The Gold Standard

August 23, 2008

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.