It was neck and neck for a while there, but with the 2012 London Olympics finally over and done with, it was the United States atop the medal count.
The U.S. finished the Olympics with more overall medals, and more gold medals than any other nation. America’s 46 gold medals topped China’s 38, and the Yanks’ 104 bested China’s 87. Russia came in third overall with 82 medals and the hosting United Kingdom came in fourth with 65.
And for what its worth, the United States won the most silver medals too.
While its never a surprise to see the Americans atop the Olympic medal count, this year many expected China to come away with the most medals.
“We’re Americans and we’re human,” Teresa Edwards, the five-time Olympian for U.S. basketball, told the Associated Press. “When I was competing, when I went up against another country, I felt they wanted the same thing I wanted. But we were given an opportunity to prove it at that moment, and that’s what these games give us.”
The Christian Science Monitor reported that “the 104 total medals is actually six fewer than the US won in Beijing (though the 46 gold are 10 more). The 104 total medals is the sixth-best ever for the U.S., behind 1904 (239), 1984 (173), 2008 (110), 1992 (108), and 1968 (107).”
For the British, the Olympics allowed their nation to shine on the world stage. Moreover the British Olympic team won 10 more golds (19 to 29) and 18 more total medals (47 to 65) than it won in Beijing four years ago. The best sport for the British was cycling, where they won seven gold medals, and nine overall. For a time, the British were third in the medal count standings.
While the nations at the top of the medal count list get most of the attention, it is important to remember those at the bottom. An Olympic medal is a grand thing for anyone to win, but for 18 nations, the medal won by their athlete meant that much more.
While more than 50 nations returned home empty handed, 18 (Algeria, Bahamas, Grenada, Uganda, Venezuela, Botswana, Cypress, Gabon, Guatemala, Montenegro, Portugal, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan) all went home with a medal count of one.