August 5, 2012 4:12 AM EST
The Animalympics: Which Species Are Fastest, Strongest Or Hardiest? [GRAPHIC]
Athletes from all over the world are jumping, running, swimming and tumbling in London right now to claim the gold. In the animal world, which species would prevail in a similar contest? We think it might turn out something like this.
Bronze goes to the mountain goat, who we think would kill on the beam but falter on the floor. The spider monkey wins silver for swinging as effortlessly on the uneven bars as she does through the trees. But for best all-around grace, balance and flexibility, you can't beat the house cat.
The diminutive klipspringer, an African antelope, can jump anywhere from 10 to 15 times its own height, up to 25 feet! But that's nothing compared to the froghopper, also known as the spittlebug, which can leap up to 28 inches -- which would be like a human bounding over a 690-foot building. But the flea is the most impressive jumper for its size, able to rocket upward 3 inches, which would be like a person launching themselves more than 1,000 feet in the air.
Jumping spiders can jump forward anywhere from 10 to 40 times the length of their body, but the tree frog does even better, bounding up to 50 times its body length or more. The flea takes another gold in this event, though; it can jump 200 times its own body length, which would be like a person jumping over four football fields laid end to end.
The camel carries nourishment in its hump, so it wouldn't need to stop too much for water and food breaks over a 26-mile course. But while the camel's average speed of 25 mph beats out humans, it's not enough to pass the pronghorn, which can maintain a 30 mph pace for about an hour. The ostrich can also keep that same approximate pace, so it would be a tight race to the finish.
On short courses, the cheetah is king of the track, reaching top speeds of up to 75 mph. One of its favorite meals, the pronghorn antelope, is also pretty speedy, but it can only hope to outrun the big cat if it can draw the chase out past 1,000 feet. The greyhound, bred by humans for speed, can go up to 43 mph out of the gate.
Marine mammals are blown out of the water by fish in swimming contests. The bluefin tuna can go over 30 mph in short bursts. The marlin can go up to 68 mph, while the champion, the sailfish, ekes out victory at 70 mph.
While the elephant can heft 600 pounds with his trunk and the gorilla can lift up to 10 times his body weight, the little weaver ant beats them both handily with the ability to lift 100 times his own weight.