London 2012 Medal Count: Why US and China Will Continue to Lead Medal Race

Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIAugust 3, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  Silver medallist Ryan Lochte of the United States poses on the podium during the medal ceremony  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 Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Adam Pretty/Getty Images

The United States and China always find themselves near the top of the overall medal count in the Olympic Games. That hasn't changed a bit this year, as the two countries have been battling for the top two spots at the 2012 London Olympics.

That's not going to change, as the two countries are the pinnacle of international athletic competition. There are numerous reasons as to why the US and China have become the cream of the crop when it comes to bringing home medals galore, some of which we will address here.

Not only will we examine the primary causes of the medal domination, we'll also look forward and make the argument as to why these two countries will continue to dominate the medal race.

Both countries are aided by their massive populations. The United States carries a population of over 300 million, while China is comprised of 1.3 billion inhabitants.

When a country has a huge crop of people to choose from, there is a better chance of sending superior athletic specimens to international athletic competition. The more people in a country, the more people that want to play sports.

Building off of that idea, the United States and China both send an inordinate amount of athletes to the Olympics each year. Many of these athletes participate in individual events rather than team competitions.

The Chinese excel at diving and weightlifting, among numerous other events. The United States has heavily relied on its dominance in swimming, racking up 23 of the 37 medals in the pool.

Neither of the countries are done racking up medals, either.

China has badminton, table tennis and trampoline to look forward to. The United States has track and field, the rest of swimming and both beach and team volleyball to medal in.

The two countries put an incredible emphasis on sports in their respective cultures.

In the United States, sports are a major industry. A large percentage of the country begins to play sports at a very young age, which leads to a higher level of talent later in life.

The same goes for China, with athletes starting their careers perhaps even younger than their American counterparts.

It would be shocking if these two countries were unable to finish one and two in the overall medal count—in these Olympics and ones in the future.


Here are the top five countries in the overall medal count.

Country Total Gold Silver Bronze
United States 37 18 9
China 34 18 11 5
Republic of Korea 14 7 2 5
France 16 6 4 6
Great Britain 15 5 6 4


Here is a link to the full table.