The Lithuanian team came back from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London with 2 gold medals, a silver and 2 bronze medals. This total of 5 medals matched Lithuania’s previous Olympics achievements in Sydney 2000 (2 gold, 3 bronze) and Beijing 2008 (2 silver, 3 bronze), but the gold/silver mix was the best ever since Lithuania’s independence.
The gold medals were won in swimming by Rūta Meilutytė and in modern pentathlon by Laura Asadauskaitė. Rūta Meilutytė became a darling of the sports world after her win. (Please see more on Rūta on this website in News/ Lithuania in the World - August 5, 2012). Laura Asadauskaitė did not just win the gold, but also broke the Olympic record! Interestingly, Laura is married to Andrejus Zadneprovskis, one of her coaches and himself a pentathlon champion, with a silver in the 2004 Athens Olympics and a bronze in Beijing in 2008.
All five medal winners are honoured at Vilnius Town Hall. Photo courtesy lrp.lt
The other medallists were Jevgenijus Šuklinas with silver in rowing (sprint canoeing), while the bronze medalists were Aleksandras Kazakevičius (Greco-Roman wrestling) and Evaldas Petrauskas (boxing, men's lightweight division). Šuklinas has been European champion twice. In his other activities he is very proud in having saved a number of people from drowning as a life-saver. Just 20 years old now, Petrauskas was the gold medal winner in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, while Kazakevičius was also the bronze winner in this year‘s European chamionships.
In the official medal count ranking Lithuania came 34th, but in per capita terms it came 8th, doing very much better than the Olympic giants USA, China, Britain and Russia. Lithuania’s performance was slightly better than Australia’s. Extrapolated to Australia’ size, Lithuania’s medal count would be 14 gold, 7 silver and 14 bronze (35 medals in total), compared to Australia’s actual medal count of 7 gold, 16 silver, 12 bronze (also 35 in total).
A disappointment for Lithuania was that in its much loved sport of basketball Lithuania did not make the semifinals, which it had achieved every Olympics since independence up to now, as well as winning bronze in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics. But disappointment in basketball was more than compensated by the remarkable success of the five medal winners.
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Rūta Meilutytė with her medal. Photo courtesy lrytas.lt