Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Resume breakdown of U.S. and China

Before I get started with the medal-breakdown, you may notice that my medal-count differs slightly from the “official” medal count that you might find on ESPN.com or NBC.com. I refuse to acknowledge the medals that China won in events in which it cheated. Three members of the Chinese women’s gymnastics team are under the age of 16. He Kexin, Jian Yuyuan, and Yang Yilin accounted for two gold and two bronze medals. So, I have removed two gold and two bronze medals from China’s medal-count. I have also added two gold medals to the U.S.-count since it won the silver in the two events in which China cheated. I have also subtracted two silver medals from the U.S.-count since those turn into gold.

Refer to the guide below if you want to quickly calculate the non-cheating medal count. Simply take the “official medal count” and make the following amendments…

Cheating Adjustments


The U.S. has been the undisputed king of the summer games ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent dismantling of the short-lived Unified Team after the ’92 Olympics. There is a good chance that streak will continue in Beijing as the Americans have been atop the medals-leaderboard since Day 1. However, that isn’t a given because the U.S.’s lead is tenuous. China has been on the U.S.’s tail from Day 1. China’s assault on medals—gold especially—is incredible considering the fact that it only tallied 63 medals—32 of which were gold—in 2004 Games in Athens. With four days to go in Beijing, China already has 79 medals, 45 of which are gold. Give a country with 1.3 billion people eight years to get ready for something, and chances are something good is going to happen. I’m not sure there’s any other way of looking at it.

Even though China has been very good, the U.S. has been its usual brilliant self. Russia has been the primary victim of China’s success. It had 92 medals in ’04 but only has 45 in Beijing. The U.S. has seen its fair share of disappointments as is the case at virtually every Olympics. Remember the catastrophic headlines from the 2006 Winter Games in Torino when Bode Miller didn’t win five gold medals? Well, expect to hear some of that same treatment as a result of the U.S.’s underwhelming display in track & field. Justin Gatlin’s four-year ban and the sudden and shocking rise to prominence of Jamaica’s track team is the main culprit here. However, let's not get carried away with the negativity. The U.S. currently boasts 14 medals from track & field--six more than any other country--with more sure to come. Look for the U.S. to take the gold and silver in the Men's 400 m. The track team lost a sure gold medal when Lolo Jones, who was a mere three seconds from easily winning gold in the 100 m hurdles, tripped on the second to last hurdle.

America's team sports have been outstanding. It has seen its best indoor volleyball showing (men and women’s) in years. Both water polo teams have been outstanding. Both men and women’s beach volleyball has been outstanding as usual. The men and women’s basketball teams have dominated. Women’s softball has been unstoppable. The women’s soccer team has found its way back into the gold medal game. Even the vaunted Gymnastics team won gold in non-cheating gymnastics.

I was curious to see how the U.S. stacked up against China in a comparison of resumes. The U.S. has the most medals. China has the most “golds.” Which one is more impressive? A gold medal is clearly more valuable than a silver medal and a silver medal is obviously more valuable than a bronze medal. The difference between gold and silver and silver and bronze is often razor-thin. So, I decided to compare the U.S. and China on a simple points-based system that awards three points for a gold, two points for a silver, and one point for a bronze.

Below is a chart comparing the U.S. and China in the non-cheating medal count and a simple point based system (Gold=3, Silver=2, Bronze=1)…


China’s robust gold-count is quite impressive. The U.S. holds the overall medal-lead but, at this point, China’s resume is more impressive per overall points. The U.S. only trails by eleven points which is a fairly small deficit. Both countries have been outstanding and it’s going to be fun to see who ends up on top. Hopefully the U.S. can make it four-consecutive Summer Olympics leading the medal-count.

The U.S. also has an opportunity to surpass its medal-count from the ’04-Olympics. It’s going to be close.

U.S. ‘0828242779159
U.S. ‘04363927102213

I will be on hiatus until the first week of September. Enjoy the rest of the Olympics and good luck fighting off the anticipation of college football!

No comments:


Powered by Blogger