London 2012: USA triumph over Russia, Great Britain a well-earned fourth

The USA 4x100m Freestyle relay, featuring Michael Phelps

 The London 2012 Olympic Games have finished in great style and the overall winners in GSN’s Olympic ranking deserve all the applause: the USA have triumphed with a record 4711 points, and a very emphatic 1732 points margin over runners up Russia.

To have an idea of the astonishing strength of Team USA here are some vital statistics:

  • they scored points in 31 out of 39 disciplines
  •  they won outright 8 disciplines and were in the top 3 in 5 other
  • they had 213, the highest number of placements (counts)
  • they beat Russia and China respectively to win the Men’s and the Women’s ranking
  • they clinched 104 medals, the highest number, with 46 golds, 29 silvers (highest number in both cases) and 29 bronze medals.
The range of sports in which the US excelled is vast: from Athletics (Track, Field and overall) to Basketball  and Beach Volleyball, from Swimming and Water Polo to Tennis.
For Russia it was a well-earned second place in GSN’s overall Olympic ranking. They came from behind in the last week of competition (they were third behind China on Day 13) with very strong results in Field Athletics and Wrestling. They won outright 5 disciplines: Wrestling Free and Greco-Roman, Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics and Synchronised Swimming. Russia was second behind the US in Athletics and Basketball but were not strong in other team ball sports.
China has been running almost head to head with the US for about two-thirds of the tournament. They were above expectations in Swimming (3rd overall) and won outright 7 sports (one more than Russia): Weightlifting, Badminton, Diving, Modern Pentathlon, Shooting, Table Tennis and Trampoline. Only their relative weakness in team ball sports let them down eventually.
The other success story at the top end of the Olympic ranking has been Great Britain. The hosts have improved from 6th place in Beijing 2008 to 4th in London 2012, earning 2119 points, the only other nation besides the top three to earn more than 2000 points. They won 7 sports outright, two more than Russia and equal to China: Boxing, Equestrian, Road and Track Cycling, Rowing, Sailing and Triathlon. They were a creditable 6th overall in Athletics but slipped somewhat in team ball sports. They were 3rd in Hockey and 8th in Football but nowhere on the screen in the others. A small blemish in what has been an otherwise inspired and inspiring performance by the Team GBR athletes.
Rio 2016 is on next, and with it the chance to improve for the other top ten nations  in GSN’s ranking: Japan, Brazil, France, Germany, Australia and South Korea, with a special mention for the two Asiatic countries which greatly improved over Beijing 2008: Japan in London 2012 was up 6 positions and South Korea up 2 positions. There are now three Oriental tigers to look out for.