More golds expected for team USA

As with every Summer Olympic games, one of the big stories will be the race to top the medal table. The USA has long dominated this race, but China took over the top spot at Beijing in 2008. CCTV Washington Correspondent Daniel Ryntjes takes a closer look at the US Olympic team.
The US track and field team earned seven gold medals at Beijing in 2008. Not bad for most nations, but it was the lowest tally since 1976 for the Americans. In London 2012 they’re hoping to reclaim ten or more.
In the men’s 100 and 200 metre sprints, Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin are two of the fastest men in history.
The only trouble for them is that the three Jamaicans they’re competing against include world record holder Usain Bolt, along with Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake, who can run below 9.8 seconds on a good day.
Mens 110 meter hurdler Aries Merritt recently turned heads by radically changing his technique.
But he’s happy to let China’s Gold Medalist Liu Xiang be the favourite.
Aries Meritt, 110 Meter Hurdler, said, "I’m not a reigning Olympic champion, I’m not a former Olympic champion and I don’t have a world record, or a former world record, so I don’t think I have any pressure."
In the women’s sprint, America’s Allyson Felix is hoping to take the 200 meter race against fierce rival, Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell Brown.
Brown earned gold in Beijing and Athens.
Daniel Ryntjes said, "Aside from the electric competition that’s going to take place here on the track, one of the most interesting rivalries is potentially going to take place in the pool."
Michael Phelps is not expected to win eight gold, as he did in Beijing. He’s competing this time for seven this time.
Michael Phelps, US Swimmer, said, "You know, for me right now the only thing I’m worried about is myself, in preparing myself to go out and represent my country and step up wearing the stars and stripes and try and swim as fast as I can."
But his friend and competitor Ryan Lochte has been within a fingertip of Phelps in the key performances this year.
Ryaan Lochte, US Swimmer, said, "He’s probably the hardest racer I’ve ever came across. And he’s a good friend of mine and we’ve created a great rivalry between us."
The Americans are always somewhat confident in the basketball, though they are expecting to face tougher competition from the likes of Spain and Argentina. The women are thought to have a much smoother path to victory.
As always the Americans will compete hard in many of the lower profile events as well.
Kerry McCoy, Former Olympic Wrestler & Advisor for Team USA, said, "I’m excited to get there, I’m excited for Team USA, but really just excited for Team USA, but really just excited for the event. It’s the epitome of athletics, the pinnacle of any sport. You know, obviously the goal is to go there to try to win a medal, but the real thing is about going there representing yourself, representing your country, representing your family, representing everything that you’ve done to get yourself to that point."
CCTV Washington Correspondent Daniel Ryntjes said, "Aside from all the individual races, there’s also a great deal of excitement about whether the US can re-take the overall medal tally."
Carla Peay, Washington Times Sports Writer, said, "They are sending one of their strongest teams in years. But once again the Chinese are going to be sending a very strong team. So it’s going to be pretty much a neck-and-neck battle to see which country comes away with the most medals. I know that the United States is obviously hoping to bring home the top medal count and the most golds, but the Chinese are going to give them a rough battle."
USA Gymnastics, Footage Courtesy, said, "There’s optimism though for the women’s gymnasts, with Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber both performing impressively leading up to the games."
So once again the Americans limber up for London 2012 with strength and depth in their Olympic squad, though the days of being assured the top spot on the medal tally are now long gone.  (CCTV)


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