US Olympic Medal Count 2012: 3 Gold Medal Hopefuls on Day 12

Taylor GiffinCorrespondent IIAugust 8, 2012

US Olympic Medal Count 2012: 3 Gold Medal Hopefuls on Day 12

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    Through 11 days at the 2012 London Olympic Games the United States team has been able to claim 30 gold medals. That number is good for second behind the Chinese, who currently sit with 34.

    The Americans have a very good chance of adding more gold medals to that number on Day 12 of the competition. With both teams competing in the finals of the women's beach volleyball event from the U.S., at least one gold medal is going to be guaranteed today.

    It certainly seems like that will not be the only event that will hear the U.S. national anthem being played.

    So without any further wait, here are three American athletes who should be able to add to the team's growing gold medal count.

Brittney Reese

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    After finishing just off the podium at the 2008 Olympics (fifth place), Brittney Reese will be looking to make amends.

    Although she just squeaked in during qualifying with a jump of 6.57 meters, she knows that in her sport all it takes is one opportunity, Carla Peay of the Washington Times reports.

    “I don’t worry about people saying I’m the favorite. In the long jump, it only takes one jump. It only matters who jumps the farthest that given day. My thing is just to go out there and not worry about it, and just have fun and try to do my best.”

    That is exactly the right frame of mind she needs for entering the finals today. She needs to go in there and make sure she gets a solid jump right off the bat. That will allow her some space to improve with her next attempts.

    She holds the highest personal-, and season-, best of all the athletes competing and only needs one of her world-class jumps in order to get that gold medal. If she can hit close to that seasonal best, then winning the women's long jump should not be much competition.

    The finals of the women's long jump begins at 3:05 PM ET.

Aries Merritt

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    Things got a whole lot easier for 110-meter hurdler Aries Merritt after the qualifying rounds.

    His biggest rival, and possibly the favorite to win the gold medal in the event, Liu Xiang, failed to finish his heat after falling at the first hurdle. That means that Merritt can now be considered a heavy gold medal contender.

    Even so, this does not mean a guaranteed win. One, there is still a ton of competition left in the field, and two, as Xiang's mistake goes to show, anything can happen under the pressure of the Olympic Games.

    Although it makes his path to a gold medal much easier, Merritt realizes how much of a blow it is to the competition and to the fans expecting to see the best compete, reports Reuters (courtesy of The Vancouver Sun):

    "It was just terrible. That it happens to one of the best hurdlers of all time is just a tragedy," Merritt said. "In the hurdles, if you hit a hurdle in the competition to recover is almost impossible. It is just a shame it had to happen to Liu because I was looking forward to competing against him."

    Merritt posted the fastest time in qualifying with a 13.07-second run and has even put up numbers below the 13-second mark this year. If he can step his performance up to match his highest times this season, then the gold medal should be his.

    The semifinals of the men's 110-meter hurdles begins at 2:15 PM ET, with the finals following at 4:15 PM ET.

Allyson Felix

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    Allyson Felix has already shown at the 2012 Olympics she is a world-class sprinter at the 100-meter distance, finishing in fifth spot with a personal best. So what exactly does that make her in the 200 meters then?

    Michael Florek of USA Today explains how important the 200 meter event is to Felix.

    Although Felix ran the 100 meters and will be on two relay teams, there's only one event she calls her baby: the 200 meters. She won three world championships in the event and finished second at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

    She has already shown through qualifying that she is ready to go. Felix has been able to win both of her races leading up to the finals and has improved her time with each passing one. Also, she is the only woman racing in the final to have posted a run under the 22-second mark (21.69) on the season.

    This is her event, and expect her to be as ready as she will ever be. Felix will be bringing all the speed she can in order to make sure that at this Olympics it is a gold medal she is wearing around her neck.

    The finals of the women's 200-meter race is set to begin at 4 PM ET.