Monday, 25 August 2008

Olympic medals tables with a difference

It has taken the US to be knocked off the top spot, for someone to finally publish Olympic medals tables that reflect a more diverse set of criteria than the number of golds won. Medals per head of population; medals in relation to GDP... it certainly changes the way you look at the world. Have a look and ask if you know where all these places are, and what they won. It might change the perception of who the real heroes are.

Then I wonder what happens the majority of the populations of these countries who have no access to sports facilities, and what it has taken for the elite few to make it to the Games.

Does the success of a few at very high levels inspire investment and a generation of younger sports fans to train themselves for success? If so, does that stimulate a more disciplined, hard-working economy and a lifestyle that fosters stability, providing security for young and old? I'd like to believe so. Not a panacea by any means, and not the whole story. But sport is a hang sight better than prostitution and wage slavery, for those who can get into it.

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