As sad as it may be, the Olympics are winding down. There are only four full days of events left and the United States and China are in a dead heat for medal supremacy. Entering Tuesday the United States is two behind China in total medals and three behind in gold medals.
China and the Unites States have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the countries. Great Britain currently sits third with 43 medals, which is 20 behind the United States. The hosts are also in a tight battle fighting with Russia, who is just one medal behind Great Britain.
If the United States wants to catch the Chinese and win the medal race they will have to capitalize on the events that they are favored to win. They cannot afford to miss opportunities to win medals.
With individual gymnastics competition continuing, USA must turn its focus to track and field if they want to make a push past the Chinese. The Chinese men are too good in gymnastics and are sure to haul in the medals. Many Americans are favored in their track and field events. If they can live up to the expectations, the Americans should have no problem catching and leaving the Chinese behind in the race to win the most medals in London.
Here are a few events that the Americans are certain to win the gold medal in.
Track and Field: Men’s High Jump
Jesse Williams of the United States is the favorite to win gold in the men’s high jump. He is the reigning world champ and barring any unseen missteps should be atop the medal podium after the event.
Even though Williams is currently ranked No. 2 in the world in outdoor high jump, he comes into London with a ton of confidence and pride after a strong 2011 and 2012 season. He won both the USA Outdoor Championship as well as the World Outdoor Championship in 2011 and started 2012 with another first-place finish in the 2012 USA Indoor Championships.
Williams struggled in Beijing with a ninth-place finish so there is a little extra motivation heading into London. His last event before the Olympic Games, the New York Diamond League Meeting, he won the event and set the meet record with a jump of 2.36 meters.
If Williams can duplicate his recent success there shouldn't be a high-jumper that will be able to top Williams. The American record-holder in high jump is ready to show that he can perform on the highest stage as he hopes to bring home his first Olympic medal.
Women’s Beach Volleyball
Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh are putting on another beach volleyball clinic as they march their way towards a third straight Olympic gold. Do not let the dropped set against Austria freak you out at all. It may have been their first dropped set in their entire Olympic career, but they are playing some of the best beach volleyball they ever have.
They have had to adapt to a different game with teams attempting to dethrone them, but they are still the team to beat. Their biggest advantage is their size over teams. Walsh is an absolute monster at the net, and if a team manages to avoid the block, May-Treanor has played exceptional defense behind her.
They use this size to make up for their lack of dominant serving ability. They are able to serve conservatively and rely on their size and defense ability to dominate games.
The pair of May-Treanor and Walsh should have no problem getting past the Chinese in their semifinal match setting themselves up with a chance to three-peat at the Olympics. It won’t matter who they end up playing in the gold-medal match, they are playing too well to lose.
Men and Women’s Basketball
There is no sport at the Olympic Games that is a more guaranteed gold medal for the United States than basketball. On both the men's and women’s side, it would be a shock to see any of these two teams stumble and not win gold.
The women beat Croatia, Angola, Turkey, Czech Republic and China in dominating fashion. In their first quarterfinal match, they crushed Canada 91-48. In the semifinals, they will either face Australia or China. They should waltz into the final and be able to handle their opponent quite easily.
The men will have a little more challenge as they march towards their gold medal, but no one should be able to stop them. Despite a nail-biter against Lithuania, they have handled every opponent with ease.
When the United States shows up and wants to play well they are by far the best team in the world. If they do this in the gold-medal game, they should have no problem defeating Spain. With LeBron James and company playing team basketball, they will be able to handle the size that Spain presents.
USA basketball is flexing their muscles this Olympic Games, and both the men's and women's teams are showing that they are capable of dominating every other in the world.
With these four gold medals the Unites States sets themselves up nicely in the overall medal race as well as the gold medal race. If the United States does not stumble in events that they are suppose to win, then there should be no problem winning the medal races.