2012 Olympics: National Power Rankings, Day 2 Edition
The best team on Day 2 of the 2012 Summer Olympics may come as a surprise, but this nation had the best day of swimming in its Olympic history—and no, it wasn’t the United States.
A lot of the more minor sports have awarded gold medals already, sending some nations high into the medal count early in the London Games. Their success is also reflected in these rankings, with judo, fencing and shooting medalists making frequent appearances in the power rankings.
For a full and updated medal count, check out our medal tracker. To find out which teams enjoyed the most success on Sunday in London, click through this slideshow.
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Japanese athletes took home two bronze medals on Sunday. The women’s archery team earned third place overall, and Masashi Ebinuma took home the bronze in the 66-kilogram division of men’s judo.
Japan’s men’s soccer team, meanwhile, sits on top of its group after defeating Morocco 1-0. This is a group that also contains gold-medal favorite Spain, which Japan has already beaten.
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Australia has one of the most successful swim teams in the world, so its modest medal haul on Day 2 in London might be seen as disappointing. Alicia Coutts won a bronze medal in the highly competitive women’s 100-meter butterfly, and Christian Sprenger was one place better in the men’s 100 breast.
After her race, Coutts (pictured) had an interesting tidbit for the gathered media that may have explained why she didn’t do better in her race:
Australia's Coutts (bronze in 100 fly) said she could have got silver if she hadn't thrown up in pool with 50 to go. Um, O.K. #london2010— Andrew Das (@AndrewDasNYT) July 29, 2012
8. South Korea
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Winning bronze in the 66-kilogram men's judo division (two bronze medals are handed out in judo and wrestling events) was South Korea’s Cho Jun-Ho. The women’s archery team did what its men’s counterpart could not and brought the gold for its nation.
Finally, the Korean men’s soccer team deserves some recognition for its 2-1 win over Switzerland. Asia’s soccer teams are making a statement in these Olympics so far, with Japan doing well also, as mentioned previously.
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The fencing world has an Italian tint to it, as more medals were handed out on the men’s side after the Italian women swept the individual sabre event Saturday. Diego Occhiuzzi won silver for his nation in the men’s individual sabre.
Rasalba Forciniti also won a bronze medal in the 52-kilogram division of women’s judo on Sunday.
6. South Africa
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Cameron van der Burgh stole the show for his country on Sunday, winning the men’s 100-meter breaststroke in style. Van der Burgh not only snagged a gold medal, but he also set a new world record in the event.
It was the first individual gold ever by a South African in swimming, and he did it by leading the field from start to finish, swimming a 58.46-second 100 breast.
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The relatively minor sports of judo and fencing were good to the Hungarians on Day 2. Miklos Ungvari won silver in the men’s 66-kilogram judo division, and Aron Szilagyi took gold in the men’s fencing individual sabre event.
In women’s tennis, world No. 66 Timea Babos won her first-round match, upsetting No. 58 Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan.
4. Great Britain
The host nation continues to please the home crowd at London 2012. Elizabeth Armitstead did what Mark Cavendish couldn’t do on Saturday, winning a medal in the cycling road race. She took second place.
Swimming favorite Rebecca Adlington took the bronze in the women’s 400-meter freestyle swim, considered her second-best event after the 800 free. And Andy Murray won his first-round tennis match over at the Wimbledon in two sets over Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka.
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The Americans had a glut of swimmers in finals on Sunday, who found mixed results. Dana Vollmer won the first women’s gold medal for the U.S., breaking the world record and becoming the first woman to swim the 100-meter butterfly in under 56 seconds.
Brendan Hansen beat his old nemesis, Kosuke Kitajima, in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke, winning bronze out of Lane 8. Allison Schmitt won silver in the women’s 400 free. Disappointingly, the men’s 4x100 free team could only manage silver as well.
In diving, Kelci Bryant and Abigail Johnston won silver in the women’s synchronized three-meter springboard. Finally, Kim Rhode won gold in women’s skeet shooting.
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China had another good day in London. The women’s archery team placed second, as did Wei Ning in women’s skeet shooting and Wu Jingbiao in the men’s 56-kilogram weightlifting division.
The Chinese also had two first-place finishes in Day 2 action. He Zi and Wu Minxia won the women’s synchronized diving three-meter springboard, and Guo Wenjun took the women’s 10-meter air-pistol shooting.
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France had the best day of all thanks to its historic day in the swimming pool. Camille Muffat set an Olympic record in winning the women’s 400-meter freestyle, and the men’s 4x100-meter freestyle team beat the U.S. at the wall to take a gold medal out of the Americans’ hands.
Outside the pool, Celine Goberville won silver in the women’s 10-meter air pistol shooting, and Priscilla Gneto took the 52-kilogram bronze in women’s judo. On the tennis court, No. 5 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came from behind to beat Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci in three sets to advance to the second round.