Olympic Medal Count 2012: Day 16 Events That Will Cap Team USA's Triumph

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  (L-R) Lebron James #6, Tyson Chandler #4 and Kobe Bryant #10 of United States watch from the bench during the Men's Basketball quaterfinal game against Australia on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The United States enters the final day of the London Olympics with a big cushion in the overall medal standings over China. It is essentially impossible for Team USA to be caught at this point, but there is no doubt that the Americans with events remaining on Sunday would love to go out with a bang.

There may not seem to be many good events on tap from an American perspective on Day 16, but there are definitely a few that Team USA can contend for a medal in. The United States also has the advantage in gold medals, so it would be nice to secure the distinction as the winningest country at the 2012 Games regardless of how you look at it.

Here are three events in which I expect an American to medal and contribute to Team USA's winning effort in the London 2012 medal standings.



Men's Basketball Final

The United States men's basketball team has thoroughly dominated the competition in London and has lived up to its comparisons to the Dream Team for the most part.

Team USA already defeated Australia and Argentina in the knockout round just as it did in 2008, and it will look to vanquish Spain in the gold-medal game, just like it did in Beijing as well.

Spain has some firepower, but the Americans are heavy favorites and shouldn't have too much of an issue ending up at the top of the podium.

It's fair to say that the men's basketball tournament is the marquee event at the Olympics from an American point of view, so it would be fitting to put the icing on the cake with a gold medal.

LeBron James and Kobe Bryant haven't necessarily had to be as dominant as they are in the NBA thus far due to the team's immense talent pool, but I expect both to step up on the big stage and will Team USA to victory.



Men's Freestyle Wrestling 96kg

The United States men's wrestling team has already come away with a gold medal as Jordan Burroughs won it all in the 74kg division, but there is another wrestler with a chance to medal who will compete on Sunday.

Jake Varner is a top contender in the 96kg weight class and will certainly have a shot at medaling. Varner was a two-time Division I wrestling champion at Iowa State and definitely has the pedigree to do some damage at the international level.

He isn't as highly touted as Burroughs and I wouldn't call him the gold-medal favorite, but a medal of any kind would be great for him.

The United States seems to be turning the corner and becoming a power in freestyle wrestling once again, and if Varner can nab a medal in addition to Burroughs' gold, it should do a lot for the sport in this country.


Men's Marathon

Aside from Meb Keflezighi's silver medal in Athens, an American man hasn't medaled in the marathon since Frank Shorter's silver in 1976. The United States dominated this event early in its existence, but it has since been owned by African nations as the continent has swept the medals in the marathon in two of the past three Olympics.

That happened in Beijing, but Team USA has three decent contenders who could possibly sneak onto the podium.

Keflezighi is getting up there in age, but he is still in the mix. The United States' best chance at a medal, however, is 29-year-old Ryan Hall. His personal best is competitive with some of the top runners in the race and if he can shave a little time off of what he normally runs, a medal isn't out of the question.

He will have a tough time beating out contingents from Kenya and Ethiopia, but it wouldn't shock me if Hall came through.


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