Olympics 2012: Medal Count Proves US Is Still Most Dominant Athletic Country

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Olympics 2012: Medal Count Proves US Is Still Most Dominant Athletic Country
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

The 2012 London Olympic Games have officially come to a close and, once again, the U.S. sits atop the medal count.

In Beijing they did the same thing, but the host nation China made it interesting. America topped the Chinese by 10 in the overall medal count, but China earned 15 more gold medals than America—China had 51 and the U.S. had 36.

However, in London, the U.S. reemerged as the dominant athletic country.

The United States earned 104 medals, 15 more than any other country—China was second with 87. Plus, the Americans took back their lead in golds, winning 46 of those, eight more than the second ranked Chinese.

Team USA did this by winning medals in a mix of its traditional strengths and with strong performances in the less publicized events. 

The U.S. got its winning medal count kick started with a predictably strong performance in the pool.

Swimmers like Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin all earned multiple medals. Plus, fresh faces emerged from the water such as 100-meter freestyle winner Nathan Adrian and 15-year-old Katie Ledecky, who earned gold in the 800-meter free.

America also continued its superiority in track and field.

Allyson Felix won three gold medals, Sanya Richards-Ross finally captured her first gold in the 400-meters and Ashton Eaton became the world's best athlete in the decathlon.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In total the Americans won 29 medals on the track, only one short of their lofty pre-London goal of 30. But as Scott Blackmon of the U.S. Olympic Committee told the AP, nobody’s going home disappointed.

“I think everyone thought their goal of 30 was out of reach,” Scott Blackmun, CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, told The Associated Press on Sunday. “Turns out, it was within reach. My take on it is that we have some of the best athletes in the world. They rose to the top.”

America also took home gold in men’s and women’s basketball, took gold and silver in women’s beach volleyball and the U.S. women's soccer team grabbed the nation’s attention with its thrilling gold medal run.

However, it wasn't just about the big sports, plenty of Americans were successful in the lesser-known events.

David Boudia upset the favored Chinese divers to take gold in the men's 10-meter platform. Kayla Harrison took home America's first ever gold in Judo. Jake Varner and Jordan Burroughs both took home the gold in wrestling for the U.S. over the last few days of competition.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of athletes contributed to America's outstanding medal haul, whether they competed as a team or individually.

One thing is for sure, though. There is no question about America's standing as the foremost country at the Olympics.

China put that status into question in 2008, but this time around, the U.S. showed that it was up to the challenge.

Now, it's on to Rio. And once again, the U.S. will do its best to hold off a number of hard-charging nations that could outshine America's medal glory.

Only four more years, till we get to see.

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