US Beats China In Olympic Medal Tally


 

In somewhat of a surprise outcome to many the US got both more gold and the most medals overall beating out China.  The US got 46 gold medals compared to 38 for China.  For total medals the US came away with 104 to China’s 87.  As I said the result was somewhat of a surprise to many including people in the US.  I remember at one point during NBC’s olympic coverage they were discussing the medal tally and a commentator remarked that although the US had passed China for the most medals at one point that people should expect the Chinese to eventually take the lead for good.  I do think it is interesting the US ended up winning because the fact that China has so many more people and the government sponsors many athletes.  Throw in the fact that most athletes are literally hand picked by scouts at very young ages and then shipped off to sports academies to train full time away from their families.  To me having 4 times the population, state sponsorship of athletes, sports academies developing talent from young ages should seem like it would be a system that consistently produced more medals than the US.

Which then raises the question of why China did not beat the US this time?  Obviously China had the home field advantage last olympics because they were the host nation so everyone knew they weren’t going to do as good this time.  Also the US deserves credit for having a great olympic games, especially the US women athletes who ended up winning more medals than the men.  Some Chinese bloggers have speculated that the system China has used to produce olympic athletes may be to blame because the enormous pressure put on the athletes to succeed eventually becomes too much for some.  One Chinese blogger actually went so far as to say that Chinese system produces athletes that are one-dimensional and unprepared for life when he wrote

“The budding young talents are shut up in closed training

schools from a young age and apart from their own events, almost

have no other life skills.”

My personal opinion is that it was a great olympics for Team USA but it will be hard to consistently out do China in the future because of all the previously mentioned advantages China has.  Although some of those advantages like the government backing and extreme dedication come at a heavy price for the individual athletes.  Could you imagine being sent away to one of those sports academies at 5 years old, train for years only to find out you’re not good enough.  Or what if you got injured and could no longer compete and you spent your whole life preparing for something you will never have the chance to do and oh by the way you are totally unprepared on how to handle the rest of your life.  To me that is a price to steep to pay, I almost feel sorry for Chinese athletes.

Chastened
China sees tough road ahead to Rio

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China vs. America The Olympic Edition


 

Since we are at roughly the half way mark of the 2012 London Olympics I thought it might be interesting to see who would win the battle for olympic supremacy.  There are only two countries that can win China or America.  As of August 4 the Chinese held a slight lead in overall medals with 48 to 46 for the US, although the US had the most gold medals with 23.  The olympics is now shifting to track and field now that the swimming and other events are wrapping up today.  Although the US is not nearly as dominant in track as it once was with the recent emergence of Jamaica as a sprinting superpower, it should be able to win more medals than China.  The question will be will it be enough to pass China for the total medal count?  With the recent emergence of China as a sporting superpower it does raise some questions that should be addressed.  First, is it realistic for America to think that we can beat China when they have roughly four times the population as the US.  Coupled with the fact that in China the state sponsors athletes while in the US athletes are left to either fend for themselves or be sponsored by private organizations?  Second, is the US in decline as a sporting nation?  The US no longer dominates track and field like it used to and the trend looks to continue this olympics with the best sprinters coming once again from Jamaica.  It’s not just in track and field where the US no longer dominates.  Since olympic boxing went through scoring changes that now make it different from professional boxing the US has gone from the nation who had won the most boxing medals to only being able to bring back one bronze medal in Beijing.  Should China win the most medals at the London Olympics there should be no doubt that their government will use it as further proof to help legitimize their authoritarian rule.

 

Medal
Tracker

American boxers falling in droves at Games