Olympic Medal Count 2012: 5 Countries Dominating Total Medal Count
It is hard to believe, but it has almost been a full week since the London Olympic Games kicked off last Friday night.
Since then, this edition of the Summer Games has certainly seen its share of compelling storylines, shocking results and championship performances.
Among these performances are numerous amounts of world and Olympic records being set in the pool, a beach volleyball winning streak being broken and a basketball winning streak continuing without fail; there have also been a few disappointing finishes, as well as dominant performances, the inspired performance and medal for the hometown gymnastics team and, of course, the establishment of the greatest Olympian of all time.
In addition to these performances and races for the gold, another race has developed with China and the U.S. finding themselves neck-and-neck in the overall medal count. Neither country has had a significant lead over the other, and each day seems to end with both bringing in a brand new haul of medals.
So with five days already gone and in the books, here are how things stand with the top five ranked countries leading the medal count and a little insight of what we might reasonably expect from these countries as the Olympic Games continue.
China (17 Gold, 9 Silver, 4 Bronze)
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The Events: Swimming, weightlifting, diving, shooting, table tennis, fencing, artistic gymnastics, archery, judo
The highlights: Ye Shiwen breaks a world record and wins gold in the 400-meter individual medley. The Chinese men's gymnastics team continues their dominance by winning yet another gold. Sun Yang, champion of the 400-meter freestyle, leads his team to their first-ever relay medal. And China continues to dominate in diving, winning all four of the gold medals given out so far.
The biggest disappointments: Chinese women's gymnastics fails to medal in the team final. Chinese men are kept off the podium in men's all-around gymnastics final. And their badminton team is disqualified for throwing matches.
The outlook: So far, China has been off to a blistering start in the first week of the Summer Games. Not only are they dominating in the sports they are expected to—such as gymnastics and diving—but they are also surprising elsewhere, most noticeably in the eight medals they have accrued in swimming. They are expected to continue to medal in swimming, with the potential to sweep the golds in diving and collect more weightlifting medals.
They still have Liu Xiang coming up in the 110-meter hurdles as well. Leading the way with 30 medals, China is proving that what they did last year in Beijing is no fluke and that Project 119 is really paying off.
USA (12 Gold, 8 Silver, 9 Bronze)
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The events: Swimming, shooting, artistic gymnastics, road cycling, diving, archery, judo, rowing
The highlights: U.S. women's gymnastics team lives up to world championship expectations and wins gold. Michael Phelps adds two medals, becomes the most successful Olympian ever. Danell Leyva wins the bronze medal in the men's all-around in gymnastics. Brendan Hansen wins a surprise bronze in 100-meter breaststroke. Missy Franklin wins her first and second gold medals. The men's archery team upsets favored South Korea to win silver, while the U.S. diving takes home three medals in four events.
The biggest disappointments: The top qualifying U.S. men's gymnastics team fails to medal. Both Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte suffer fourth-place finishes in different events. And two-time defending gold-medalist Mariel Zagunis finishes off the podium.
The outlook: It has been an interesting beginning to the Games for the U.S. Overall, they are performing very well, but they have not medaled in a handful of events in which they were favorites. One of the biggest gains for America has been in diving, where they have medaled in three of the four events so far, giving them the first, second and third medal in this sport since 2000.
Going forward, the U.S. has a chance to increase their medal total by the tenfold. Favorites in team sports such as men and women's basketball, men and women's volleyball and women's soccer, and contenders in men and women's water polo, the U.S. could win a lot more medals. They also have the track and field competition remaining, which should, no doubt, help the U.S. increase their total.
South Korea (6 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze)
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The events: Judo, shooting, fencing, archery, swimming
The highlights: Park Tae-Hwan wins silver in men's 200-meter freestyle. South Korea takes home unexpected medals in judo and fencing.
The biggest disappointments: Men's archery team fails to medal after coming in as favorites. Their top badminton team is disqualified after being accused of throwing games.
The outlook: There is a big drop-off in the medal count between second-place USA and third-place South Korea.
With only 12 medals, the country is not having the Olympic Games it expected. The gold-medal expectations are looking bleaker by the day, and several athletes and teams so far have not fared as well as expected.
France (5 Gold, 3 Silver, 5 Bronze)
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The events: Swimming, shooting, canoe slalom, shooting
The highlights: France shocks Australia and the U.S. by beating both to win the men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay. Yannick Agnel beats Ryan Lochte to get 200-meter free gold. Camille Muffat takes gold in Women's 400-meter free. And Tony Estanguet wins his third Olympic gold in canoe slalom.
The biggest disappointments: France fails to medal in fencing.
The outlook: Other than poor fencing performances, all in all, France has been having a great Olympic Games. Their count might be much lower than the U.S., but for them, it is a nice medal haul.
The biggest contributions have been six swimming medals and five judo medals.
They will still have more shots at medals, including tennis, where Jo-Wilifried Tsonga could be a dark horse to land on the podium.
North Korea (4 Gold, 1 Bronze)
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The events: Weightlifting, judo
The highlights: North Korea wins three surprising weightlifting medals, edging out competition early in this event.
The biggest disappointments: None.
The outlook: So far, North Korea is surprising everyone with its five medals. It may not sound like a lot, but they were not favored or even considered contenders to medal in any of the events they did.
Currently, they haven't really had a major disappointment and will go forward in Week 2 with a few more chances to surprise and wind up on the podium.