London 2012 Day 12: USA powers on, China continues pursuit

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 Twelve days into the London 2012 Olympic Games and the top four nations are powering on and stretching their lead over the rest of the Olympic pack.

The USA ladies have had a brilliant day on the Athletics track: in the 400m hurdles and especially the200m, with three athletes in the top five, gold to Allyson Felix and bronze to Carmelita Jeter.

The men have not been idle either, first mention going to Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson, gold and silver in the 110m hurdles. Add to this bounty the gold in the Women Long Jump and a neat gold and silver double in the Women’s Beach Volleyball and you can see why the US’s lead in the GSN Olympic Ranking is now up to 789 points over China.

The Chinese ladies have been busy too, clinching gold in Free Wrestling, Taekwondo and in the Table Tennis Team event (needless to say, the Chinese Men also won the corresponding gold) but the pace the USA are setting, especially in Athletics, could well be irresistible.

Behind China we have the other two Olympic superpowers: Russia is 357 points behind the Chinese and struggling to make a strong impression in Athletics, and Great Britain has dropped its pace somewhat, now fourth, 180 points behind Russia.

The British have a rather comfortable margin (253 points) over fifth-placed Germany however. And beyond Germany, up to tenth place, Japan, France, South Korea, Australia and Italy are all rather widely spaced.

Virtually no news yet of the three Athletics mighty midgets: Jamaica is 13th and improving slowly, Ethiopia is 15th and Kenya surprisingly only 19th. The running in Athletics is not over yet but these fierce African-Caribbean nations have better hurry up to catch the last few trains to gold-plated stardom.