Olympics 2012: Nation Power Rankings, Day 8 Edition

Avi Wolfman-ArentCorrespondent IIAugust 4, 2012

Olympics 2012: Nation Power Rankings, Day 8 Edition

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    It's time to let the nationalism out of its cage with another installment of B/R's "Olympic Nation Power Rankings:  Day 8 Edition."

    Saturday gave us plenty to chew, from a string of glorious performances by the home country to a smattering of notable firsts.

    We're tracking it all, and letting you know just what we think of the world's nations while we're at it.

    So slap on your flag-print speedo and lace up those Old Glory Chuck Taylors—we're about to get jingoistic with it (na na na na na na na).

10. South Africa

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    A hearty hurrah goes out to the South African Sports Confederation for their decision—made one month ago today—to let Oscar Pistorius run the 400-meter dash at the London Olympics.

    For those unaware, Pistorius was born without fibulae and runs on carbon-fiber prosthetic. Earlier this year, he posted a time that qualified him for the 2012 Games in the 400-meter dash.

    However, the South African Sports Confederation generally stipulates that athletes run two standard qualifying times to make the Olympic team. When Pistorius failed to register a second time, the Confederation drew an exception and allowed him to compete.

    All that leads to today, where Pistorius made history by becoming the first amputee to compete in an Olympic track event.

    Better yet, he qualified for the event semifinal, delivering what will surely become one of London's most iconic moments.

9. Switzerland

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    As a fan of chocolate, watches and unregulated money transfers, I'm happy to report that Switzerland has its first medal of the London 2012 Games.

    And it is...GOLD!

    Swiss runner/biker/swimmer Nicola Spirig took first place in the women's triathlon, edging Sweden's Lisa Norden in a rare photo finish.

    Personally, I'm not a big fan of the instant-capture technology—too complicated, too unreliable.

    Just run it back—old school.

8. Canada

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    Canada won three medals today, bring its 2012 total to 10.

    More importantly, our neighbors to the North finally took home gold.

    After filling their trophy case with lesser precious metals, Toronto native Rosannagh Maclennan captured gold on Saturday in the women's trampoline competition.

    Jump for joy, y'all.

7. Kazakhstan

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    Kazakhstan, you continue to amaze me.

    The sparsely populated Central Asian republic won its fifth medal of these Games today.

    All five have been gold.

    The most recent came in the men's 94 kg weightlifting competition, a discipline that has produced four of the country's five medallions.

    Which raises the question:  What's on the menu in Kazakhstan? And can I get some?

6. Japan

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    It's been an oddly satisfying week for Japan in the pool—if not a completely fulfilling one.

    Although the East Asian nation didn't manage a single aquatic gold, it finished second only to the United States in overall medal count.

    That impressive display of consistency helped Japan to medals in both the men's and women's medley relays.

    Also worth celebrating:  the country's 3-0 dismantling of Egypt in the quarterfinals of the men's soccer tournament.

5. Jamaica

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    We've reached that point in the Olympic cycle where people start running super fast, which means it's time to welcome back Jamaica.

    Us: "Jamaica baby, how ya doing? Did you sleep well? How's the Village? Good food?"

    Jamaica: "Life's good. Legs are loose. Watch the eff out."

    After a week spent shrouded in total irrelevancy, the Green n' Gold quickly reintroduced themselves in London's first sprint finals, taking gold and bronze in the women's 100-meter dash.

    The medals are Jamaica's first of these Games, but they won't likely be the last.

    The Caribbean nation is capable of multiple medals in every track event under 400 meters.

4. Guatemala

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    Guatemala is on the board!

    And I don't mean on the board in the sense that Guatemala has its first medal at these Games.

    I mean on the board in the sense that Guatemala has a medal...period.

    The man responsible is Erick Barrando, who earlier today finished second in the men's 20-kilometer race walk.

    I know what you're thinking:  "There's competitive race-walking in Guatemala?"

    Heck yeah, there is. In fact, the whole region is gaga for the sport.

    I even have a link to prove it.

3. China

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    As always, the numbers on China are impressive: 11 medals, five gold, a world record or two.

    But I'm even more impressed by the distribution of said medals.

    China won its first ever team gold in a fencing event, its first two medals in the men's 20-kilometer race walk and finished off a banner week in the pool with Sun Yang's record-setting swim in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle.

    The Chinese aren't simply dominating a few choice disciplines—they've got this whole competition on lock.

2. United States

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    So much good news out of Camp America today.

    —Team USA sealed its aquatic superiority with convincing wins in both the men's and women's medley relays.

    —Serena Williams crushed Maria Sharapova for the women's singles tennis title moments before the top-seeded Bryan brothers took gold in men's doubles.

    —Uncle Sam stole a surprise silver in the women's team pursuit.

    —Galen Rupp became the first American man since 1968 to medal in a track event longer than 800 meters (marathon excluded), taking silver in the 10,000-meter run.

    —Jamie Lynn Gray bagged a gold in women's 50-meter rifle.

    —America finished the day ahead of China in the overall and gold medal count.

     

    And then the bad news:  LeBron and Co. only beat Lithuania by five.

    Of course when a victory qualifies as your primary setback, it was a pretty kick-ass day.

1. Great Britain

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    They won't soon forget this day on the "Isle of Wonder."

    I mean talk about a home-country bump.

    Team GB won gold in the heptathlon, men's long jump, men's 10,000-meter run, women's team pursuit, women's lightweight double sculls and men's four.

    If not for the country's heartbreaking quarterfinal loss to South Korea in the men's soccer tournament, you might just have labeled the day "bloody perfect."

    For now, I think "smashing" will do.