London Recalling: Team USA Golden
The London 2012 Olympic Games marked a record-breaking campaign for the United States, which collected more gold medals than ever before on foreign soil. With 104 total medals won – including 46 golds, 29 silvers and 29 bronzes – the U.S. led the medal count for the fifth straight Games, dating back to 1996. The 46 golds were the most for the U.S. in a non-boycotted Games since 1904 and put the Americans atop the gold-medal chart for the first time since Athens.
“We had very high expectations coming into the Games,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “Our expectations have been exceeded both on the field of play and off. The athletes had a great time and performed in a way that made America proud.”
China closed the games with 87 medals (38 golds), while Great Britain closed in on the top-three spots in the final days of competition, concluding the Games with 64 medals (29 golds). It was a fitting end to a remarkable showing by the host nation.
“It really couldn’t have been a more positive experience for us,” said USOC Chairman Larry Probst of the London Organizing Committee’s efforts. “The volunteers were friendly, cheerful and did a fantastic job. The venues were obviously spectacular. The athletes have had a great time, and the performances have been absolutely stunning.”
Overall, 255 U.S. athletes contributed to the medal count at the 2012 Games, including 27 who won more than one medal and 13 who won multiple gold medals. Of the 28 sports in which U.S. athletes competed, the U.S. brought home hardware in 18, arguably shinning the brightest in swimming and track & field.
Led by strong performances from veterans and newcomers alike, the U.S. swimming team medaled in 27 of a possible 34 events. In his farewell Games, Michael Phelps cemented his name in Olympic lore by becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, including 18 golds. The winningest athlete across all sports at the 2012 Games, Phelps capped his illustrious career with four golds and two silvers. Fellow U.S. swimmers Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte and Allison Schmitt all tied for second in the overall medal haul with five, helping the U.S. swimmers bring in 31 medals.
Team USA carried its momentum from the Aquatics Centre to the Olympic Stadium as the U.S. track & field athletes captured 29 medals, marking its biggest Olympic medal collection since the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. The London Games was of historic significance for the U.S. team, which topped all nations in medals (9 golds, 13 silvers, 7 bronzes) and points scoring (304) ahead of Russia and Jamaica, which filled out the top-three spots in both measures. Americans set one world record (women’s 4x100-meter) and two American records (men’s 4x100, women’s 4x100), while the 2012 squad turned in the best performance ever at the Games in no fewer than 18 events.
Overall, U.S. women stole the spotlight, winning 58 medals while gracing the top of the podium 29 times. U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas became the first American to claim gold in the women’s team and individual all-around competitions. Also making Olympic history in the debut of women’s boxing, Claressa Shields became the first middleweight to win gold, while judoka Kayla Harrison captured the first-ever Olympic gold medal for the U.S. in judo.
“I’ve had an amazing experience,” said Harrison. “USA Judo had its best showing yet at the Olympic Games. We’ve had so much fun, the ExCeL venue was beautiful and this entire journey has been something I will never forget. London will always have a place close to my heart.”
Four team sports also won gold medals at the Games, including men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer and women’s water polo.
“One of our primary objectives is to get as many American athletes on the podium as we can,” Blackmun said. “When you include team sports, we put over 250 athletes on the podium, which makes us extremely proud.”