Who won what and where at London 2012
Swimming has pretty well been our ‘money’ sport for most of our history. In the 1950s and 1960s, swimming accounted for between 40 to 60 percent of our overall medal count.
In more recent times it has tracked steadily at 30 to 33 percent of our total medal count, with the exception of Beijing 2008, when it jumped to 43 percent of all medals won.
In another article, I suggested Australia’s outstanding performance in the pool (in 2008) ‘hid’ the fact that some sports were already starting to recede from the high-water mark of Sydney 2000.
Fast forward to London 2012 and the reality check denied in 2008 became all too real for us. The swimmers halved their total (from 20 down to 10), which effectively was almost the 11 medals down we were compared to Beijing.
And the 14 gold medals won in Beijing was halved to seven in London. Swimming dropped from six gold medals down to one. So that tells us a bit of the parable of why we were less successful in London.
Funding may also be an issue, but I think everyone from the competitors through to the fans probably needed a reality check to realise that success is earned through hard work and inclusiveness, not guaranteed.
In any case, I thought readers might be interested in where some other major countries won their medals.
The USA, like Australia, has swimming as its ‘money’ sport. Indeed, the USA won more medals (31) in swimming than in any other sport. Athletics was just behind with 29.
Between them, swimming and athletics accounted for 60 of the USA’s overall medal tally of 107. A long way back in third spot was gymnastics, which won six medals.
China won 87 medals with gymnastics leading the way with 12, followed by both diving and swimming with 10 each. Badminton brought eight, with seven each from shooting and weightlifting. China’s medals were well spread around.
Russia won 82 medals with athletics leading the way with 18 medals. Gymnastics accounted for 12 and wrestling 11.
Germany won 44 medals with athletics and canoeing leading the way with eight each and equestrian four.
Great Britain spread its 65 medals around, which was a sign of a good preparation. Cycling was king with 12 medals, followed by rowing with nine and athletics six. Then came equestrian, sailing and boxing, each with five medals.
South Korea excelled in the ‘combat’ sports, which is probably understandable considering their constant unease with its northern cousins. Of their 28 medals, fencing produced six, shooting five and archery four.
France surprisingly won seven medals in judo and another seven in swimming (their best-ever haul). Cycling came in third with four. It won 34 medals all-up.
For Italy, fencing (seven) and shooting (five) were their best sports, leading the way to its 28 medals.
Japan enjoyed tremendous success in the pool with 11 medals, although none were gold. Judo and wrestling (both as you might expect) also contributed seven and six medals to its total of 38.
Kazakhstan were a surprise, winning seven gold medals in an overall total of 13. Wearing man-bikinis was surprisingly not their best sport. They won four weightlifting gold medals and also picked up four medals in boxing and three in wrestling. Well, maybe they did wear their man-bikinis after all!
And what about Australia? Swimming earned our most medals with 10, despite just the solitary gold. Cycling was next best with six medals (also one gold), followed by rowing with five medals.
Sailing only won four medals, but three of them were gold. Athletics also did well, bringing home three medals, including one gold.
I used to think I was a pretty good rugby lock, but now realise I was deluded. My nickname is a truncation of my surname, so I'm not Arabic - phew! However, sometimes I imagine myself as a Beau Geste in the French Foreign Legion, fighting evil, righting wrongs, promoting good and rescuing damsels in distress.
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