2012 Summer Olympics: Countries That Will Battle USA to the End

Andrew WallockContributor IJuly 27, 2012

2012 Summer Olympics: Countries That Will Battle USA to the End

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    The London Olympics are fast approaching and it appears that Team USA has dominating athletes across the board in every event, but that isn't to say that other countries don't. While USA may have Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Lolo Jones, USA basketball, and other top competitors, other top countries boast the likes of Usain Bolt, Liu Xiang, and James Magnussen.  

    Many of those names could spell doom for top USA athletes.

    But, in the end, the outcomes are unpredictable and all we can do is watch and see what happens. Here are the five countries that pose the most risk to USA's dominance and medal count in the upcoming Olympics. 

China

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    It cannot be forgotten that China had a fantastic go-around in the Beijing Olympics. Finishing second in total medal count and first overall in gold medals, the Chinese showed that they were a force to be reckoned with atop the sporting world and alongside the United States.

    This year shouldn't be any different.

    High-profile hurdler Liu Xiang is expected to come back strong after a disappointing finish in the 2008 Olympics. It looks like he hopes to avenge his past Olympic defeats. 

    Heck, Aries Merritt, a top American hurdler, pointed to Xiang as the athlete to beat in the upcoming games. 

    Plenty of other athletes will show up to compete, most notable Zou Shiming (boxing), Wu Peng (200-meter butterfly), and Chinese gymnasts. 

    That said, we all should expect China to be USA's top threat this year in London. 

Russia

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    Obviously, Russia is up there alongside the United States and China as one of the top countries to watch. 

    It should be noted that Russia is second place in the All-Time medal standings with 1,122 behind the USA's 2,302 total. 

    And which team will pose the biggest threat? The answer would be the women's gymnastics team. Just like Liu Xiang, they had a disappointing go-around in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and look to reclaim their glory as the top gymnasts in the world.

    With athletes Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina, no one should be counting Russia out as one of the top countries in the sporting world. 

Australia

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    Only a few names need be mentioned when it comes to Australian athletes. 

    Sally Pearson looks to dominate in the women's hurdles. And the next great swimming star could be none other than James Magnussen. His efforts could spell doom for favorite Ryan Lochte and past swimming superstar Michael Phelps.

    Another Olympian to keep an eye on will be Nick D'Arcy in 200m butterfly. A controversial figure after breaking swimmer Simon Cowley's jaw, D'Arcy will likely want to redeem himself on the big stage. 

    Other names to watch: Alicia Coutts, Steve Hooker (pole vault), and tennis star Samantha Stosur. 

    A 5th place finisher in total medals in 2008, Australia should never be counted out when it comes to international competition. 

Germany

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    Freestyle swimmer Britta Steffen is the name of the game for the nation of Germany. After a disappointing showing in the 2011 Worlds, Steffen hopes to redeem herself in London. 

    The German equestrian team is one that should also be noted. Generally, the team finds decent success alongside stud Hinrich Romeike. 

    Other names to watch: Erik Pfeifer (boxing), David Storl (shotput), and the men's table tennis team, as well as many more. 

Great Britain

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    And of course we should never count out the host country. Great Britain has definitely been dominant in many events in past Olympic games and will continue to do so this time around.

    With a deep swimming team, headlined by Rebecca Adlington and Francesca Halsall, and diving champion Tom Daley, the field is definitely ripe for the Brits to show up strong in their own games.

    It also should be noted that Great Britain will be sending a soccer team into the games for the first time since 1960. The top star on that team, of course, is none other than David Beckham. 

    Other notable names: Louis Smith, Beth Tweddle and Daniel Purvis (gymnastics), Mo Farah (track and field) and Shanaze Reade (BMX). 

Conclusion

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    The world, literally, will be watching London and their beloved athletes as they take to the greatest stage imaginable. There will be plenty of stories to watch, stories that will develop, etc. It should be a fun summer, with many records likely to be broken, stars to be made, and hopes to be lost. 

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