Olympic Medal Count 2012: 5 Ways USA Can Beat out China
As it was in 2008, the United States and China are once again engaged in a back and forth battle to determine who will come out of the medal count on top in the Summer Olympics.
In '08, the USA won the overall count 110-100, but China had a distinct advantage in gold medals, 51-36.
This year, it is too close to call at this point.
At this current moment, China has the edge in both categories, but only barely. They lead the U.S. 64-63 in overall medals and 31-29 in golds.
While there are some events like table tennis in which China will certainly move up and gain an advantage without the Americans being able to join the Chinese on the podium, here are five ways America can surpass its athletic rivals and finish 2012 as the best in the world.
5. Secure Basketball Golds
If the United States fails to win gold in either men's or women's Basketball, it would be considered a tremendous disappointment.
Both teams are tops in the world and cruised past the group stage into the quarterfinals.
On the men's side, Team USA will face a tough Australia team in the quarters, and Spain, Russia and France are lurking on the other end of the bracket. However, the way Team USA has performed thus far behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant, a gold medal seems imminent.
Plus, to help matters for Team USA, China's men's team failed to qualify for the quarterfinals.
On the women's side, the Americans should have an easy time dispatching Canada in the quarters. If China can get past a tough Australia team, USA will have a chance to knock them out in the semi's and force China to play for only the possibility of the bronze.
If things go right for the USA in Basketball, they will gain two gold medals while the Chinese fail to medal at all.
4. Have a Strong Finish in Gymnastics
Although Russia leads the overall gymnastics medal count with seven, the USA and China are leading the way in golds with two a piece, along with four each overall.
Tomorrow, the final four events will take place in gymnastics in the 2012 Olympics, and there is still time for the USA to rise above China in this area.
In the men's parallel bars, all-around bronze medalist Danell Leyva is only a reserve and the U.S. will have to hope Feng Zhe and Zhang Chenglong do not medal so it doesn't fall further behind.
However in the women's beam finals, all-around gold medalist Gabby Douglas will be participating along with her teammate from USA's gold medal team, Aly Raisman. They will look to beat out Chinese gymnast Lu Siu, who had the top qualifying score for the event, as well as her teammate Linlin Deng.
Leyva did manage to qualify for the finals of the men's horizontal bar finals, along with fellow American Jonathan Horton. They will look to best Ekpe Zonerland of Holland, the top qualifier, as well as two Chinese competitors.
Finally, in the women's floor exercise final, Raisman had the top qualifying time, and American Jordyn Wieber is also in the events finals. Furthermore, no Chinese gymnasts qualified for the finals, so that could be the American's best chance to gain some separation.
3. Rack Up Medals in Smaller Events
There are plenty of other events that the U.S. still has an opportunity to medal in that may not receive the attention of the other four on this list.
The United States will have an opportunity to surpass China by medaling in such events as triathlon, cycling, water polo, canoeing, sailing, wrestling and others that would greatly help up its medal count.
While some are much more realistic than others, any medal the USA can acquire will help it tremendously when all the dust has settled.
2. Win Up to Four Medals in Volleyball
Both the men's and women's U.S. Olympic Volleyball teams have advanced to the quarterfinals of this years tournament, and they both have serious medal aspirations.
The women are ranked first in the world and behind players like Destinee Hooker and Logan Tom, have sailed through the group stages.
If they can avoid an upset against the Dominican Republic, they will have two matches to get on the medal stand.
The men will have a tough matchup against Italy, but the defending Olympic champions still have all the ability to win and advance to the semis.
On the sand, although the men's side has been a disappointment, the USA women still have two teams remaining that have reached the semifinals, and will have an excellent chance to not only obtain medals, but perhaps even meet in the gold-medal game.
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings are the defending Olympic champions, but Jen Kessey and April Ross have also made it to the semis and could end the teams amazing winning streak.
Standing in their way are the top two teams in the world. May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings will face the number two team from China, while Kessey and Ross will take on a top-ranked Brazilian team.
While they may be the lower ranked teams, it would be hard to bet against either American squad based on how well they have played in the tournament thus far.
They will have an opportunity to make U.S. Olympic history by meeting in the finals, and with any luck from Brazil, possibly gain two spots on China in the medal count.
1. Dominate Track and Field
With the swimming and gymnastics portions of the Olympics are (mostly) over, the focus will now shift to track and field (also known as athletics) as the events to watch for the rest of the games.
We already have seen several thrilling events including the men's 100-meter dash won again by Jamaican sensation Usain Bolt. Justin Gatlin, however, did manage to medal for the U.S. in the event taking bronze.
Team USA has been dominating the athletics portion thus far, winning nine medals compared to just three from China.
For the men, Gatlin, and four other men have taken home medals, while the women's side has also produced four, including gold's by Sanya Richards-Ross in the women's 400-meter and Jennifer Suhr in the women's pole vault.
With athletes such as Wallace Spearmon, Galen Rupp, Jason Richardson, William Claye, Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter, Richards-Ross, Lolo Jones and Dawn Harper, all still participating in individual events, the USA is stacked and should churn out several more medals by the time it's all said and done.
Combining the USA's talent in this area with the fact that it is an area that China doesn't particularly excel at, and you are looking at the top way Team USA can separate itself in the medal count.