Medal Counts

The dagger of a finish to the Olympic Hockey gold medal game left me looking for a silver lining in the Olympic cloud. I immediately resorted to the medal count, which had the U.S.A firmly in control, with a 7 medal lead over Germany and an 11 medal lead over Canada. Take that Canucks!

But then I got to thinking…does that really matter? Who is the real winner of the Olympic games? Is it the country with the most overall medals or the country with the most gold medals?

Let’s first dispel the myth of the Olympic spirit and that it’s just great that everyone got out there and competed. Everyone wants to win, and if you don’t believe that, ask Russia’s president, who recently demanded that the Olympic chiefs quit because they are somehow biased toward the Russkies. Or ask Sven Kramer, the Dutch speed skater who missed out on a gold due to the biggest boneheaded-dagger maybe in the history of the sport. Or ask the 1972 US Olympic Basketball team, that (rightly) still hasn’t accepted the silver medal after this debacle:

Yes, everyone wants to win. So who won the 2010 Winter Olympic Games? The U.S., with 37 medals? Or Canada, with 14 golds? Would you rather be really good at the most stuff or the very best at the majority?

I think the answer is probably that we’d like to be the best in everything. Then there would be no debate. But in the absence of that, I think we need a system to determine the Olympic winner.

As it is, there are already 2 different systems in place. If you check NBC’s Olympic medal count, it has the United States on top because we won the most medals. But if you go to Wikipedia, it has Canada on top because they won the most golds.

How about a combination of the two? I think the final tally should look something like the point system in hockey. Let’s just say you get 3 points for a gold, 2 for a silver, and 1 for a bronze. Under that system, who would be the winner?

For the 2010 Winter Olympics, the top 3 would remain unchanged: U.S. = 70 points, Germany = 63, Canada = 61.

But for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the top two would be swapped. In those games, the U.S. won the overall medal count, winning 110 medals to China’s 100. Yet under the point system, China would end up with 223 points and the U.S. would end up with 216.

Oops. On second thought, maybe we should just go with the overall medal count…

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~ by sportsdaggers on March 2, 2010.

One Response to “Medal Counts”

  1. Unfortunately for Canada I think they would assign about one million points to the gold medal hockey game. I think a better scoring system would be 5 for gold, 3 for silver and 1 for bronze. I’m guessing that would mean that Canada would be the overall winner but I think the gap between 1st and 2nd should be larger.

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