Olympic Medal Count 2012: Team USA's Best Shots at Adding More Gold
With gymnastics and swimming over with, you might think that Team USA's best chances of earning gold medals are behind them.
But you'd be mistaken.
There are still plenty of gold medals to be won for the U.S. Olympic team in London, and even though some of those finals won't happen until the very end of the Olympic schedule, the Americans are all but officially guaranteed to place.
So even though China may be on top of the overall medal hunt at present, it may not stay that way for much longer. Here are the upcoming events in which the Americans are most likely to medal.
You can see the latest medal leaders below (as of August 8 at 9:53 a.m. ET). For the full medal tally, click here.
|Olympic Medal Tracker|
|China Total: 73||34||21||18|
|United States Total: 70||30||19||21|
|Great Britain Total: 48||22||13||13|
|Russia Total: 48||10||18||20|
|Germany Total: 32||7||15||10|
Quarterfinals: August 8
Semifinals: August 10
Finals: August 12
Granted, the U.S. men still have a few more games to play before the gold is officially theirs. But after the scare the Americans received courtesy of Lithuania on August 4, they're not going to stumble again.
Though the Americans got pushed to the limit in a 99-94 win over Lithuania, the way they finished the game was a big positive—LeBron James tallied nine points in the last four minutes, and Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant also chipped in double-figures in scoring.
The win, which came just two days after the U.S. set an Olympic scoring record in a 156-73 over Nigeria, proved that nobody can afford to get complacent when gold medals are on the line. The U.S. team learned its lesson. Since that Lithuania scare, it registered a 29-point win over Argentina and is three W's away from gold.
Team USA is by far the best men's team at the Olympics, but sometimes, the best team doesn't always win. Good thing the U.S. got its wake-up call early enough so it had time to recover for the remainder of the Olympic schedule.
Semifinals: August 9
Finals: August 11
Alternately, the women's team is one step closer than the men to a gold medal and has somehow looked like even more of a sure thing to achieve it.
As dominant as the men have been in London, the women have been better, and the fact that they haven't even been tested yet can be viewed as a positive or a negative. It's a positive because at this stage, with just two potential games remaining on the schedule, the women's team looks like a shoo-in for the gold.
And it's a negative because this team stands the chance of getting complacent—kind of like the men did against Lithuania—and getting knocked right out of contention.
The men's team looked unbeatable right before it was almost beaten, too, so you never know what could happen. But odds are, the women—who have won 39 consecutive Olympic contests and are gunning for their fifth straight gold—would have struggled already if they were going to struggle at all.
They've won each of their games by an average of 37.7 points; they've won by as many as 52 and by as little as 25. That doesn't paint the picture of a team that is on the verge of losing a game any time soon.
Ashton Eaton is kind of like the U.S.'s version of Usain Bolt. Well, maybe he's not quite that prolific yet—after all, he hasn't yet medaled—but by all indications, nobody's going to stop him in his quest to destroy the rest of the field in the men's decathlon.
Even during the Olympic Trials in Oregon last month, it was clear that no other competitor stood a chance against Eaton. He shattered an 11-year-old world record by 13 points, and early on in his events in London, very few are coming close to threatening him.
Where does the U.S. have its best shot of winning another gold?
So far, Eaton has come in first place in the 100-meter dash and in the long jump—by a landslide. He did come in 10th place in the shot put—coming into the Olympics, he knew the throwing events were his weakest, according to Yahoo! Sports—but with two events left on Wednesday and five left on Thursday, he is definitely the one to beat.
There is a reason Eaton is being touted as one of the best runners in decathlon history, per Yahoo! Sports. Even if he doesn't come in first in the discus throw and in the javelin throw, he still has five non-throwing events in which he can blow away the competition.
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