A Mixed Bag for China at 2012 Olympics
Image Credit: Wikicommons

A Mixed Bag for China at 2012 Olympics


China may have slipped from top of the Olympic medal standings from 2008 to 2012 but the people involved in sport in the country don’t’ seem too disheartened.

Despite coming second to the United States, China’s haul of 88 medals included 38 gold.

The United States finished on top, returning to the summit it last captured in Athens in 2004.

America took 46 golds to China’s 38, victory by a considerable margin and the team also collected more medals in total – 104 to China’s 88.

It should be pointed that while China has slipped from four years ago, London marks an improvement since Athens.

All host nations enjoy a boost from home advantage. It was always going to be impossible for China to match the exploits of four years agio when it took an amazing 51 gold medals.

According to media in the country, there is no negativity surrounding the second-place finish.

"China's 2008 delegation was huge," David Yang, editor of the China Sports Review, said. "The delegation for London was roughly 60% the size."

"For a major sports nation like China, this was already a streamlined delegation – so their performance was splendid," Yang noted.

“The majority of Chinese aren't upset about the result… few Chinese really support the idea of winning gold medals at any price," said the Global Times Daily.

Swimming was a big success in an event which the Americans traditionally do very well and there were medals in sailing too –Xu Lijia took gold – as the country continued to diversify in the sports in which it can challenge the best.

In all, there were 23 new gold medalists, fuelling hope that they will be around in 2016 in Rio.

China’s Chef de mission Liu Peng also expressed his satisfaction."We are satisfied with the result in London. We have reached the goal of finishing in the top three in both the gold medal count and total medal count," Liu explained to reporters.

For Liu, there are areas in which to improve and that is in the realm of team sports. None of China’s teams reached the semifinal.

"Our team sports are lagging to other countries, and we need to work harder in those fields in the future."

August 17, 2012 at 07:53

Host olympic nations tend to see a peak around the exact time they host the games. Bigger home teams are necessary to try and make sure there is public interest from (sigh) idiots who would rather watch an event with strangers from the same geographically defined area-state as themselves than strangers from outside their country.  Look at Australia's medals in Sydney and how they died off. China was bound to fall off. The only country that remains strong is the US.
MOst worrying will be Brazil, as their "pre olympics climb" didn't really start. How will they do in Rio?

August 16, 2012 at 10:29

The Chinese themselves didn't think they would get as good a result at the London Olympics as they did in Beijing.  Expanding on the size of delegations and the medal haul, the following is a breakdown of the number of competitors for the current first three nations:

Number of competitors at Beijing 2008   Gold   Silver   Bronze   Total.
USA                                  596                          36       38         36         110.
China                               639                          51       21         28         100.
Britain                              312                          19       13         15           47.

Number of competitors at London2012   Gold   Silver   Bronze   Total.
USA                                 530                          46       29         29          104.
China                              396                          38       27         23            88.
Britain                             541                          29       17         19            65.

With the reduced number of Chinese competitors, it is to be expected that China's medal haul would be less than in Beijing and less than the USA's. The Chinese second place and medal numbers are actually not bad in lieu of what the scaling back in competitor numbers would imply.  Chinese diversification in Olympics sports included them gaining a silver medal in the men's modern pentathalon (Cao Zhongrong) and a silver (should have been gold) medal for the women's team sprint cycling.

August 16, 2012 at 05:22

i dont think anyone seriously thought china was gonna top the US overall this time around, but rio and onwards should be very interesting as things get competitive between the two giants across all fields from sports to space

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