Olympics 2012: Nation Power Rankings, Day 10 Edition
The final week of 2012 Olympic action kicked off with a multitude of compelling events on Monday. Sports across the spectrum continue to reshape the overall global medal count, providing plenty of surprise and suspense.
Here in our daily power ranking of competing countries, we're only concerned with today's results. We hit the reset button each morning and wait for fate to unfold in London.
In the aftermath of an action-packed Day 10, here's how our top 10 Olympic nations stack up.
10. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia secured its first Olympic medal since the 2000 Sydney Games. The nation earned bronze in the equestrian team-jumping final, as the four men pictured at left combined in the effort.
This is a classic example of how we tilt the scales of ranking judgement. It's important to take national Olympic history into account when measuring daily results.
This bronze medal is viewed as a major athletic achievement for Saudi Arabia.
Australia clinched a spot in the Olympic men's basketball quarterfinals courtesy of some late-game heroics. Patrick Mills, who plays professionally for the San Antonio Spurs, buried a three-point bucket as time expired to lead the Aussies past Russia, 82-80.
“It’s one of those shots you dream of making the at the Olympic Games, and to do it against a good team like Russia is great,” Mills told reporters after the game.
The team clinched fourth in its group and now moves onto single-elimination play.
Australia earned gold in sailing, when Tom Slingsby topped all competitors in the men's laser. Cyclist Shane Perkins picked up a bronze medal in the men's track sprint final.
Brazilian gymnast Arthur Zanetti made national history these 2012 Games. He pulled off an immense upset in the men's rings final to capture the country's first ever Olympic gold medal in gymnastics.
The 22-year-old topped 2008 champion Chen Yibing of China on his way to Summer Games glory. This milestone comes at an opportune time for Zanetti and Brazil, as the country prepares to host the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"I'm very happy, it's the very first Olympic medal for Brazil in gymnastics so I'm really happy with this," said Zanetti, as quoted by Reuters.
Expect Brazil to put their newfound national hero in front of the cameras as much as possible in the next four years. The Olympic hype machine never rests.
7. South Korea
On a day when Brazil won its first gymnastics gold, South Korea accomplished the same feat. Yang Hak-Seon secured gold in the men's vault final.
The 19-year-old beamed with pride in the event's aftermath.
"I can't believe this has happening to me at the moment. We haven't had a gold medal in Olympic gymnastics before so I was nervous. But I'm happy that I got over that and won the gold medal," he told Reuters.
"Gymnastics is not a very popular sport in Korea but I want to inspire a new generation. I hope younger people will look at me and have a bit more confidence to go into gymnastics."
Fellow South Korean Kim Jong-hyun took silver in the men's 50-meter rifle shooting final.
The four-time world champion was Cuba's flagbearer at the 2008 Games before topping the podium in Beijing. Already recognized as one of the globe's wrestling greats, he'll return home with another Olympic treasure.
Yarisley Silva won silver in the women's pole vault final.
It was a modest day for powerful China, but still successful enough to earn a spot on this list.
Lijia Xu earned a gold medal in sailing, taking top honors in the women's laser radial.
"I am proud of the gold, especially as I'm in Britain," Lijia told Sail-World.com because Britain and European countries are good and I want to take this experience back to China so more can experience the beauty of sailing."
In gymnastics, China continued its winning ways.
Yibing Chen earned silver in men's rings, while Kexin He took second in the women's uneven bars final.
4. Dominican Republic
Felix Sanchez surged to his second Olympic gold medal on Day 10, winning the 400-meter hurdles final in 47.63 seconds. It's the nation's first medal of any kind at the 2012 Games.
Overall, the Dominican Republic has won just three gold medals in its Olympic history. Sanchez owns two of them.
He also won the event at the 2004 Athens Games. Sanchez, 34, shocked many pundits with his latest victory and solidified his spot as a national athletic icon.
Later in the day, Luguelin Santos doubled the Dominican Republic's medal total, claiming silver in the men's 400-meter final.
3. United States
The U.S. would've found itself lower on this list had it not been for Alex Morgan's game-winning header in the Olympic women's soccer semifinal game. The heralded 23-year-old helped the American squad overcome a late deficit to defeat Canada, 4-3.
Morgan and her teammates will face Japan in a gold-medal matchup that presents an opportunity for American revenge. The U.S. women lost to Japan in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup final, falling in heartbreaking fashion on penalty kicks.
Women's soccer heroics highlighted the day, but there is plenty more to focus on.
Michael Tinsley took silver in the men's 100-meter hurdles, while Jenn Suhr unseated legendary Russian Yelena Isinbayeva for first in the women's pole vault. Suhr settled for silver behind Isinbayeva at the 2008 Beijing Games.
American Matt Emmons won bronze in the men's 50-meter rifle, three positions final.
In men's basketball, the U.S. rebounded from a Saturday's scare against Lithuania to pummel Argentina in its final game of group play.
Female boxers Marlen Esparza and Claressa Shields each advanced to semfinal matches in the inaugural Olympic women's boxing tournament. It's a positive step for the U.S. after a disappointing men's boxing run in London.
"It feels good, and I know that the USA needed it badly," Esparza told the Associated Press.
2. Great Britain
Great Britain continues to string together strong performances. The Olympic hosts have been on fire lately, shooting up the overall medal standings.
The country's catalyst continues to be its cycling program. Today, it was Jason Kenny conquering the men's sprint on his way to gold.
Led by Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng, Great Britain picked up its first Olympic men's basketball victory since 1948 after crushing China, 90-58.
Team GB also earned gold in equestrian team jumping. And gymnastics star Beth Tweddle, who has become the face of the Brits' improved gymnastics program, took bronze in the women's uneven bar final.
"I tried to say it didn't matter if I didn't medal, but I've got every other title to my name," said Tweddle, as quoted by ESPN news services. "I can now say I would have been devastated walking away with no medal. I am going to sleep easy tonight."
Gymnast Aliya Mustafina, the 2010 all-around world champion, officially completed her comeback from a torn ACL with a remarkable performance in the women's uneven bars final. The gold gives her three medals these Games (Russia won silver in the team final and Mustafina earned bronze in the all-around final).
"I am very, very happy I've won gold," Mustafina said. "Every medal represents its own thing."
Fellow Russian gymnast Denis Ablyazin won a silver medal in the men's vault final.
In Greco-Roman wrestling action, Alan Khugaev also won gold for Russia, while teammate Zaur Kuramagomedov took the bronze in their respective weight classes.
Evgeniia Kolodko earned a bronze medal in women's shot put, and although pole vault legend Yelena Isinbayeva was overtaken for the gold by her American counterpart, she still successfully reached the podium.
Finally, runner Yuliya Zaripova secured gold in the women's steeplechase for the Russians.