The gold medal tally between the United States and China figured to be close, and the sports where both countries shine were the key.
One of those sports was gymnastics. The American women put on a show by winning the team competition. Gabby Douglas took the all-around gold, while Aly Raisman was amazing, taking gold in the floor exercise and bronze on the balance beam.
Chinese gymnasts Yao Jinnan and Sui Liu were underachievers in London. Both performed well at the World Championships, but in London, neither won a medal. The Chinese women didn't produce the gold-medal performances they were capable of.
On the men's side, the Americans were the ones that underachieved. Much was expected from Danell Leyva, Jake Dalton, Jonathan Horton, John Orozco and Sam Mikulak, but only Leyva managed to bring home a medal.
China's Zou Kai and Chen Yibing led a dominant Chinese team to gold in the team competition. But Yibing, who is generally a master on the rings, had to settle for a silver medal.
Though they dwarfed the American men's accomplishments in London, that was a scenario that equated to a missed opportunity for Chinese gold.
In the overall medal standings, what could have been complete Chinese domination in gymnastics only canceled out the Chinese women's failures.
The female American gymnasts were among the highest profile Olympians at the games. In my opinion, they were the most inspirational athletes as well.
I don't consider it impractical to think that their performances not only gave the Americans unexpected gold, but they also pushed other Americans to perform.
We all knew the Americans would dominate swimming, basketball and even much of the track and field competitions. But one of the more pleasant surprises was the American women claiming five medals in Gymnastics.
The United States won 10 more overall medals in Beijing, but 10 less gold medals.
In 2012, the USA won eight more gold and 16 more medals overall. Mathematically it wasn't all about the female gymnasts, but I would certainly call them the American symbols of this Olympic Games.
Here is a look at the final medal count:
|Olympic Medal Tracker|
|United States Total: 104||46||29||29|
|China Total: 87||38||27||22|
|Russia Total: 82||24||25||33|
|Great Britain Total: 65||29||17||19|
|Germany Total: 44||11||19||14|
|Japan Total: 38||7||14||17|
|Australia Total: 35||7||16||12|
|France Total: 34||11||11||12|
|South Korea Total: 28||13||8||7|
|Italy Total: 28||8||9||11|
|Netherlands Total: 20||6||8||8|
|Ukraine Total: 20||6||5||9|
|Canada Total: 18||1||5||12|
|Hungary Total: 17||8||4||5|
|Spain Total: 17||3||10||4|
|Brazil Total: 17||3||5||9|
|Cuba Total: 14||5||3||6|
|Kazakhstan Total: 13||7||1||5|
|New Zealand Total: 13||5||3||5|
|Belarus Total: 13||3||5||5|
|Iran Total: 12||4||5||3|
|Jamaica Total: 12||4||4||4|
|Kenya Total: 11||2||4||5|
|Czech Republic Total: 10||4||3||3|
|Poland Total: 10||2||2||6|
|Azerbaijan Total: 10||2||2||6|
|Romania Total: 9||2||5||2|
|Denmark Total: 9||2||4||3|
|Sweden Total: 8||1||4||3|
|Colombia Total: 8||1||3||4|
|Ethiopia Total: 7||3||1||3|
|Georgia Total: 7||1||3||3|
|Mexico Total: 7||1||3||3|
|North Korea Total: 6||4||0||2|
|South Africa Total: 6||3||2||1|
|Croatia Total: 6||3||1||2|
|India Total: 6||0||2||4|
|Turkey Total: 5||2||2||1|
|Lithuania Total: 5||2||1||2|
|Ireland Total: 5||1||1||3|
|Mongolia Total: 5||0||2||3|
|Switzerland Total: 4||2||2||0|
|Norway Total: 4||2||1||1|
|Slovenia Total: 4||1||1||2|
|Serbia Total: 4||1||1||2|
|Argentina Total: 4||1||1||2|
|Trinidad and Tobago Total: 4||1||0||3|
|Uzbekistan Total: 4||1||0||3|
|Slovakia Total: 4||0||1||3|
|Tunisia Total: 3||1||1||1|
|Thailand Total: 3||0||2||1|
|Armenia Total: 3||0||1||2|
|Belgium Total: 3||0||1||2|
|Finland Total: 3||0||1||2|
|Dominican Republic Total: 2||1||1||0|
|Latvia Total: 2||1||0||1|
|Egypt Total: 2||0||2||0|
|Chinese Taipei Total: 2||0||1||1|
|Estonia Total: 2||0||1||1|
|Malaysia Total: 2||0||1||1|
|Bulgaria Total: 2||0||1||1|
|Puerto Rico Total: 2||0||0||1|
|Indonesia Total: 2||0||1||1|
|Moldova Total: 2||0||0||2|
|Qatar Total: 2||0||0||2|
|Singapore Total: 2||0||0||2|
|Greece Total: 2||0||0||2|
|Algeria Total: 1||1||0||0|
|Bahamas Total: 1||1||0||0|
|Uganda Total: 1||1||0||0|
|Venezuela Total: 1||1||0||0|
|Grenada Total: 1||1||0||0|
|Portugal Total: 1||0||1||0|
|Montenegro Total: 1||0||1||0|
|Botswana Total: 1||0||1||0|
|Cyprus Total: 1||0||1||0|
|Guatemala Total: 1||0||1||0|
|Gabon Total: 1||0||1||0|
|Morocco Total: 1||0||0||1|
|Saudi Arabia Total: 1||0||0||1|
|Kuwait Total: 1||0||0||1|
|Bahrain Total: 1||0||0||1|
|Afghanistan Total: 1||0||0||1|
|Tajikistan Total: 1||0||0||1|
|Hong Kong Total: 1||0||0||1|
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