Summer Olympics: China Dominates With Golds

Written by:
Alistair Prescott
Published on:
China Gold Medals 2008 Summer Olympics

Heading into Friday's Summer Olympic events, Team China dominated in terms of gold medals - 22 compared to 10 for the Americans (the second largest number of golds). South Korea and Italy were tied for the third largest number of gold medals - 6.

In terms of overall medal count, Team USA was much better off and had only one fewer than the Chinese at 34. Both teams were well ahead of the other nations.

The Wall Street Journal points out that Americans overall medal count could be considered a greater feat than China's total gold medal count.

In the U.S., medal tables are based on the total number of medals won. By that reckoning, the U.S. was atop the table Tuesday night, 29 to 27. That's the way The Wall Street Journal does it, as well as virtually every other U.S. media outlet-primarily because that's how it's done by the ubiquitous Associated Press.

Readers who responded to the Journal's online poll accompanying the article felt the total-medal count was better by a narrow margin, 52% to 48%. Another 20 readers took the time to email directly. Some pointed out flaws in the two ways of ranking countries and some had solutions.

The problem with the gold-first table is three-fold. First, it allows a country with one solitary gold to rank ahead of a country with many silvers and bronzes. Second, it goes against the Olympic spirit-silvers and bronzes are supposed to symbolize the value of participation and to counter the ethos that winning is everything. If gold is the only way that countries are ranked, then why have silvers and bronzes? Finally, it makes sports bureaucrats focus solely on supporting sports in which their athletes have a shot at a gold.

SBG Global, which is offering betting on the 2008 Summer Olympics throughout the event, did have China as the slight favorite to take home the most gold medals. It appears they are well on their way to doing just that.

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