Olympics 2012: Nation Power Rankings, Day 15 Edition
Only one more day to go now at the 2012 Olympics, and if Day 15 was any indication of how Sunday is going to go, we're in for a real treat.
Saturday was full of surprises, but we should't be surprised to see that Usain Bolt and his Jamaican teammates broke another world record with their performance in the men's 4x100-meter relay.
There were plenty of other noteworthy performances, and we'll take a look at them all in today's edition of nation power rankings.
Azerbaijan had a fantastic day, particularly in contact sports, as it earned two gold medals and one silver in boxing and wrestling events.
Sharif Sharifov and Toghrul Asgarov both earned gold medals in freestyle wrestling—increasing Azerbaijan's medal total in wrestling events to six.
Teymur Mammadov chipped in a bronze medal in men's heavyweight boxing, doubling the nation's total for boxing medals.
Out of the nine total medals earned by Azerbaijan in 2012, eight of them came by way of wrestling and boxing. The other was in weightlifting.
Brazil didn't put up overwhelming numbers in the 2012 Olympics, but they had a solid day on Saturday, upping their total medal count from 12 to 15.
The women's volleyball team defeated the American women 3-1, earning the gold medal. It's a big win for the next host country, especially considering that women's volleyball is one of the premier sports in the Olympics.
The men's football team was unable to duplicate that feat, though, as they lost to Mexico 2-1 in the final match. Silver isn't bad, but they had expected more.
Finally, Esquiva Falcao Florentino earned a silver medal after being defeated by Japan's Ryota Murata in the gold-medal match of the men's 75-kilogram boxing division.
8. Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago doubled its total medal count on Saturday, earning two medals to bring its total for the 2012 Games up to four. Even more impressive than that was the manner in which one of the medals was won.
Keshorn Walcott, a 19-year-old javelin thrower, beat the entire men's field to win the gold medal—the first non-sprinting, track and field medal in the nation's history. Many of Walcott's competitors were more than 10 years his senior, making his performance even more impressive in my mind.
The men's 4x100-meter relay team also did well, earning a bronze medal in the same race that Usain Bolt and the Jamaicans won in world-record time.
The highlight of the day for China came when Zou Shiming defeated Thailand's Kaeo Pongprayoon to earn the gold medal in the light flyweight division for men's boxing. It was a close contest that Zou won by two points. You can tell from the picture that Pongprayoon didn't take the loss well.
China also won two silver medals and three bronze in various events, but the real story of the day was the failure of its divers in the men's platform competition to bring home the expected gold medal.
Qiu Bo took second place behind American diver David Boudia, while his teammate Lin Yue fell all the way to sixth place—an unexpected and disappointing result.
Ukraine had a phenomenal day, winning five medals in various sports—two golds and three silvers.
Yuri Cheban won the men's C-2 200-meter canoe sprint to win the first gold medal of the day. Oleksandr Usyk followed suit later in the day by winning the gold medal in the men's heavyweight boxing division, edging out Clemente Russo by three points.
Inna Osypenko-Radomska won the silver in the women's K-1 200 meter, Oleksandr Pyatnytsya finished in second behind Trinidad and Tobago's Keyshorn Walcott in the men's javelin and Denys Berinchyk earned a silver medal for his performance in the men's light welterweight boxing division.
Throughout the games, the Ukrainian boxers fared quite well, earning four medals.
For Mexico, it really doesn't get any bigger than beating Brazil in the men's football final to win the gold medal over its South American rival.
That's just what they did, too, winning by a score of 2-1 thanks to Oribe Peralta's two goals.
It's the first time that Mexico has ever earned a medal for football in the Olympics, and the color of the medal makes it all the sweeter.
Maria del Rosario Espinoza pitched in with a bronze medal for her performance in the more-than-67-kilogram Taekwondo division.
Both medals are huge for Mexico, which brought its total medal count up to seven on Day 15.
Jamaica only won two medals on Saturday, but one of them was rewrote the books.
Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Michael Frater and Nesta Carter broke the world record in the men's 4x100-meter relay, cutting two seconds off the old mark and winning gold easily over the U.S. team.
Not only did they set a world record, but this gold-medal performance gives Bolt another perfect record at the Olympics, cementing him as the best sprinter of all time.
The Jamaican women didn't fare as well in their 4x400-meter relay, finishing in third place behind the Americans and Russians.
3. Great Britain
Mo Farah doubled down on his gold medal count on Saturday, winning the men's 5,000-meter. He also won the 10,000-meter one week ago.
What he's done in London is nothing short of spectacular—winning both of the distance races.
Ed McKeever also scored a gold for the host country on Saturday, winning the men's K-1 200-meter kayak race.
Luke Campbell secured Great Britain's third gold medal of the day when he defeated Ireland's John Joe Nevin in the gold-medal match of the men's 56-kilogram boxing division.
Team GB also earned three bronze medals. The most notable of those medals in the men's platform diving competition, where teen sensation Thomas Daley finished in third place behind America's David Boudia and China's Qiu Bo.
I have been stunned by the way Great Britain's athletes have stormed the Games this year, especially considering how they got off to such a slow start during the first handful of days.
Team USA had another big day on Saturday.
Most notably, and most surprisingly, U.S. platform diver David Boudia stunned the diving world by winning the gold medal in the men's individual 10-meter competition, beating China's Qiu Bo by a mere 1.80 points.
The U.S. women's relay team won another gold by defeating the Russians and Jamaicans in the 4x400-meter relay. Not surprisingly, the U.S. women's basketball team did the same by beating France by 36 points in the gold-medal game.
Brigetta Barrett came oh so close to winning a gold medal in the women's high jump, but she was outdone by Russia's Anna Chicherova by a scant .02 meters to earn a silver medal.
The men's relay team was beaten by Jamaica in the 4x100-meter relay, but set a new national record in the process of the silver-medal run.
To top it all off, the Americans earned bronze medals in women's cross-country mountain bike racing and men's freestyle wrestling.
Diversity is a beautiful thing.
Day 15 was a banner day for Russia in track and field events. It tallied eight total medals in track and field alone, and a stunning 15 total medals on the day.
There aren't enough words to describe what a monster of a day that is. Here they all are:
- Gold - Sergey Kirdyapkin - men's 50,000-meter race walk
- Gold - men's K2 kayak double 200-meter (Yury Postrigay and Alexander Dyachenko)
- Gold - Evgeniya Kanaeva - women's rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around
- Gold - Elena Lashmanova - women's 20,000-meter race walk
- Gold - Anna Chicherova - women's high jump
- Gold - Mariya Savinova - women's 800-meter
- Silver - Daria Dmitrieva - women's rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around
- Silver - Olga Kaniskina - women's 20,000-meter race walk
- Silver - Besik Kudukhov - men's freestyle wrestling 60 kilogram
- Silver - women's 4x400-meter relay
- Bronze - Ekaterina Poistogova - women's 800-meter
- Bronze - Svetlana Shkolina - women's high jump
- Bronze - Bilyal Makhov - men's freestyle wrestling 120 kilogram
- Bronze - Anastasia Baryshnikova - women's 67 kg or more Taekwondo
- Bronze - Ivan Shtyl' - men's canoe C1 single 200-meter
If that isn't the best day of any nation in the 2012 Summer Games, then I'm George Lucas.