Korea aims for a top 10 finish with at least 10 gold medals in the London Olympics this summer. It is the same target as four years ago in Beijing, when the country in fact finished seventh overall with 13 gold, 10 silver and 8 bronze medals.
Lee Ki-heung, the president of Korea Swimming Federation and vice president of Korean Olympic Committee, said the nation will be able to achieve the goal easily if Korean athletes "win gold medals in archery and swimming, which take place early on in the Games, to create the momentum." He added the committee's eyes are on swimmer Park Tae-hwan and weightlifter Jang Mi-ran and it expects good results from the football team, which is aiming for its first Olympic medal ever.
Team Korea is also hopeful of gold medals in badminton, fencing, gymnastics, judo, shooting, taekwondo and wrestling.
China ranked first for the first time with a record 51 gold medals at home in the 2008 Olympics, leading runner-up the U.S., which won 36, by a big margin. It was the best result ever by an Asian country in the history of the games.
But in London China lacks the home advantage. The Chinese sports ministry predicts a third-place finish at best since its traditional stronghold diving is being strongly challenged by the U.S. and Europe.
Meanwhile China's men's basketball team, which advanced to the quarterfinal for two consecutive games in 2004 and 2008, is being dramatically weakened by the absence of Yao Ming and Wang Zhizhi.
Japan's goal is to end in the top five, which would be possible with 15 to 18 gold medals based on past game rankings. Japan won only nine gold medals four years ago. Based on its athletes' performance in world championships last year and world rankings, it hopes to win 15 gold medals in London.