Can the Dragon overpower US once again?

Can the Dragon overpower US once again?

After topping the tally in Beijing, China downplay their chances

The Red Dragon’s roar rattled the sporting world in Beijing four years ago.

No nation could have overlooked the rise of China over the years, ever since they returned to the Olympic Games fold in 1984. But their final statement of supremacy was issued at home when they displaced the United States from the top of the medals tally.

With a haul of 51 gold, 21 silver and 28 bronze, they hit a century of medals in the Games of the 29th Olympiad. Their gold tally was 15 more than the United States’ figure of 36, even though the Americans were ahead in total medals won – 110.

When curtains go up on London 2012, the two giants will unleash their might once again, with highly talented individuals and teams across several disciplines.

China, as is their wont, have played down talk of them repeating their Bejing blitzkrieg.

“We made a calculation that in the last five Olympic Games, the host country’s tally was reduced by 32 percent in the next Games,”said Xiao Tian, china’s Deputy Chef de Mission in London. “Therefore, we don’t think we will have the same amount of medals as in Beijing but the Chinese delegation will do its best to get the best results,” he said.

China’s march in Beijing was powered by their spectacular show in gymnastics, where they won eleven gold medals. A massive haul of eight in weightlifting, seven in diving, five in shooting and four in table tennis fuelled their rise.

However, despite fielding a contingent of 396 athletes here, they have pegged their expectations at a lower level.

“USA is still very strong in the world of sport. In Beijing we were the host country but in big sports, the USA has a higher level than China. While we will do our best, we cannot predict how many we are going to win. It is hard to say if we can compete with the USA,” said Tian.

Their official position notwithstanding, China will certainly be a force in venues across London. Their focus on non-core sports having paid rich dividends, the Chinese will be hoping to strike it rich in shooting, table tennis, badminton and diving. Tian’s final words were a giveaway on that count. “We are worried about the ball sports,” he said. “In other events we are quite confident.”

The Dragon, certainly, is capable of spitting fire again.

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