Olympic Medal Count 2012: Track and Field Events Will Give US Edge over China

Ben Chodos@bchodosCorrespondent IIAugust 2, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  Gold medallist Michael Phelps of the United States reacts whilst waiting the receive hsi medal alongside Silver medallist Ryan Lochte of the United States on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men's 200m Individual Medley final on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The United States and China have battled atop the total medal count throughout the first few days of the 2012 London Olympics. But the track and field events will tip the balance towards the U.S.

At the 2008 games in Beijing, China won the most gold medals, but the United States brought home the most total hardware. In London, the two countries have stayed extremely close in both categories. An updated medal tracker can be found at London2012.com.

But China must pull ahead before track and field events begin on August 3, as the United States will gain a serious advantage once the athletics portion of the Games get under way.

Four years ago, the Americans took home seven gold medals and 23 total medals from the track and field competition. Meanwhile, China did not finish first or second in any event, earning bronze just twice.

The Chinese team fared better at the 2011 World Championships, earning one gold, two silvers and a bronze, but the United States dominated the medal count with 12 gold medals and 25 total medals.

FoxBusiness.com notes that the United States has won 2,302 medals in its history at the games—far and away the most by any country—in addition to being the most decorated nation 14 of the 25 times it has participated in the Olympics. 

The article also cites the Wall Street Journal, which reports that a study by the Chinese delegation found that host nations win 32 percent less medals in the following Olympics. That does not bode well for the Chinese, who have failed to gain an advantage over the United States thus far. 

The athletics competition is comprised of 47 events, more than any other sport, as noted by London2012.com. This leaves China in a dead heat with the Americans, with the biggest sport—one the U.S. almost certainly dominate—still to take place.

Given China’s current position in the medal count in relation to the United States, it will be extremely difficult for the country to end up with more gold or total medals at the 2012 Olympics.