I hope the US press reports that China is head to head with the US, and the relative failure of the Russians (two days ago the whole Russian olympic delegation had less gold than Michael Phelps).
If this game is repeated in 2008, perhaps Russia is not to be divided in men and women anymore. China certainly should be.
China is doing well for now, but there won't be many more opportunities for China in the days ahead. It won't be "head to head" with America for long. I think that China will probably be at par with its last Olympic performance (28 gold), but not much better. It will still be the third after U.S. and Russia.
Russia is a big disappointment. However, it has more gold medal events ahead. I am not counting Russia out. It will still be number 2 in this Olympic.
But Japan is unbelievable. You were right, fbaezer, we'd all underestimated Japan. Coming from five gold in 2000, no doubt that Japan is the most improved in Athens.