Exclusive: Everyone in America wants to see us top London 2012 medal table, says Chef de Mission
Monday, 11 June 2012
June 11 - Teresa Edwards, the Chef de Mission of Team USA at the London 2012 Olympic Games, admits that America is looking for top spot on the medal table despite the challenge posed by China.
At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, hosts China supplanted the US at the top of the Olympic table, winning 51 gold medals compared to 36 from America, leaving them a distant second.
China are favourites to top the medal table for a second successive Games at London 2012 but Edwards, the former basketball star who won four Olympic gold medals in a glittering career, said that the US should not be counted out despite the fact that they are not setting any medal targets.
"I'm very competitive," she told insidethegames.
"I'm competitive playing ping pong and I don't even know how to hold the paddle!
"That is just my nature so if you ask me if we are going to London 2012 to win and come out on top, I would say that yes we are.
"I think we are as good as we are healthy.
"If we go there fit and we perform at our best, I think we will be real contenders.
"But let's be honest, not every single US athlete is going to go to London 2012 and win a gold medal.
"It doesn't really work like that.
"We are just going to give it our best shot and see what we come out with.
"Like the whole of the US, I would love us to top the medal table but at the same time, I won't really be approaching London 2012 entirely in that manner as a Chef.
"When I was an athlete, I went simply to win but I need to be there more in a support manner as the Chef.
"That is the best way to approach it but while we are not making any medal targets or predictions, I would be lying if I said winning medals wasn't very high on our list of priorities at London 2012."
The 47-year-old from Cairo in Georgia, who made her last Olympic appearance at Sydney in 2000, also said she has been hugely impressed with the preparations for London 2012.
"It obviously helps us that there is no language or cultural barrier in Britain but the key thing that is going to make it a lot easier for us is that the Organising Committee have done such a brilliant with getting everything ready," said Edwards.
"Despite all my years travelling as a competitor, I had never been to London before I got this role.
"I've been there twice now since being appointed and I think it is a beautiful setting.
"There are obviously concerns over things like security but you have those at every Games and I think the correct plans are in place for security.
"London is just an amazing city and I'm very excited."
To read the full interview with Teresa Edwards click here.
June 2011: US appoints four-time Olympic gold medallist as Chef de Mission for London 2012
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April 2011: Double Olympic gold medallist named as USA Chef de Mission for London 2012