An estimated 10,500 athletes will participate in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, with the host nation, Great Britian, sending 541 athletes to the games, more than anyone else, with Cyclist and four-time gold medal winner Chris Hoy as the flag bearer.

The GB team is followed by the United States (530, Mariel Zagunis), Russia (436, Maria Sharapova), Germany (391, Natascha Keller), China, France, Japan, Italy, Spain and Canada as the nations sending in the most athletes to London 2012.

Canada – 277

Canada were 19th in the Olympic Medal Table four years ago in Beijing, winning 3 gold medals, 9 silver and 6 bronze, a total of 18. Their flag bearer in London will be Simon Whitfield, a triathlon gold medalist in Sydney and Silver medalist in Beijing.

Spain – 282

Spain finished 15th in the Beijing Olympics on the medal table, winning 5 gold medals, 10 silver medals, 3 bronze medals and 18 in total. Pau Gasol of the basketball team, who was part of the Silver Medal winning team in 2008, will be the flag bearer of the Spanish Olympic squad.

Italy – 284

Valentina Vezzali, a five time gold medalist in foil competitions, winning three individual golds (2000-2008) and two in team competitions in Atlanta and Sydney will be the flag bearer for the Italian Olympic delegation, sending 284 athletes to 22 sports. Italy were 9th on the medal table in Beijing, winning 8 gold medals, 9 silver medals, 10 bronze medals and 27 total medals.

Japan – 293

Japan were 8th on the medal count in Beijing, winning 9 gold medals, 6 silver medals and 10 bronze ones; 25 in total. Japan’s 293 athletes will compete in 24 sports, and wrestler Saori Yoshida, who has won gold medals in Athens and Beijing, will be the flag bearer.

France – 330

France, participating in 24 sports this time around (out of 26, missing out on the field hockey and volleyball competitions), won 7 gold medals, 16 silver medals and 18 bronze; 41 in total, putting them at 10th on the medal table. The flag bearer will be Laura Flesser-Colovic (épée fencer), a winner of two gold medals in Atlanta and three more medals in Athens and Sydney.

China – 380

The hosts and big winners of the 2008 Olympics. China won 100 medals and finished first on the medal table with 51 gold medals, 21 of silver and 28 of bronze. Chinese athletes will be participating in 23 sports, excluding football, handball and equestrian. Yi Jianlian of the basketball team, who played for the Dallas Mavericks last season, will be the flag bearer.

Germany – 391

Natascha Keller, who won a gold medal with the field hockey team in the 2004 Olympic games will be the flag bearer for Germany, sending 391 competitors to 23 sports. Germany finished 5th on the medal table in Beijing with 16 gold medals, 10 silver medals and 15 bronze medals, 41 in total.

Russia – 436

Russia finished third on the medal table in Beijing, winning 23 gold medals, 21 silver medals and 29 bronze; 73 in total. Maria Sharapova, missing out on the Beijing Olympics because of injury, the current French Open champion and number three player in the world, will be the flag bearer for Russia, the first women to do so for the nation.

USA – 530

The United States won more medals than anyone in 2008 with 110, finishing second on the medal table with 36 gold, 38 silver and 38 bronze. The only sport without an American athlete competing in it is handball, as the Americans are sending more females to the summer Olympics for the first time. Mariel Zagunis, a two time gold medal winner in individual Sabre will be the flag bearer.

Great Britain – 541

The host nation (or kingdom) send the most athletes, understandable, competing in all 26 sports due to automatic qualification. The British team finished fourth on the medal table four years ago, winning 19 gold medals, 13 of silver and 15 of bronze, 47 in total. Chris Hoy, who won three gold medals in Beijing on the cycling track and one more in Athens will be the flag bearer for the hosts.

Images: Whitfield Gasol Vezzali Yoshida Flessel-Colovic Jianlian Keller