2012 Olympic Medal Count

- Gold - Silver - Bronze

Friday, May 18, 2012

2012 Olympic

With the 2012 Olympic games barely 6 months away, it feels strange that for the first time in recent memory, there is no clear American face to the London games. The Winter Olympics have the charismatic “flying tomato” Shaun White leading the charge, but with the summer team it is a little bit different. Certainly people are excited to see if 2008′s hero from the Beijing Games, Michael Phelps, can stage a repeat performance, but he does not stand alone as the clear visage of the American squad. In the past four years, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has emerged as much more of a superstar than Phelps, providing a dearth of entertaining ad campaigns and lively interviews. Corporations have always sought to sell gold-caliber performances to their consumers, and companies like Puma and Gatorade have certainly benefited from Bolt’s success. Phelps, conversely, saw his career take several hits with an incriminating photograph incident and some lackluster performances in the pool. As a result, Americans-both the general public and those in charge of marketing the games-seem keen on putting their proverbial eggs in multiple baskets, not just banking on Phelps alone.
But just because there seems to be no front-runner on the Olympic popularity front, that does not mean that London will be devoid of stars. Team USA gymnastics, for example, should hopefully see the return of Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, who’s storied battle for gold provide a huge amount of intrigue for viewers. Provided that Liukin and Johnson both make the team, which they should, they will be met by newcomer and current world champion, 16-year old Jordyn Wieber. Wieber has wasted little time in making a name for herself in both the athletic and public spheres, signing a deal with Kellogg and appearing on Ellen. With a big performance in London, Wieber could well become America’s new Olympic darling, and the face of both these games and the 2016 games in Rio.
Aside from gymnastics and swimming (the two sports that take up the majority of the broadcast time on NBC), there are some big name athletes representing some other athletic endeavors. The star-studded second coming of the “Redeem Team” in Men’s basketball should also provide plenty of celebrity power, including the likes of Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade. This All-Star team rolled through the competition en route to a gold in Beijing, and are poised and ready to defend their title. Additionally, Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor look to attain their 3rd consecutive gold on the beach volleyball court, another sport that has traditionally been very popular with viewers. Though there is no single spokesperson for the London 2012 games, the intrigue remains high, and viewers will certainly tune in to find out who this year’s Olympic hero will be. They do not just sell gold medals, however, so this year’s team will definitely have to earn their stripes