Olympic Medal Count 2012: Most Impressive Efforts from Unexpected Nations

Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIAugust 13, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07:  Behdad Salimikordasiabi of Iran competes in the Men's +105kg Weightlifting final on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 7, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Lars Baron/Getty Images

The United States of America or the People's Republic of China have finished atop the overall medal count list in every Olympic Games since the 1992 Barcelona Games when the Unified Team edged the Americans by four medals.

We typically know what we're going to see at the top of the medal list. The U.S., China, Russia, Great Britain, Australia, Germany and a few others frequently dominate the scene, blowing away the field by a substantial margin.

However, in the 2012 Games, there were numerous nations on the list that accumulated more medals than anybody expected them to in the months heading into London.

Here you'll find three of the best outputs from the most unexpected nations.


Kazakhstan: 7 Gold Medals, 1 Silver, 5 Bronze

Kazakhstan had never finished higher than 22nd in the overall medal count since its athletes began participating in the Olympic Games in 1996.

In London, Kazakhstani athletes finished 12th among all participating nations, racking up seven gold medals, one silver and five bronze.

We knew Kazakhstan thrived in weightlifting, boxing and wrestling, but who would have thought that Olga Rypakova and Alexandr Vinokurov would have won gold in the women's triple jump and the men's cycling road race.

For a country that had only won nine gold medals in the last four Olympic Games, seven golds is a huge achievement for the Kazakhstani athletes.


Islamic Republic of Iran: 4 Gold Medals, 5 Silver, 3 Bronze

The most medals Iran had ever won in the Olympic Games was seven, an accomplishment that came six decades ago in the 1952 Helsinki Games.

This year, Iran finished 17th in total medals, racking up 12—as many as it had in the last three Olympics combined.

The Iranians dominated the over-105 kg weightlifting competition. Behdad Salimikordasiabi and Sajjad Anoushiravani Hamlabad took home the gold and silver medals.

Iran had a banner performance in the 2012 London Games, putting on the best showcase in the country's Olympic history.


India: 0 Gold Medals, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze

India has the second-largest population in the world. Unfortunately, that population hasn't translated into success at the Olympic Games.

At the 2012 London Games, Indian athletes put on the best showing that they ever have in Olympic competition. In the last seven Games, India had accumulated six medals. Its athletes matched that total in London.

It excelled in badminton, boxing, shooting and wrestling to lock up its best Olympic Games of all time.


Here are the top-five countries in the overall medal race.

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States of America 46 29 29 104
People's Republic of China 38 27 22 87
Russian Federation 24 25 33 82
Great Britain
29 17 19 65
Germany 11 19 14 44

Here is a link to the overall standings.