In the Olympics Medal Race, USA Medals are Better
Every four years, the summer Olympic Games are held, and every four years we Americans dutifully tune in to the replays and cheer our athletes on. But let's face it, the Olympic Games are a temporary distraction to our regular sports. We like to toast the success of our new Olympians like Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Galen Rupp as well as our returning Olympians like Michael Phelps. Then we take a look at the medal counts to make sure that we have a good haul and that's about it. Now some people fret that China currently has more total medals as well as more golds medals. I think it's pointless fretting. Let me remind you that the International Olympic Committee dropped softball as a sport but kept fencing in. Fencing?! Are there any living Musketeers left?
I'm convinced that the only reason that the IOC dropped softball is that Americans kept winning it every four years. Everybody else sucked at it. Now granted, softball is not a sport that many people play outside of the United States but fencing doesn't have a huge following either, and yet they manage to keep it as part of the roster. And this is why I have a problem with the Olympics. The sports that are included just seem so random. Have you seen the list of sports activities? You can get medals in Trampoline. Yeah, who'd have thunk it. Then there's something called Canoe kayak slalom and Canoe kayak sprint. Huh? They dropped softball for this made up crap? Why would you use canoes which everyone knows is not known for speed and put it in a race? Then let's not forget synchronized swimming. I would never think of that as a sport, it's more like water ballet -- it's dumb. Some of these "sports" are only attractive to Europeans and former communists, like rhythmic gymnastics. It's gymnastics without all the tricks and tumbles but includes playing around with ribbons, hoops and other silliness. These esoteric sports activites are there to stack the medals deck against the Americans. They know Americans won't have an interest in certain games.
Currently, China is ahead on the medal count. But not all medals are created equal. Let's take a look at where the Chinese team won most of their medals. The top four sports disciplines in which they won medals are swimming, diving, gymnastics, and badminton. Yeah badminton. It's like tennis but not as athletic.
Getting back to China's medals, they've won a total of 34 of their 73 medals in their top four games. Team USA won the most medals in three disciplines: swimming, track and field, and gymnastics with 49 out of 70 medals. Right away, you can tell that most of our medals came from the summer olympics' signature sports. Badminton is not a signature sport and the Chinese won 8 medals in this activity. So what am I trying to say? I'm trying to say that Americans win medals in sports that are popular, highly competitive and highly athletic, the first tier sports. China, meanwhile, wins medals in second tier sports that are less popular and require a lower level of athleticism, such as table tennis and shooting.
So it really doesn't matter how many total medals China's athletes or other country's have won. For us, what matters is that we win the medals in the disciplines that are important to us and that we try to dominate that higher tier level of sports.
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