Olympic Medal Tally 2012: Countries That Surpassed Expectations in London

Scott CarasikContributor IIAugust 11, 2012

Kazakhs have always been great wrestlers.
Kazakhs have always been great wrestlers.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Every four years in the Olympics, there are always unknown countries that end up having a ridiculously good showing at the games. This leads to a huge medal count for how small their country is and how relatively unknown their athletes are.

The following countries have surprised with double digit medals and relatively low profiles. Each one of them has impressed with their showing in this year's games and hopefully will be able to duplicate their results in Rio in 2016.



Medal Count: 10

Country's Total Population: Approximately 16,000,000 people

Americans know this country more for the movie Borat than their actual accomplishments. However, no one thought they would have hit the double digits in their medal count. Not only did the Kazakh team hit double-digit medal count, they also set four Olympic records and one world record.

Kazakhstan's main medal haul came from events that they used to dominate as part of the former Soviet Union: weightlifting and wrestling. Six of the 10 medals earned were in one of the two sports, and all of the Olympic records they set were in weightlifting, with Ilya Ilin setting the men's 94kg weightlifting world record.


New Zealand

Medal Count: 13

Country's Total Population: Approximately 4,400,000 people

Known for being that group of islands just outside of Australia, they were expected to win a couple of medals in swimming and rowing. However, they've also surprised with additional medals to get them close to the 15-medal mark.

They currently have a baker's dozen after earning medals in the uber-cool BMX event, the track cycling events and even a shot put medal in track and field. New Zealand has definitely out performed their expectations and will continue to push forward towards that 15-medal mark.



Medal Count: 12

Country's Total Population: Approximately 9,500,000 people

It's a country that my grandmother used to say was either Russia or Poland—depending on the month—when telling me where she was from. Hard to believe that they have hit double digits after not being expected to hit more than just a few.

They've had great variety to their medaling events. From tennis stars Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka to swimming star Aliaksandra Herasimenia, there have been a couple of multiple medal winners as well. It will be interesting to see if they finish with any additional medals now that the swimming and tennis events are done.


Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist and Trends and Traffic Writer for Bleacher Report. As a Featured Columnist, he covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.