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Olympic Medal Count 2012: 7 Countries That Have Shined in London

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIJanuary 31, 2015

Olympic Medal Count 2012: 7 Countries That Have Shined in London

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    The 2012 Olympic Games in London are now coming to a close. Some athletes and their respective countries will head home disheartened by their performances, while others will leave England elated. 

    The 30th Olympiad has featured a great effort by the host country, a few first-time medal winning countries, as well as some expected strong performances.

    Here are the seven nations that have stolen the show in London:

     

    Note: All results via London2012.com

Cyprus, Grenada and Guatemala

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    Three athletes in London won the first medals in their respective country's Olympic history.

    The first was Guatemalan race walker Erick Barrondo on Aug. 4.  

    The 21-year-old captured a silver medal in the 20-kilometer race walk, as he was bested only by Chinese race walker Ding Chen's Olympic record-setting performance.

    Barrondo, with a time of 1:18:57, finished just behind Chen's record time of 1:18:46—securing Guatemala's first medal.

    On Aug. 6, Cyprus sailor Pavios Kontides finished behind Australian Tom Slingsby in men's laser sailing, and captured the silver.

    Sailors compete in a series of races with the lowest amount of points being awarded to the winner.

    After each competitor's highest score is erased at the end of the series, the sailor with the lowest point total takes the gold.

    Slingsby wound up with a net of 43 points to take the gold, while Kontides earned the first medal for Cyprus—a silver with 59 points.

    Later in the day, Grenada runner Kirani James won the 400-meter race.

    James, a student at the University of Alabama, set the national record at 43.94 seconds, easily defeating Dominican silver medalist Luguelin Santos.

    At just 19-years of age, James claimed the first Olympic medal for his country.

Kazakhstan

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    With a few days left, Kazakhstan has tripled its gold-medal output from the 2008 Olympics.

    After claiming two golds in Beijing, Kazakhstan now has six in London.

    The big story has been the Kazakhstanian women, who have nabbed four gold and five total medals. 

    Zulfiya Chinshanlo (53 kg), Maiya Maneza (63 kg) and Svetlana Podobedova (75 kg) captured three golds in weightlifting.

    Olga Rypakova, the fourth Kazakhstanian female to win a gold, jumped her season best of 14.98-meters in the triple jump

    Road cyclist Alexandr Vinokurov has been the only male to win a gold for Kazakhstan, thus far.

    The 38-year-old won the race in 5 hours, 45:57 minutes, edging out Rigoberto Uran Uran of Colombia.

    Kazakhstan also added bronze medals in women's boxing and men's wrestling. 

Hungary

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    Hungary has nearly as many gold medals in 2012 as it had total medals in 2008.

    Hungary took home 10 total medals in Beijing, while it already has claimed eight golds in London.

    This is without the men's water polo team defending its Olympic title, after being knocked out by Italy in the quarterfinals.

    Three golds came in the canoe sprint competition, where Hungary claimed the top spot in the men's 100-meter double kayak, women's 500-meter kayak four and the women's 500-meter single kayak.

    Add two gold medals in men's swimming, one in fencing, one in the men's hammer, and another on the men's pommel horse, and Hungary has looked very strong in London.

    Finally, Hungary can claim two medals in judo, two in wrestling and two more in the canoe for a total of 15.

United States

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    All right, so the United States winning a bunch of medals is hardly a surprise, as it leads by far in all-time medals.

    However, Americans have claimed one less gold medal in 2012 than in 2008—and they're far from finished.

    You can jot down additional golds for the men's and women's basketball teams, where the U.S. is the heavily favored.

    In Olympic Athletics, or track and field, Ashton Eaton and Trey Hardee are well on their way to a gold-silver finish in the men's decathlon, as well.

    It looks as if Team USA will by far eclipse its production in Beijing, as the battle with China for the top spot will likely continue until the closing ceremonies. 

    It's no surprise that many of the medals have come in swimming and athletics.

    So far, the U.S. has 31 medals in swimming, including 16 gold. In Athletics, Americans have captured 20 medals, including five gold.

    We've seen new stars emerge, including Eaton, swimmer Missy Franklin and the next wave of women's artistic gymnastics champions.

    We've also seen some repeat medalists such as Michael Phelps and the greatest beach volleyball duo ever, Kerri Walsh-Jennings and Misty May-Treanor. 

    No matter who we've seen, they've all been very entertaining in London.

Great Britain

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    Great Britain has not disappointed as this year's host country.

    Team GB already has more gold and total medals than in 2008, as it sits in third with 24 gold and 51 total medals.  

    In 2012, Great Britain's strength has been in rowing and cycling, where the British have claimed 18 medals, including 11 gold.  

    On the track, Mohamed Farah and Jessica Ennis have been fan-favorites.

    Farah, a Somalian-born athlete, moved to London when he was 8 years old.

    He is now 29 and the gold medalist in the men's 10,000-meter race, where he bested American distance runner Galen Rupp.

    Farah is in contention for earning another medal in the 5,000-meter race, which will conclude on Aug. 11.

    Meanwhile, Ennis claimed gold in the women's heptathlon when she set the national record with 6,955 points—well ahead of German silver medalist Lilli Schwarzkopf at 6,649.  

    While the British team is still a long way off from China and the U.S., its athletes have shined as bright as any in their role as the host nation. 

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