativity, traditional sporting failure and terrible weather.
Take that Mitt!
Hillsborough Family Support Group members Jenny Hick, Margaret Aspinall and Trevor Hicks are this year's heroes for their tireless campaign for justice for the 96 Liverpool fans killed 23 years ago at Hillsborough.
They uncovered the most damning evidence possible, that police and medics' failures contributed to the deaths of fans, unfairly blamed the dead for the 1989 tragedy and sought to cover up their actions.
These families never gave up searching for the truth, and even got an apology from the Sun's Kelvin Mackenzie.
The Labour MP for Walthamstow began a personal crusade, Sharkstoppers, to stop payday loan companies taking advantage of the vulnerable with crippling interest rates of up to 16,000% APR.
The MP, who described herself as an 'indie kid' to HuffPost UK, was trolled on Twitter by a Wonga employee, and made an enemy of big businesses, but has kept up her campaign and led the party on the issue, marking her out as a rising star.
Throughout the bloody Syrian conflict, one organisation has tirelessly campaigned to keep Bashar al-Assad's brutality in the news - Rami Abdulrahman's Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London.
According to Wikipedia, SOHR has been cited by virtually every western news outlet since the beginning of the uprising, despite being run from a two-bedroom terraced house in Coventry, it keeps track of almost every death and every attack in a country where it is almost too dangerous for press or charities to enter.
In a year when Syrian deaths and destruction could have fallen off the news agenda as the conflict rumbles on, SOHR keep on reminding people what is happening.
They said he couldn't do it. But we (and Nate Silver) definitely knew he probably would.
President Barack Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to win a second term in the White House, despite right-wing pundits saying his time was up.
But America said it wasn't.
Or should that be his mother Janis Sharp?
Gary McKinnon's ten-year battle against extradition came to an end this year after Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed that he would not be placed in the hands of US authorities for hacking into sensitive US websites - labelled 'the biggest military computer hack of all time'.
He was deemed a suicide risk if he were extradited.
Mother, Janis Sharp, fought for 10 years to get justice for her 'seriously ill' son.
Author Hilary Mantel won her second Man Booker Prize, for her novel Bring Up the Bodies, at the Guildhall in central London.
She single handedly proved that Tudor historical dramas could be better than The Tudors or The Other Boelyn Girl.
He loves basketball, he's married to a women almost as famous as him, and he is now one of the most powerful people on the planet - but his name is not Barack Obama.
Xi Jinping, known in China as "the princeling" took over from President Hu Jintao after the Communist Party Congress, just as the US election results rolled in.
Egyptians elected the Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi, the country's first freely elected president in modern history.
The country also played a key role in establishing a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas - allaying some worries that the Brotherhood would take a more extreme position on peace in the Middle East.
But Morsi has soon set about sparking other Egyptian and Western fears about the Brotherhood, by granting himself swathes of extra power.
Nasa's Curiosity rover, a £1.6 billion, one-tonne robot the size of a Mini Cooper, landed on Mars, in one of the most daring and difficult interplanetary operations attempted.
The pictures and tests taken by the Rover will help scientists evaluate a Martian crater that billions of years ago may have been filled with water.
Was 2012 the year the UK really embraced the monarchy again?
As HuffPost UK editor Carla Buzasi said of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee: "It may have poured with rain as the flotilla made its way up the Thames and millions turned out for their street parties, but if the sun had been out, then, well, that just wouldn't have been very British would it?
"And if there is a nation out there that can drink Champagne and munch on soggy cupcakes in the rain quite like the Brits, I'd love to know where they reside.
"The collective pride was evident in the self-satisfied editorials across the British press in the aftermath. The Queen congratulated not so much on her long-standing reign, but for the fact she stood for the entirety of the cold, four-hour punt up the river."
MP George Galloway was once a political laughing stock, after his defeat at the general election and his cat-impersonating antics in Celebrity Big Brother.
But gorgeous George came storming back into Westminster, with victory for Respect in the Bradford West by-election.
It wasn't all roses for Galloway, after he enraged the nation with his comments about Julian Assange's "sexual etiquette" which he denied was rape.
And his Respect colleagues didn't do so well in the Croydon and Rothertham by-elections, but they still beat the Lib Dems.
If someone would have told you in 2011 that a Korean rapper would be number one in the UK, win countless music awards and smash all YouTube records, you might have thought they'd overdosed on kimchi.
But it happened.
The South Korean pop phenomenon has become an invisible horse-dancing global sensation with the song topping the charts in 30 countries, clocking up a staggering 816,175,123 (and counting) YouTube views in just over four months.
The list of imitators is almost endless, from Ghostbusters to Politicians, Olympians to prisoners, Chinese dissidents to sculptors, Oxford students to Saudi youths, Hitler to Ban Ki-Moon , Wolverine to Obama and even a parrot.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney really, really thought he was going to win...
Even after Romneyshambles, even after Todd Akin's comments on legitimate rape, even after his leaked speech where he basically said that 47% of Americans don't count, he still thought he was going to win.
