Olympic Medal Count 2012 Chart: Most Surprising Nations in the Final Table

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Olympic Medal Count 2012 Chart: Most Surprising Nations in the Final Table
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Iran's Ghasem Rezaei showed the world that his country is a force to be reckoned with on the wrestling mat.

The 2012 London Olympics concluded today with several high-profile events, including the men's marathon (won, unexpectedly, by Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich) and the gold medal men's basketball game (won, expectedly, by the United States over Spain).  

The top 10 nations on the medal board are fairly unsurprising: In fact, USA Today accurately predicted the top 10 nations on the medal chart several months in advance. 

Nevertheless, there were some results that defied experts' predictions.  With the Games in our rearview mirror, let's look back on a few countries that finished in unpredicted places on the medal chart (for better or worse). 

 

Surprising: Iran 

12 medals, four gold

Iran's total medal count doesn't exactly strike fear in the hearts of the Americans or Chinese, but it's still impressive.  

That's because Iran only sent 53 athletes to the 2012 Olympic Games.  Compare that with the United States' 530 athletes, or China's 396, and you'll appreciate Iran's accomplishment.  

While it's not an entirely fair one-to-one comparison (because many of the U.S. or Chinese athletes competed against their own countrymen), it's still interesting to note that the Iranians won a medal for every 4.4 athletes they sent to the Olympics.  

The Chinese won a medal for every 4.6 athletes they sent to the Olympics, and the U.S. won a medal for every 5.1 American athletes competing.  

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Iranians should be very proud of their country's success in the Olympics, particularly on the wrestling mat, where they won six medals (three gold).  If they branch out into other categories, the Iranians could see a steep medal increase in 2016.

 

Disappointing: Germany

44 medals, 11 gold

Germany finished a very respectable fifth in the medal count with 44, three more than they brought home from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  

They cleaned house in canoe-kayak and rowing, defended their title in men's field hockey and stole the gold in men's volleyball, a sport typically dominated by Brazil and the United States.  

Still, the general tone regarding Germany's Olympic performance was one of disappointment, with much of the criticism originating from the fatherland itself.  The German team set an ambitious goal heading into London, with a target of 86 medals for the Olympics, nearly twice what they ultimately won.  

Germany was nearly shut out of the swimming medals, winning only a single silver.  

Germany is also home to diver Stephan Feck, who ended up with 0.0s across the board in his springboard preliminaries, winding up on his back at the end of a flop dive.  The dive has gone viral across the internet, (though the IOC has removed most videos of the event for copyright reasons), and has garnered plenty of criticism from fellow Germans.

Al Bello/Getty Images

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Roland Matthes summed up his frustration with the swimming team (in a very questionable manner, given his country's history), opining that Germany "needs a dictator" to bring the sport out of its "developing country" status (via The Guardian).

 

Surprising: Kazakhstan 

13 medals, seven gold

Though their medal count isn't staggeringly high, what's surprising about Kazakhstan's performance is that more than half of their medals are gold.

27-year-old Olga Rypakova set a season high in triple-jump with a 14.98-meter mark, bringing home the gold in that category.  Meanwhile, veteran Alexandr Vinokourov won Olympic gold in the cycling road race over favored Brit Mark Cavendish.

Kazakhstan also displayed its strength, winning four gold medals for weightlifting alone (including three by women) and taking home the welterweight boxing title when Serik Sapiyev defeated British boxer Freddie Evans.  

Overall, the Kazakhs should be proud of their performance, as they won surprise golds in several categories.

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