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Most nations in the world rank the competing nations according to the number of gold medals. However, U.S. news media unilaterally go against the rest of the world, and they consider a gold medal the equivalent of a bronze medal, hence, they add up the gold, silver and bronze medals, on a one for one basis, to get the total number of medals, |
and then rank the competing nations by the gold+silver+bronze totals.
The U.S. news media are simply silly because common sense tells us that a gold medal is the most desired and in no way can be equivalent to a bronze.
Why are they doing this?
By assuming a gold medal is the equivalent of a bronze medal, which is not logical, however, it serves to please the American news audience, a self-serving delight.
American news media also raised questions that China's super-performing gymnastic girls are under age 16. Even though this is just rumor or hearsay to be thrown out as sour grapes and silly in the end, meanwhile this is meant to tarnish China's gold medals and please the conservatives at home.
This reminds me of how the New York Times once on its front page falsely accused Dr. Wen Ho Lee as a spy, only to be aquitted after 18 months in jail. Eventually Dr. Lee received an apology from the judge for his mistreatment and was set free. But, 18 months in jail was a lot of suffering and pain, thanks to the New York Times!
People's Daily does not update medal winnings on a real-time basis, only at the end of the day. So I look at the American NBC website for updates of intraday medal totals. Two peculiar observations:
1. The U.S. medals were updated at different times of the day, however, frequently the time of day (e.g. 10:45 am ET) remained unchanged; and
2. Only the new U.S. medal winnings were updated, but not China's new medals.
I observed these for the last three days and made a few interesting pdf copies of the NBC's postings.
An author wrote that a gold medal is equivalent to the value of 5 silver medals, and a silver is equivalent to 3 bronze medals. He said this was the year 1908 British system for the London Olympics, originally. By using this system, the total points (instead of total gold+silver+bronze medals) earned by each nation can be calculated. His calculations yield a total of 297 points for China, 289 for U.S.A. Of course the total points would change with increases in medal winnings each day. This system can be used for the final numbers of medals on the last day of the Olympic Games, August 24.
An abstract of the above mentioned article is as follows:
Weighing Olympic gold
The U.S. tallies all medals; many other nations count only gold.
By Robert Hardaway
Robert Hardaway is a professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
August 22, 2008
Is the U.S. winning the Olympics?
The United States (or more precisely, the U.S. news media) have unilaterally chosen to rank countries' overall performance according to which nation has won the most total medals. Not surprisingly, under this standard, the U.S. may come out on top. The media of most other countries, however, rank nations according to the number of gold medals only, which puts China far ahead.
Assuming the medal trends hold, which country will have actually won when the Olympics wrap up Sunday? Some tout the fact that nobody knows for sure as a positive aspect of the Games. Terry Rhoads, managing director of a Shanghai-based sports consulting firm, for instance, told MSNBC that the ambiguity leaves "everyone feeling good about the Olympics and both nations able to say they won."
.........A practical solution -- if one can get the sports media to concur on anything -- is to start the count over with a method employed by the British press during the 1908 Games in London. That year, British reporters calculated national standings based on a point system -- five for gold, three for silver and one for bronze. (A three-two-one point distribution seems fairer to me -- is one gold truly worth five bronzes? -- but I'd bow to the historical precedent.)
Nevertheless, application of the British point system wouldn't help the U.S. in Beijing this Olympic year. As of late Thursday, the U.S. had won 99 medals, including 30 gold, while China had won 83 medals, including 46 gold. Using the 1908 point system, China would top the standings with 297 points, compared with 289 points for the U.S. (The race would be tighter under a three-two-one point system, but China would still come out on top.)
........The U.S. system is also deficient, however, in that it illogically gives equal weight to both gold and bronze medals -- one reason why it's been rejected by the rest of the world.
Re-implementation of the 1908 point system would be a reasonable compromise, but its most important feature would be the promotion of the true Olympic spirit of fair competition.