In 2008, China won the overall gold medal count by bringing home 51 gold medals from the Beijing Olympics. The United States took home 36. The two countries are expected to compete once again for the overall gold medal count at the 2012 London Olympics.
According to Time Magazine, China had a big numeric advantage in 2008. The country sent 639 athletes to the Beijing games. This year, however, China is only sending 396 athletes.
Chinese Olympic delegation deputy Xiao Tian, said:
“Without home advantage, we face huge difficulties in meeting our gold-medal performance in Beijing.”
But the country is still well represented. China has 39 gold medalist competing again in 2012 and the country will compete in every event except for the equestrian events, handball, and soccer.
Time Magazine reports that the majority of China’s medals will come from only a handful of disciplines. In 2008, the country won 38 of their gold medals in badminton, diving, gymnastics, shooting, table tennis, and weight lifting. They are expected to do equally well in those events this year.
But China could have a hard time keeping up with the United States at the 2012 London Olympics.
The US is sending 530 athletes to the London Olympics, who will compete in 25 of the 28 disciplines and a total of 246 medal events. The team also has several medal winners returning to the Olympics.
The Inquisitr reported earlier this months that America has 124 athletes who have already won Olympic medals competing at the London Games. Seventy six of those athletes have already won gold medals.
So who will win the overall medal count?
In 2008, the United States took home 110 medals overall (36 gold, 38 silver, and 36 bronze). China took home 100 (51 gold, 21 silver and 28 bronze).
CNN estimates that China will beat the United States by two medals this year.
Here are CNN’s predictions: China (102 medals) / United States (100) / Russia (71) / UK (57) / Australia (43) / France (39) / Germany (36) / South Korea (31) / Cuba (29) / Brazil (28) / Ukraine (28) / Italy (27) / Japan (27) / Belarus (19) / Spain (19).
But does it really matter who wins? Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, said: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part.”
For the individual medal count, Michael Phelps could become the most decorated athlete in history if he wins two medals at the 2012 London Olympics.