Team Great Britain has exceeded even the most optimistic medal expectations at the 2012 Olympics, having won 24 golds and 51 overall as of Thursday evening. That's good for third on the official medal count behind the United States and China.
But Great Britain does lead on another medal count, albeit a much more inglorious one. Athletes and teams from Team GBR lead a tally of countries with the most last-three finishes. Overall, the Brits have eight last-place finishes, 11 second-to-last finishes and 12 third-to-last finishes. Their total of 31 is eight more than its next closest competitor, Ukraine.
[Related: U.S. leads in medal count]
Those numbers are courtesy The Wall Street Journal, which has kept a medal count of shame for the past two Olympics. It awards less-than-precious medals for bottom-three finishes in every event. Finish last, the WSJ counts it as a lead medal. Second-to-last and third-to-last bring tin and zinc, respectively.
Ukraine and Egypt won the most lead medals, with 11 each. Great Britain has the most tin and zinc and leads the overall count.
In fairness, it should be noted that because it's the host of the Olympics, Great Britain gets automatic bids into every event, regardless of whether the team is any good. The men's water polo team, for instance, hadn't qualified for a major international competition for 50 years. It was outscored 77-28 in its five losses. While the policy results in more exposure for British athletes and spectators getting to root for a hometown athlete/team at every event, it also leads to more last-place finishes.
We have no idea what Egypt's excuse is.
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