2012 Olympics overview
To the surprise of very few, the U.S. had the most fruitful Olympic scores of participating nations, finishing with a whopping 104 medals and bringing home a total of 46 gold medals.
The 2012 Olympic games saw the U.S. bounce back from its 2008 gold medal count of 36, second to China’s 51.
Although the U.S. won the total medal count in Beijing, winning both the gold count and total count was a nice improvement from four years ago.
Although the U.S. was successful in this year’s Olympics, there were a few disappointing performances for the red, white, and blue.
In men’s beach volleyball, Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhauser — the reigning gold medalists from the Beijing Olympics — looked poised to bring back another gold for America. But in an early round, they were beaten in straight sets (21—17 and 21—19) by Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo of Italy.
Rogers said before the match that he was playing on a sore hamstring, and it showed. He only registered 11 of his 29 swings as kills and recorded just 13 digs in the two matches.
Dalhauser’s performance was subpar as well, with just 10 kills and one block — low numbers for arguably the best player in men’s beach volleyball.
The other American team, Jacob Gibb and Sam Rosenthal, made it to the quarterfinals before losing 2-1 to the bronze-winning Latvian team of Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins.
The U.S. also couldn’t live up to its expectations in men’s gymnastics. Previously considered one of the best, the American team failed to grab a medal while the Chinese team dominated the events. “There’s definitely a disappointment,” U.S. captain Jonathan Horton said, as reported by the Associated Press. “We’re one of the best teams in the world.”
After finishing seventh on pommel horse, the men’s team was bumped down to last place. However, their excellent performance on the rings put them back into medal contention. Unfortunately, John Orozco’s fall on the vault did the Americans in.
“I fell on my butt,” Orozco told the Associated Press.
Despite the handful of disappointing performances by U.S. athletes, Americans were overwhelmingly successful in a majority of the other Olympic events.
The U.S. team dominated Olympic basketball, going 8–0 and winning by an average of 32 points per game. The team met Spain in the gold medal match, just as it did in the 2008 Olympics.
This was an aggressive game, but the U.S. managed to pull away and win 107–100. This marks the last Olympic game for superstar Kobe Bryant and head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “Can’t believe the games are over, seems like yesterday we were walking into the stadium with nerves of excitement and dreams of Gold,” Bryant told the Associated Press.
In women’s beach volleyball, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings took their third consecutive gold, after winning in 2004 and 2008, setting an Olympic record. In the gold medal match, May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings beat the other American team, April Ross and Jennifer Kessy, in straight sets, winning 21–16 in both.
It did not come as a surprise when the U.S. team dominated the pools, winning 16 golds in swimming and 31 total swimming medals. Competing in a total of 24 events, Michael Phelps won four gold and two silver medals in this year’s Olympic games, setting Olympic records and bringing his career medal count to 22 and gold medal count to 18.
At the young age of 17, American swimmer Missy Franklin led the women in medals with five total — four gold and one bronze. “I can’t believe you just did that!” Phelps told Franklin after she scored gold just 15 minutes after qualifying for the 200-meter freestyle final.
The 2016 Summer Olympics will held be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and with the abundance of young athletes like Franklin and men’s swimmer Ryan Lochte, as well as a cluster of young basketball talent, the U.S. is poised to dominate the field once again.