Many are twittering about how China is giving the United States of America a run for her money in the ongoing London 2012 Olympics.
It is utter baloney of course and here is why.
At this point, China has only three medals in the team disciplines: the Men’s team Gymnastics, Men’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay and the Women’s team archery.
On the other hand the United States has won team medals in the Women’s Eight With Coxswain (rowing with someone who is not rowing guiding the rest of the team), Women’s 4x200m swimming Freestyle Relay, Women’s Quadruple Sculls Without Coxswain, Men’s 4x200m swimming Freestyle Relay, Women’s team gymnastics, Men’s 4x100m swimming Freestyle Relay, Women’s 4x100m swimming Freestyle Relay, the men’s team archery.
The United States will also win the women’s and men’s gold medals in basketball.
Now that the track and field events have started, the Chinese are going to struggle totally in the team and individual disciplines while the Americans will continue to impress.
On the basis of numbers alone, the Americans’ total medal tally at this point is 74 compared to China’s total of 54. But the more salient point is that the Americans are still phenomenal at both the team and individual disciplines whereas the Chinese excel at the events that don’t require fielding more than two people, and even then not more than one or two simultaneously.
Between 1990 and 1998, 28 Chinese swimmers tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, almost half the world total of drug offenders in sport.Seven swimmers tested positive for steroids at the Asian Games in Hiroshima in late 1994, these positive tests badly affected the squad to the extent that it won only one swimming gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Chinese leaders initially blamed racist sports officials in Japan for manufacturing test results. … China improved in swimming until 1998 when four more positive tests and the discovery of human growth hormone (HGH) in the swimmer Yuan Yuan’s luggage at the 1998 World Aquatics Championships in Perth, Australia
No one will want to talk about it but the elephant in the room is, of course, that individual events, at which the Chinese excel, are also the easiest to rig or cheat at in a concerted manner.
But I digress. This was meant to be about the silliness of comparing the Americans with the Chinese where pursuit of sports happiness is concerned.
Even if, at the end of London 2012, China has more gold medals than the United States, can I suggest that try we try comparing chalk and cheese instead? It would be more meaningful.