Jul 15, 2012; London, UNITED KINGDOM; General view of 2012 London Olympics basketball jerseys of the United States and China at Niketown at Stratford City.
Battle for the top spot
More than halfway through the Olympics, the United States and China appeared set for a dash to the finish line for title of overall medal leader. But in the final days, the Americans turned on the pressure and, after a big Friday on the track, held onto their crown. MORE: See medal count by country.
This one doesn’t really qualify as a battleground sport, seeing as it would have been an upset of staggering proportions if the United States hadn’t medaled in both men’s and women’s hoops. The women came through Saturday, steamrolling France to secure the usual gold. On Sunday, LeBron James and the US defeated Spain for another championship. MORE: Who's going for gold? Find out with our daily schedule. MORE: Up-to-the-minute medal standings
Track and field
The Americans put the greatest distance between themselves and China on the track thanks to a Friday onslaught. While China failed to medal, the US won two medals in relays. And while the United States' domination in the men's 4x400 ended, the team still took home silver. Then the American women stole the show in the night's final race, smashing the world record in the 4x100 relay. Two Chinese race walk brozes Saturday didn't make much of a dent in the final margin. MORE: See medal count by country
Given that the US has dominated the sport, it only makes sense that the Americans would pull away from China in the sand. And with Wednesday's all-US women's final between two-time defending champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings and US teammates April Ross and Jennifer Kessy, the Americans couldn't lose. May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings did the honors with their third gold medal. MORE: See all the hottest action from beach volleyball. MORE: Up-to-the-minute medal standings
China made up a bit of ground Saturday as Zou Shiming earned gold in the men's light flyweight division. Both nations earned two medals Thursday, but Claressa Shields (right) gave the US the edge by defeating Russian's Nadezda Torlopova to win middleweight gold. Meanwhile, Chinese favorite Ren Cancan was beaten by Great Britain's Nicola Adams for the flyweight gold. Marlen Esparza of the US got bronze in flyweight, while China's Li Jinzi won bronze in middleweight. Despite the women's medals, this competition still qualifies as a disappointment for the US with the men coming up empty. MORE: They said what?! Keep up with all the juicy athlete tweets. MORE: Up-to-the-minute medal standings
China has demonstrated amazing depth in diving over the years, as was further demonstrated Saturday when American David Boudia won 10-meter platform gold, but Qui Bo was a strong second. It was the first US diving gold of the meet. London was fruitful for China, which earned its sixth gold of the diving meet Thursday when Chen Ruolin (pictured) won the women's 10-meter platform. MORE: Olympic athletes are becoming stars in London. Find out what makes them tick. MORE: Up-to-the-minute medal standings
Two goals from Carli Lloyd gave the US women a victory over Japan in the gold-medal game Thursday in a rematch of the 2011 World Cup final. It also gave the US the 1-0 edge over China in golds and overall medals in soccer. MORE: See medal count by country
The Chinese stayed near the overall and gold-medal races partly because they won events that aren't hugely popular in the United States. Synchronized swimming is no exception. China's Liu Ou and Huang Xuechen picked up bronze in the duet Tuesday, and the Chinese team (pictured) won silver on Friday to put China two up on the Americans in this event. MORE: Up-to-the-minute medal standings
The US women, favored to win their first gold ever, lost the final to nemesis Brazil on Saturday. The US men advanced to the knockout round but were ousted by Italy in the quarterfinals. Neither Chinese team was in the medal conversation. MORE: Up-to-the-minute medal standings MORE: Find out all about Team USA volleyball stars Destinee Hooker and Logan Tom.
Nineteen-year-old star Maggie Steffens scored five goals in leading the US women past Spain 8-5 for their first gold medal in water polo. The American women had won bronze in 2004 and silver in 2000 and 2008. The US men, meanwhile, were ousted by Croatia in the quarterfinals Wednesday. China did not medal in water polo, so it was 1-0 for the US here. MORE: Up-to-the-minute medal standings