Olympic Medal Count 2012: USA's Most Impressive Athletes in London
The United States mounted a late comeback to beat out China and 202 other countries to win the overall medal count in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Team USA led all competition with 104 total medals, highlighted by the performance of swimmer Michael Phelps, who led all athletes in London with six podium finishes. Context is your best friend when beginning to comprehend Phelps' accomplishments.
Yes, he bested the 10,000 or so other Olympians competing in London, but as a result, he has now bested every Olympian to ever compete in the Games.
Phelps entered London as the most decorated American athlete in history. He spent the past few weeks putting an exclamation mark on his illustrious career. Now the owner of 22 total medals, 18 of the gold variety, Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of any country, ever.
The previous record of 18 had stood since 1964, and it will be a long time before anyone even begins to threaten the new mark set by Phelps.
There weren't many athletes even within the vicinity of Phelps in terms of medal production in London. Only four others finished with five medals, and three of them were also American swimmers.
A decade younger than Phelps, Missy Franklin shocked the world during her Olympic debut.
The 17-year-old took home five medals (four gold) and set an individual world record in the 200-meter backstroke. She not only set the record, she was the first American to even win the race in 40 years.
Franklin was later part of the 4x100-meter medley relay squad that also set a new world record.
Between swimming and track athletes alone, the U.S. collected 60 medals, good enough for 58 percent of the grand total.
But the impressive performances certainly weren't limited to racing events. Team USA, led by 23-year-old Kevin Durant, captured the gold is men's basketball. Durant averaged 28 points throughout the tournament's eight games and dropped a 30-point performance during the final.
He was the leading scorer in the gold-medal game, and it was his record-setting shooting that got the U.S. into contention for it.
Prior to 2012, no American athlete had ever notched more than 17 three-pointers throughout the course of the Olympic tourney. Durant shot 52 percent from beyond the arc and drained a total of 34 threes through eight games.
He finished with the new record and as the U.S.'s most prolific scorer in Summer Olympic Games history.
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