Olympic medal count: The talk of the town in London

Michael Phelps celebrates with a gold medal and an Olympic flag.

After day 5 of the Olympics, Team USA is still lagging behind China as the country continues to dominate in the medal count, just as it did when it hosted the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. On Wednesday night, China had 17 Olympic medals while the U.S. only had 12.

It’s a sensitive subject for some American fans.

“There is always the question of whether they are playing on a level playing field,” Paul Schultz of Denver said. “Yes, I understand that they haven’t found any doping. But I suspect that that they are working hard on developing things where you can’t find them.”

Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, 16, was called into question after she broke the world record for the individual 400 IM on Saturday, swimming the last 50 meters faster than Ryan Lochte. Olympic officials said she tested negative for performance enhancing substances.

However, China caused controversy again today after the women’s badminton team was accused of purposefully losing its match against South Korea in order to face an easier team in the next road.

“I think in China, it’s sponsored by the government,” Schultz’s wife, Barbara Schultz, added. “It’s the way they do business.”

“I’m interested to see how once track and field starts going, it changes things,” Kellee Cooper, of Bristol, Oklahoma, said.

On the subject of Michael Phelps’ performance in London, Americans weren’t surprised that the world champion has failed to re-claim his titles in several events.

“He’s getting older and the younger people are showing that they are excelling with their speed,” Cheryl Van De Voorde, a U.S. fan in London, told Metro. “I think he is carrying it off like a real gentleman. I’m still proud of him.”

Paul and Barbara Schultz were in the stands when Phelps lost gold to South African swimmer Chad le Clos in the 200-meter butterfly. Later in the evening, they saw Phelps win gold with his team in the 4×200 freestyle relay. That win made him the most decorated Olympian of all-time with a whopping 19 medals.

“It was an amazing race,” Barbara Schultz said. “They finished way ahead.”

Great Britain, on the other hand, breathed a collective sigh of relief after its Olympic team (finally) won its first gold medal today. The host nation, which typically wins about 50 percent more medals than it would if it were competing abroad, had been off to a slow and frustrating start for fans and athletes alike.

“I think we always knew some of our best events were yet to come,” said Londoner Chris Roberts. “It was a relief to see the first one.”

After rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning secured Team GB’s first gold, British cycling favorite Bradley Wiggins snagged the second.

“I think the Olympics has probably really started for everyone now,” Matthew Weedle, of north Wales, told Metro. “The athletes felt pressure cause of all the buildup and the home crowd, and I think sometimes that can work against you as much as it can work for you. But the sky is the limit!”


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