The Countries That Will Win the Most Olympic Medals

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10. Japan
>Predicted 2012 medal count:
25
>All-time medals:
360
>Population:
127.81 million
>GDP:
$5.87 trillion
>GDP per capita:
$45,903

Japan was the first Asian country to host the Olympics and has hosted three: the Tokyo Summer Games of 1964, the Sapporo Winter Games of 1972 and the Nagano Winter Games of 1998. Japanese athletes tend to bring home medals in judo, gymnastics, swimming and wrestling events. In the 2008 Olympics, Japanese athletes won 25 medals — 13 of them in judo and wrestling events for both men and women. According to Yahoo! Sports, there are five Japanese athletes to watch for in London in events that Japan typically excels in, as well as shooting and equestrian.

9. Italy
>Predicted 2012 medal count:
26
>All-time medals:
522
>Population:
60.77 million
>GDP:
$2.19 trillion
>GDP per capita:
$36,116

Italy won 28 medals at the Beijing Olympics four years ago, including eight gold medals. While it won those medals in 13 different sports in 2008, ranging from archery to shooting, a quarter of its medal count was from fencing. Italy’s dominance in fencing is expected to continue in 2012. Seven-time Olympic medalist Valentina Vezzali, the flag bearer for Italy at the opening ceremonies, will compete in her fifth Olympics in both the team and individual foil events. She has won five gold medals since 1996 and could become only the fourth Olympian ever to win four consecutive gold medals in the same event. Other returning gold medalists for Italy include boxer Roberto Camarrelle and swimmer Federica Pellegrini.

8. South Korea
>Predicted 2012 medal count:
29
>All-time medals:
215
>Population:
49.78 million
>GDP:
$1.12 trillion
>GDP per capita:
$22,424

South Korea has the lowest GDP and all-time Summer Olympic medal count on this list, winning 215 since it began competing in 1948. Since the country’s breakthrough in the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984, it has remained a top competitor in the Summer Games, ranking among the top 10 in medal count. Korea’s projected medal count is slightly lower than its previous Olympic outcome of 31 medals: five in archery as well as four gold medals in Taekwondo. Most of the country’s Summer Olympic gold medals have historically come from archery and wrestling events. South Korea hosted the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, and last year, was awarded the rights to host the 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

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7. France
>Predicted 2012 medal count:
39
>All-time medals:
633
>Population:
65.44 million
>GDP:
$2.77 trillion
>GDP per capita:
$42,377

France holds the fifth-highest Summer Olympic medal count in the world with 633 medals, and Emily Williams’s analysis projects that the French athletes will win one fewer medal than they did in 2008. During the Summer Games, France’s strongest events have historically been cycling and fencing. In the 2008 Beijing Games, French athletes won the highest medal counts in swimming (six), followed by a tie of four medals for judo and fencing — these three sports accounted for 35% of France’s 2008 medal count. The country hosted five Olympic Games in the 20th century and has participated in 26 Olympic Games. According to the BBC, several French cyclists could be medal contenders in London.

6. Germany
>Predicted 2012 medal count:
39
>All-time medals:
658.5
>Population:
81.72 million
>GDP:  
$3.57 trillion
>GDP per capita:
$43,689

For the 2012 Games, 391 German athletes will participate in 23 different sports. Compared to its 2008 achievement of 41 medals in 22 different sports, Germany’s medal expectations are slightly lower for 2012. Germany’s strength in 2008 was in canoe races, where the delegation won three golds, two silvers and three bronzes. It won an additional five medals, including three golds, in equestrian events. Yet sports such as swimming and track and field, regarded as opportunities for medal pickups because of the number of events, are not strong points for Germany. The country won only three swimming medals in 2008 and only one medal in track and field.