RIO – Thousands of women and men are going for the gold with the start of the 2016 Olympic Games this week, but only a select few will earn one of those cherished medals.
It’s not just athletes pursuing Olympic glory. For the countries competing in the games, leading the gold, silver, and bronze medal count is a matter of national â€” and international â€” pride and prestige.
Team USA holds the lead in total medals and are tied with China and Australia in gold medal count at the conclusion of the second day of competition in Rio. USA now has 12 medals, four ahead of China and five more than both Italy and Japan. The gold medal race is closer with America and China knotted at three each.
Australia is leading the gold medal count with three. China, Japan, Italy and the U.S. are in the lead for overall medals, at a total of seven each.
The United States leads the world in the all-time standings with 900-plus gold medals won over the years, according to NBC Olympics. So far, it’s living up to the hype.
Australia’s three gold medals, so far, are in swimming and shooting. China scored gold in shooting and diving. America scored a gold medal in shooting and silver in archery and swimming. Italy went gold in fencing and judo.
Russia and Great Britain are also longtime regulars on the winner’s podium. China has been racking up wins of its own in recent games.
Expect to see some new flags in the winner’s circle, too. This year, at least eight countries are poised to take home their first medals.
Here’s the updated medal count of the top-10 countries through Day 2 in Rio: