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As Olympics wind down, USA expects to win medal race

1:35 PM, Aug 11, 2012   |    comments
Aug 9, 2012; London, United Kingdom; Tianna Madison (USA), Allyson Felix (USA), Bianca Knight (USA) and Carmelita Jeter (USA) with their gold medals for the women's 4x100m relay final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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LONDON - With a day remaining in these Olympics, the USA is expected to leave London with the biggest medal haul of all. Heading into Saturday night, Team USA had won 96 medals to China's 83. The Americans were leading in the gold medal count 41-37.

"The American public has high expectations for our Olympic team," USOC President Larry Probst said Saturday. "There was a lot of opinion about where we would finish as a team; some predicted second, and some even predicted third. ... We like to come in first, and there is nothing wrong with that. This is a competition, and it's great we are leading the medal count both on golds and in total. The last time we did that was in Athens (in 2004), so it has been awhile, and it feels good to see our athletes do so well."

U.S. athletes have topped the medals table in the last four Summer Games. In the 2008 Beijing Games, Team USA won 110 medals to China's 100. China, though, won the gold medal count 51-36.

Earlier this year Sebastian Coe, head of the London organizing committee, predicted China would finish ahead of the USA in the overall medal count. "I told him in April we were going to work very hard to prove him wrong, so I'm very happy about that," Probst said.

For some, charting the medal race has become almost an Olympic race itself. Jordan Burroughs, who won gold in freestyle wrestling, said he checked the medal count every morning. "I actually downloaded the app on my phone," Burroughs said. "I saw that in 2008 ... China beat us in the medal race. I wanted to be a guy that can help us out."

U.S. female athletes have done more than their fair share, winning 27 of the team's 41 gold medals so far. To put that accomplishment in perspective: If the U.S. women were their own nation, they would be third in the gold medal count.

"I've been thrilled to see how well U.S. women have done," said Kayla Harrison, a gold medalist in judo. "It feels amazing to be a part of something so much bigger than myself; I definitely feel connected. To be able to say I'm a strong confident young woman and an Olympic champion is amazing, and I hope we have a million young girls inspired right now."

The same holds true for China, as women have won 20 of that country's 37 gold medals.

Kelly Whiteside, USA TODAY

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