Olympic Games 2012: Underdog U.S. now projected to win overall medal count

LOS ANGELES, August 9, 2012 – The United States Olympic team is now projected to win the most medals at the Games of the XXX Olympiad.

I’m not sure I can believe it, but there it is. Although the Chinese have been long favored to post the highest medal count in London, my projections show that the U.S. will top the medals chart once again, as it has from the 1996 Games forward.

The situation (any mistakes are mine alone!):

China:
As of 10:30 a.m. Pacific time (6:30 p.m. in London), the Chinese sit at 78 medals and have a maximum of 18 more medal possibilities based on their remaining entries:

• Boxing: one medal coming in the men’s 49kg division;
• Canoe: three remaining entries, all with at least a shot at medals;
• Diving: two events with two entries each means four medals;
• Modern Pentathlon: four entries (two each in men and women), but no medals expected;
• Synchro Swimming: team entry is expected to medal;
• Tae Kwon Do: one medal coming on the women’s side, one male entry left;
• Wrestling: one women’s medal coming, two other men’s entries (not expected to medal).

If all of the Chinese entries won medals, they would finish with a total of 96, with 90 a much more likely total. That’s down from 100 medals won on home turf in Beijing in 2008, a very fine performance since the average “home games” bump is about 14 more medals.

United States:
The Americans have 83 medals at the moment, with lots more to come:

• Team medals likely or assured in men’s and women’s basketball, women’s football, women’s volleyball and women’s water polo: five in all;
• Track & Field: after yesterday’s seven-medal bonanza, the U.S. still has likely medals ahead in all four relays (if they don’t drop the stick), two in the decathlon, two in the men’s triple jump and women’s high jump (that’s 9 more) with possibilities in the men’s 800, men’s 200, men’s vault, women’s 1,500 and men’s 5,000 and maybe even the men’s marathon (as many as six more);
• Additional medal possibilities are available in men’s BMX cycling, sailing and men’s freestyle wrestling.

Just based on the likely medals, the U.S. will add 14 more for a total of 97, one more than the Chinese total if every one of the remaining Chinese entries won a medal.

It’s an astonishing story for the U.S., which based on the results of the most recent World Championships prior to the Games as compiled by the highly-respected Italian Olympic organizer Luciano Barra, stood to finish third to the Chinese (100) and Russians (79), with 78 total medals (his projections did not include tennis).

There are some very interesting implications to these results, which will be discussed when the dust has settled, but for now, the Stars & Stripes is looking like a very Grand Old Flag.

(You can stay current with Rich’s technology, sports and Olympic commentaries by following him at www.twitter.com/RichPerelman.)

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