Queen beats Obama in gold medal count
Britain's Queen Elizabeth attends the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium July 27, 2012. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)
LONDON - U.S. President Barack Obama might rest soundly on Sunday night in the knowledge his country topped the medals table at the London Games, but he might be slightly put out to discover that as a head of state he still comes second to Britain’s queen.
Thanks to her role as head of state for 16 countries, Queen Elizabeth is the world leader whose athletes have won more gold medals at London 2012 than any other and in her diamond jubilee year too. That’s 48 golds for Elizabeth to Obama’s 46.
Alongside Britain’s 29 golds, only six of the queen’s other countries were needed to top the medal count with seven from Australia, five from New Zealand, four from Usain Bolt and his fellow Jamaicans and one each from Bahamas, Canada and Grenada.
The 86-year-old monarch had made her mark upon the Games when she appeared in a video clip during the opening ceremony with fictional spy James Bond, and then seeming to skydive from a helicopter with a Union Jack parachute.
Britain once ruled the waves and two-thirds of the planet for hundreds of years and has an imperial history which saw the United States win a war of independence in the 18th century.
The queen, who came to the throne after the death of her father George VI has spent a lifetime saying goodbye to Britain’s former colonial possessions around the world.