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USA are in unassailable lead in medal table

posted 11 Aug 2012, 10:21 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 11 Aug 2012, 10:27 ]

United States' Olympic Committee boss says that he is proud his country will finish top of the medals' table.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) reported a job well done on Saturday (August 11), both for their own performance in the Games and for LOCOG, the organisers of the London Olympics.
Larry Probst, USOC chair, told reporters that the team's athletes had exceeded expectations and put USA at the top of the medal table ahead of China and Great Britain after the blip of second at the Beijing Games in 2008.

"There was a lot of speculation about where we would finish as a team and a lot of people predicted that we might finish second, some even suggested third," Probst said. "So we are extremely proud of what our team has accomplished, what our athletes have accomplished - and yeah, we like to come in first."

He added a compliment for the London organisers: "LOCOG's theme is 'Inspire a generation' and I think they have succeeded, mission accomplished, they've done a great job, congratulations to them."

Four times swimming gold medal winner Missy Franklin tackled a question about whether she would go professional, and attract sizeable sponsorship deals, or compete for her college instead.

"For right now, I still believe that swimming and college will make me the happiest girl, and I know that that is what my parents, and friends and team mates and my coaches want, but we will definitely have to sit down and talk about that," she said.

Franklin was also full of praise for the London facilities for athletes.

"The dining hall was awesome," she said. "It was so fun to have all these different options and meet with everyone and sit and talk to them. And being able to really, like everyone said, focus on what you were doing, it was a great space to be able to relax and be ourselves and be able to concentrate on what we were doing. And the Aquatics Centre was the most incredible pool I have ever swum in - it's been a true honour to be here."

The U.S. team had disappointing results in men's boxing, failing to win any medals, and CEO Scott Blackmun said that this had to be addressed.

"This is the first time I think in history that we haven't had any men in the podium. We have to fix that, we have to change that. We're going to sit down and have a hard look at why we are where we are, and make some changes and I don't want to say anything beyond that," he said.

The Committee is also hoping return the Olympic Games to USA in the future. The last Olympics there were in Atlanta in 1996 with the earliest date for a possible return being 2024.

Probst said: "We think the Games need to come back to America and the sooner the better."

Athletes Kayla Harrison, who won gold in the judo, and Brenda Villa of the waterpolo team, were looking forward to taking part in Sunday's (August 12) closing ceremony, with rumours that the Spice Girls will reform for a performance, and that singer Adele will appear.

"We just want to have fun and kind of put an end to this magical tournament that we've had," said Villa. "We are excited to see the Spice Girls and Adele, so I think it is going to be a great time."

"This has been, you know, the highlight of my life," said Harrison. "This is my first Olympic Games, I had the opportunity to walk in the opening ceremony, I had the opportunity to take home a gold medal and I am going to have the opportunity to walk in the closing ceremony with the best of the best in the entire world. So I am really looking forward to it, and my room mate and I have been practising our Spice Girls so we're ready."