• While the U.S. performed largely as expected, winning a Games-high 103 medals (six more than in Sydney), several other countries surprisingly fared well or faltered.
• THE WINNERS
China With 32 gold and 63 total medals, the 2008 host established itself as a power player for the Beijing Games (page 52).
Japan Its 37 medals--10 in judo and eight in swimming--more than doubled its 2000 haul.
Israel Windsurfer Gal Fridman (inset) won the country's first-ever gold.
Greece Apart from hosting a better Games than anyone could have predicted, it won 16 medals--most since the 1896 Games.
• THE LOSERS
Canada Its 12 medals were its fewest since 1988.
Serbia & Montenegro Its touted men's basketball and volleyball teams failed to reach the podium.
Nigeria Africa's most populous nation won two medals, its worst showing since 1988.
Greece It was shamed by drug scandals involving star sprinters Konstantinos Kenteris and Ekaterini Thanou and weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis, who was stripped of his bronze medal. --Brian Cazeneuve