The Gold Standard

So there is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth that the U.S. has fewer gold medals than China does. But not if you look at it my way. The special SportsDiva Medal Count right now (11 am EDT) has the United States at 87 versus China with 72.

How can that be, you may ask? China has 49 gold and the United States has 33. Au contraire! Look at the Chinese and U.S. medal winners. Note that 72 Chinese individuals are wearing gold medals around this week, while 87 Americans are. By the end of the weekend, if a few more U.S. teams come through with gold, it won’t be even that close.

Of course, there are those who want to parse medals by population and GDP. They’re from smaller or less wealthy countries who have their own ax to grind. The United States doesn’t come out too badly per capita, but using both population and GDP, it looks pretty bad compared with Zimbabwe!

I like to think that China’s concentration on sports in which there are more medals for individuals to win has backfired. Team sports, at which the United States is excelling in this Olympics, are the key to winning the SportsDiva Medal Count. So, for those of you who weren’t feeling dominant enough this morning, relax and root on the volleyball, basketball, and water polo teams. Building world domination one team sport at a time.

I’ll get back to you with the overall total tomorrow.

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5 Responses to The Gold Standard

  1. Mary Boll says:

    If you count the individuals who actually won and discount the ones who won more than one medal (sorry MP) the numbers come out close to 60 Chinese Athletes to 120 USA athletes just in the gold and the other medals are more lopsided. Also why does a medal that takes two preformances to win equal a team sport that took up to a dozen games/matches to win.

  2. stubbornmule says:

    With a third place for medals per capita and second for medals by GDP, I think that Jamaica deserves the over-all “adjusted” Olympics title. Also, Zimbabwe is only on top of the GDP stakes because their economy is atrocious and their one medal winner trained for years in the US.

    For the full (unadjusted) tally, there’s chart here.

    P.S. Thanks for the link to my post!

  3. stubbornmule says:

    (that should read “a chart” not “chart”…feel free to edit!)

  4. sportsdiva says:

    Mary, nearly all sports take multiple performances to win. The marathon and 10,000 meters are exceptions, not the rule. The sprints, middle distances, even the 1500 meters in track and all the swimming events require multiple heats. All of martial sports require multiple bouts. Even most equestrian events have preliminaries. And no matter the sport, there are years of training and sacrifice that go into the performance that wins the medal. They are all equal in intrinsic value to the athlete.

  5. sandrar says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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