Now that we are just a few weeks away from the 2012 London Olympic Games, it is time to look at which countries are going to be most dominant in this years competition. When analyzing which countries we expect to do the best, we will look at a few parameters: how many medals each country has won in the past (since 1898), who their notable athletes are, and how many sports they are likely to dominate in. Taking all of these factors into account, we have compiled a list of the top 10 countries in this years Olympic games.
The Italians have virtually no famous athletes in this years Olympics. The Italians did not qualify for the soccer tournament nor the basketball tournament. Moreover they are not expected to have any athletes who are serious favorites for any major events. So then why on earth would we put Italy in the top 10 of our power rankings? Italy is 4th overall in all-time medals won in the summer Olympics with 479. Given that Italy has won so many medals in the past, and their pizza is just so good, it is hard to keep them out of our top 10.
Brazil will be right on the fringe of being a top-10 medal country, but the medals they will compete for have a High Medal Value (see below for definition). Brazil will surely be in the Soccer final and could be a favorite for Gold. Their basketball team will compete for a Silver or Bronze. Beyond that, Brazil just has enough athletes that they will win some more events. Soccer star power is what really propels them into the Power Ranking top 10.
Jamaica won't win enough medals to make the top 10 medal list, but the medals that they win will be much more important than other countries. Naturally, they will win basically every sprinting based event, all of which are cool and carry a high medal value (HMV). This HMV gives their sprinting medals greater importance than random Equestrian medals. Even though Jamaica won't win a crazy amount, every single one will be cool.
Spain, like Brazil, will be right on the fringe of being a top 10 medal country. And also like Brazil, they have some star power in some good events. Most notably, Rafa Nadal will be competing at Wimbledon for a Tennis medal. He should be favored to at least get Silver, if not Gold. On the Basketball court, the Spanish side poses the biggest threat to the Dream Team. Led by the Gasols and Serge Ibaka, the Spanish side could dominate inside. You also can't leave out the Red Fury, Spain's dominate soccer squad. Even though many big names wont participate in the Olympics, the Fury will still sport one of the most talented sides. The Spanish side is in here based off of history, a decent overall medal count and some big star power in big events.
UPDATE: Nadal has withdrawn from the 2012 Olympic Games because of a lingering injury. This leaves Spain with basically soccer and basketball to lean on.
Led by Tony Parker, the French basketball team will be the most well known members of the French Olympic brigade. Even with Parker, don't expect the French to medal on the hardwood. If you actually want to see the French win something, catch the superior French Fencing team. France will do well in the overall medal count, but won't be anywhere close to the top.
Germany is a step below the big boys in about everything. Since the basketball team didn't make the Olympics, star hooper Dirk will not be representing Deutschland. The soccer squad also failed to qualify, leaving Germany's most beloved team at home watching the tournament. What Germany does have is debatably the greatest canoe team of all time. The German's will look to dominate the water in London.
Russia is expected to win the third most medals at the 2012 games, but like China, many of these medals are in the less exciting so called "Sports." Russia will probably lean on it's Track and Field athletes to bring home a majority of the jewelry, as they did in 2008. Russia also sports dominant wrestlers and synchronized swimmers. Without Maria Sharapova, Russia would have virtually no star power. Thankfully, for all of us watching, Sharapova will be competing.
China will win virtually every event that you have never heard of. They have actually been projected to top the U.S. in overall medals by some sources. They are the overwhelming favorites to win the most unimportant medals. Even though the U.S. will certainly take home more Gold, the Chinese seem to have someone competing for Silver or Bronze in every single event.
2. United Kingdom
Great Britain has one thing that no other country possess in the 2012 games: Home Field Advantage. The UK will have the fans on their side for nearly every event, and have several medal contenders. Cyclists Marc Cavendish and Victoria Pendleton could both win their two-wheeled events, and as always all eyes will be on Great Britain's soccer squad. The biggest spotlight could be on Andy Murray, who already has Britain's attention after making it to the Wimbledon final.
The USA has the top spot in the pre-Olympic power rankings and it wasn't even close. The US has more star power than any other country on the basketball team alone. With starts like Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, LeBron James, Abby Wambach, Lolo Jones, Serenda Williams, Natalie Coughlin, Maya Moore, Keri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor the US are sure to be dominant. The US will likely win the most medals and will certainly win the most of the gold variety.
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