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From conquering fears to falling in love: Your best moments of 2012

By George Webster, Sarah Brown, Stina Backer, and Eoghan Macguire, CNN
updated 1:07 PM EST, Thu December 20, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN asked people from all over the world to send in their best moments of 2012
  • From the Philippines to Scotland, hundreds of people sent their most memorable images
  • Submissions include exhilarating holidays, the birth of kids, the realization of dreams

What was your best moment of 2012? Send us your pictures

(CNN) -- For some it was an exhilarating holiday to an exotic place, finding new love or conquering their greatest fear. For others, it was witnessing an historic event.

And for a few, it was simply a case of being in the right place at the right time to capture a moment that will forever stick in the mind.

CNN asked people from all over the world to send in their highlight of the year. From the Philippines, to Scotland, to South Africa, hundreds of people shared their most treasured images.

2012 was the year the Olympics games came to London, and, unsurprisingly, many people sent in their images of the various competitions held around the capital.

Read: Your photos from Australia's total solar eclipse

Every year around a 1000 New Year revellers brave freezing conditions in the River Forth in front of the Forth Rail Bridge during the annual Loony Dook Swim.
Similar sub-zero New Year soaks are found across the chillier corners of the northern hemisphere from Sweden to Siberia. Every year around a 1000 New Year revellers brave freezing conditions in the River Forth in front of the Forth Rail Bridge during the annual Loony Dook Swim. Similar sub-zero New Year soaks are found across the chillier corners of the northern hemisphere from Sweden to Siberia.
Sub-zero swim
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Gaya Ilang, who works as the artist Gaya3in1, was lucky enough to participate in the Games' spectacular opening ceremony -- playing a nurse. She sent in an image of proud participants posing eagerly just before they took part in the ceremony.

Firework's light up Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. This year will see the city's midnight fireworks display journey across town for the first time, beginning out at the sea and moving along Victoria Harbour to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. Firework's light up Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. This year will see the city's midnight fireworks display journey across town for the first time, beginning out at the sea and moving along Victoria Harbour to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.
Hong Kong
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"I like this [image] as it has performers from different categories -- a snapshot of the ceremony -- and reminds me of the excitement of the day, clearly visible on everyone's faces," she said.

Sport of a non-Olympic kind captured the imagination of Jamie McCaffrey from Ottawa, Canada. He submitted this lively image of soldiers from the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment of the Canadian Army Reserves competing in the tug of war at the annual Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville Ontario.

"The sight of these soldiers in a brutal test of raw strength while combined with the skirl of the pipes, the colors and flash of the different tartans on the kilts, and the cheer of the crowd was a feast for the eyes and ears," he said.

"Although, I understand that the music of the bagpipes may not be for everyone -- subtle it is not," he added.

Read: Your Diwali shots from around the world

From the bombast of organized games to the quiet joy of a proud parent, many people chose their children as the source of their best moments of 2012.

Charlotte Brocker from Berlin, Germany, captured a wonderful image of her son Malik wearing his Ramones t-shirt on a bike ride in August.

My cheerful and determined young man helped me to realize what matters in life and what doesn't
Charlotte Bröcker, iReporter

Malik was born with clubbed feet and a physical condition called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenitas, which means he has little muscle strength in his limbs.

His mother took the photo in August after casts set on Malik's legs to strengthen them had been taken off.

"My cheerful and determined young man helped me to realize what matters in life and what doesn't," she said.

"Malik is a very happy, easy going young man, not much can hold him back, not even being stuck in casts. I also love how he's rocking that t-shirt!"

For some, 2012 was the year not just of striking out on to new journeys, but of returning home.

Jessica Munoz from California, U.S., was thrilled to be reunited with her soldier husband on his return from Afghanistan. The poignant moment when she was reunited with her husband was captured by her friend, Libby Lugo.

"My friend literally grabbed the camera out of my hands and pushed me in the right direction [to her husband]," she said.

"All the stress and fear and pain suddenly were replaced with love and magic and joy. I felt like I had gotten something precious back that was taken from me."

And sometimes it was images even closer to home that made for the best moments of the year. Even right outside the window.

Read: The Philippines shows the world how to celebrate Christmas

Abdel Hamid Zein took these beautiful, surreal images from the window of his 50th floor apartment in Dubai.

All the stress and fear and pain suddenly were replaced with love and magic and joy
Jessica Munoz, iReporter

"It is foggy in Dubai on rare occasions and usually lasts for two to three hours in the morning," he said.

"It was quite impressive, because it's not everyday you wake up and you find yourself above the clouds."

And of course what year would be complete without at least one ambition being realised?

For Julie Fox, a trip to Elvas, Portugal to ride a balloon at the International Hot Air Balloon Festival provided the chance to tick one dream off her life list -- particularly when she found out the rides were free.

"I'd always had a romantic image of hot air ballooning over the Serengeti or somewhere like that but have never been able to afford it," she said.

"The whole experience: Inflation, take off, the quiet contemplation of the countryside and the aerial views, wondering where we would land and the fun of packing up the balloon before driving back to the launch site is something that will stay with me forever."

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