He didn't even prepare a concession speech. Too bad Mitt.
The now ex-Tory MP Nadine Dorries was given a rough time for her views on abortion, and told David Cameron and George Osborne they were a bunch of arrogant posh boys.
Not a great year. But then she decided to go on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, apparently without telling her constituents or her party. Not great, Nadine.
The Church of England has been plunged into turmoil after legislation introducing the first women bishops failed to clear its final hurdle at the General Synod.
The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said the Church of England has a "lot of explaining" to do.
Here's hoping next year will be better..
Former Cabinet Minister Chris Huhne was charged with perverting the course of justice over a 2003 speeding offence.
Huhne allegedly persuaded his former partner Vicky Pryce to take his penalty points for a speeding offence almost a decade ago.
The 57-year-old Lib Dem, who remains the Lib Dem MP for his home town of Eastleigh in Hampshire, stood down from the Cabinet to fight claims he wrongly told investigators his wife was driving his car.
Despite being cleared of racially abusing fellow footballer Anton Ferdinand at Westminster Magistrate's Court, the former England Captain was found guilty of misconduct by the FA.
Terry, who retired from international football this year, has been fined £220,000 by the FA and was handed a four-match ban over the incident.
Whatever you might think of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, the Swedish court case or his politics, this hasn't been a great year for the anti-privacy campaigner.
The controversial figure - wanted for questioning in Sweden on sex offence allegations - entered the Ecuadorian embassy seeking asylum on 19 June and has been inside since.
Ecuador, a country which doesn't have the best record on human rights or free speech, has offered him asylum, but he has no way of leaving the embassy without being arrested - and he shows no signs of leaving...
The law finally caught with larger-than-life webpreneur Kim Dotcom, the founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload - and struck a blow for film and music piracy.
He used to have it pretty good, with a numberplate reading GOD, one of New Zealand's most exclusive mansions and time spent at world number one at Modern Warfare 3.
But now he's languishing in a New Zealand jail after being refused bail on online piracy charges.
Dotcom and his co-accused are charged with criminal copyright infringement and money-laundering "on a massive scale" under US law.
Argentina's president tried in vain to stir up tension with the UK regarding the Falkland Islands.
Earleir this year she condemned Britain's "ridiculous and absurd" stance on the Falkland Islands as ceremonies were held to mark the 30th annoversary of the conflict.
And in June, she tried again, attempting to hand Cameron a package marked "UN - Malvinas" but the Prime Minister refused to accept it.
And with less than 100 days to go to the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, the Argentinian government screened a controversial advert which shows one of its athletes training on the Falkland Islands.
But her posturing didn't help Fernandez's popularity halving since her election win, to just 28%
There are many contenders for biggest gaffe of the US Election 2012.
But the winner is the Republican candidate for Missouri, Todd Akin, who justified his extreme opposition to abortion by claiming that victims of "legitimate rape" rarely get pregnant.
In an interview with KTVI-TV on Sunday, the GOP Senate nominee was asked if he supported abortion in the case of rape.
"From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," said Akin said of pregnancy caused by rape. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
He refused to drop out of the race for the Senate, but was roundly beaten by Democrat candiate Claire McCaskill
Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has what could only be described as a disastrous campaign against longtime rival Boris Johnson.
The Labour leader reportedly told supporters rich Jews wouldn't vote Labour, got caught avoiding tax and apparently using actors in a campaign video.
He's now announced he's retiring from politics, but will this be the last of Ken?
Maybe it is actually 2013 that will be worse for students, but 2012 was the year the fate of Britain's students was sealed.
University tuition fees are set to rise next year, with students paying just over £8,500 on average.
A third of English institutions will charge the maximum £9,000 as standard for a degree next year, according to official figures.
Still, the students did get a 'sort-of' apology from Nick Clegg. And this enjoyable song.
It's been a tough year for 'Arry.
From dodging tax evasion chances, being on the cusp of Champions League football and getting the England job to losing the England job to someone who looks like an owl, losing out on Champions League football because Chelsea won it, getting sacked by Spurs and taking over the league's bottom club
Donald Trump is not a man who expects things to go wrong for him.
But his offer to give $5m to charity in exchange for Obama's college records and birth certificates went down like a lead balloon.
But post-election, having staked everything on a Romney victory, the billionaire had a meltdown on Twitter.
The billionaire businessman and Mitt Romney supporter told his followers that the election was a "total sham and a travesty".
"Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us," he said.
No Donald, we're laughing at you.
Ok, it won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012, for keeping Europe in relative peace and prosperity since the horrors of WW2.
But the prize came as protests raged across Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal, suffering from EU imposed austerity to prevent them going bankrupt.
And as the prize was announced, German chancellor Angela Merkel faced Nazi salutes from angry Greek demonstrators when she visited strife-torn Athens to reject claims that the country was, economically at least, under German control once again.
What do you think?