I often wondered whether there is a correlation between the number of medals (preferably gold) a NOC delegation wins during the Olympics and 'something' else about the country behind the NOC. Nevertheless, as in the FIFA World Cup, it appears that the higher the country rank in the Olympics, measured by golden medals in the first place, the more intense the sentiment of national pride of the country's citizens.
The Chinese, ever since they obtained the organization rights for the 29th Olympiad, made a real point about this becoming the greatest games ever and them winning first rank measured by any measures. So far they are doing fine. For a whole week after the opening ceremony they have been teaching us lessons in perfection and how to achieve it. And all this with a smile! Way to go kiddos! I already told my own kids to start learning some basics in Mandarin Chinese for they are probably gonna need it real soon. My generation didn't but they'll probably do and their own kids will surely do, without the shadow of a doubt!
Let's see how we stand on medal rankings though. Click the capture above, taken from the official Beijing 2008 medals stand page. China on top for both gold and medal totals. Second place for the US, third for Germany. And it is true that in the top ten list you find 6 of the G7 (Bomb Canada!* always good for nothin') - I am still looking at correlations... would money have something to do with it?
I wouldn't be a cranky teaser though if I hadn't thrown this next thing into the argument, just for kicks. Count for instance the golden medals of the EU members in the top 10. Result 17. Ranking EU nr 2, right behind China! Count their medal totals as well. Result 47! Say what? Yep! 47. Germany:12, Italy:13, France:15, and shameful UK:7. Which sets Europe on top of the Chinese in total medal rankings. Waaay above the US. And I left countries like Spain and the Netherlands out of it, for the time being...
There's nothing new to this. It used to be during Olympic Games before East and West Germany re-unified, that both Germanies together outranked everybody else. They are not doing as well nowadays but just for the sake of argument. Anyways, the EU with 27 member states, almost half a billion citizens and 23 official languages (blimey) are going to win these Olympics too. Mark my words. Wait for next week the athletics to kick-in.
So, maybe one day, in quite a few more Olympiads to go, the Chinese are going to overtake the EU in total rankings. Not yet though... Sorry! As for my US pals... well, you always seem to come up with these multiple medal winning champs, like Spitz, Lewis and now Phelps. Take these folks out of the equation and the picture gets pretty ugly. To your credit though, you are far less densely populated than us in Europe (only got 60% of our population) and u'r going thru a serious recession right now (although many of you won't admit it). I'm still looking for my correlations, ain't I?
* I stole that from South Park.