While Japan may have come up short of its plans to bring home 15 to 18 gold medals from the London Olympics, its total count of 38 this year is a new record, beating its 2004 haul from Athens by one. Japan won 7 gold medals, 14 silver, and 17 bronze, and it won in one of the widest ranges of events that it ever has before. In the overall medal count standings, Japan was ranked 11th, between Australia and Kazakhstan.
One of the biggest disappointments was Japan’s standing in the judo events, winning only one gold. The sport was once seen as a Japanese specialty, and almost half of all the country’s gold medals have been from judo since 1992. But many athletes brought home medals from unexpected events, or those that haven’t been won in decades. The teams in badminton, table tennis, and most notably women’s soccer all won medals for Japan for the first time. And the women’s volleyball team ended a 28-year span without a medal.
Japan was also successful in winning medals everyday throughout the London Games, something never seen in the past. Female athletes were big contributors to the medal count: with four of Japan’s seven golds coming from freestyle wrestling, three were from women’s events. Both Kaori Icho and Saori Yoshida became Japan’s first athletes to win three consecutive gold medals within their own weight classes. And Hiromi Miyake, who won silver, brought home Japan’s first medal in weightlifting. A huge congratulations to all of the Japanese athletes who gave everything they had in London!