London 2012 Olympics: Most Impressive 1-Win Wonder Nations

David DanielsSenior Writer IAugust 15, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06:  Kirani James of Grenada leads the field in the Men's 400m final on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 6, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

David doesn’t beat Goliath often in the Olympics. But when he does, the whole world hears the giant hit the deck.

In the 2012 London Games, Team USA, China, Russia—the usual Olympic juggernauts—dominated the competition. A handful of gifted underdogs got themselves into the gold medal standings, though. Here are the smallest nations that took home gold in one prestigious event.


3. Trinidad and Tobago

Population: 1.2 million

Keshorn Walcott is just 19 years old, but in a nation known for its sprinters, he was the only athlete from Trinidad and Tobago who conquered the field.

Walcott won the men’s javelin throw with a mark of 84.58 meters. To do so, he shocked Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen who had not only recorded the longest throw in the qualifiers by over two meters, but was the reigning silver medalist from the 2011 World Championships.


2. Grenada

Population: 108,000

Grenada should get on this list for the next Olympic Games or two with 19-year-old phenom Kirani James. He dominated the men’s 400-meter dash crossing the finish line more than a half second ahead of the Dominican Republic’s Luguelin Santos who finished second.

Just to put how small Grenada is population wise into perspective, it’s about the same size as Green Bay, Wis., about half the size of Boise, Idaho and less than one-tenth the size of Dallas, Texas.

The only reason why it isn’t No. 1 on the list is because Team USA favorite LaShawn Merritt pulled out of the race with a hamstring injury.


1. Bahamas

Population: 313,000

Chris Brown, Michael Mathieu, Ramon Miller and Demetrius Pinder shocked the world.

In recent years, the U.S. 4x400-meter relay team has been downright dominant. It won gold in the 2011 and 2009 World Championships as well as the 2008 Olympics. It wasn’t a matter of if the Americans would win the event in London—only how much they would win by.

That is, until the Bahamas—a nation about the size of Pittsburgh—blew by them. The Bahamians recorded a time of 2:56.72 upsetting the heavily favored Team USA squad by 0.33 seconds.

The Bahamas were without a doubt the most impressive one-win wonder of the Olympic Games.


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.