The United States once again won more medals than any of its competitors at the Olympics—16 more than China, 22 more than and Russia, and 39 more than host nation Great Britain.
How did the U.S. do against its toughest competitor, itself?
Very well, depending on how one chooses to compare. In overall medals, the U.S. won six fewer than in 2008. However, two of those were in sports—baseball and softball—which were not played at London. That drops the differential to four.
But that’s overall; how about by medal class? In 2012 the United States won 46 gold medals, eight more than China, 17 more than Great Britain, and 10 more than it brought home from Beijing. The silver and bronze totals were both significantly lower, but the extra golds make up for that. So far, the 2012 Olympics looks like a huge success.
What about breaking it down by sport? There are some sports which, if technically not more important than any other, certainly attract more attention. Track and Field, swimming, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball and beach volleyball, women’s soccer, have been keynote events of the U.S. for several Olympics. How did we fare in the more popular events?
Olympic basketball belongs to the United States. Maybe by the Rio games other countries will be able to field challenging teams, but for the past couple Games, no nation has been able to match America’s all-NBA/all-WNBA lineups.
The U.S. women won their fourth gold in five Games in soccer.
In swimming the medal count was the same, but the U.S. had the stars: Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, and Allison Schmitt all won three or more medals. Franklin won five, at age 17; everybody loved her. Michael Phelps started slowly but came on strong, ending his swimming career with multiple golds.
In swimming the U.S. basically couldn’t lose. Regardless of comparative medal counts, the U.S. swimmers were huge winners.
In women’s gymnastics, the U.S. won both the team and individual all-around gold medals. This equates to winning gymnastics, for most. Can’t complain here.
Next … In beach volleyball