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Overplaying the Political Importance of a Country 'Winning' the Olympics

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Yahoo Sports titles its list of the official medal standing of the 2008 Olympics:


and thereby lists the United States at the top for having won 110 medals to China's 100.

The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games titles its list:


and lists China first for it having the most Gold with 51 to the United States' 36.

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China's media lists China at the top for having won more gold medals but notes that the United States won more medals overall.

U.S. media lists the United States first for having won more medals overall but notes that China won the most Gold.

If one figures 3 points for Gold, 2 points for Silver and 1 point for Bronze, the score reads:

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China 223
United States 220

Pretty close. For all the displays of nationalism, seemingly more charming, important and humble in the cases of winning athletes from the smaller nations, it was always nice to see that human interest given the individual medal winners as a break from media over-dramatizing the medal count between the two largest nations.

It was a little heavy to witness so much emphasis on a battle of cultures being portrayed in the dedicated sportsmanship and mutual respect among athletes, most of whom transcended any implied political confrontation in their heroic demeanor.

Thank goodness that this Olympics seemed to bring a degree of sincere curiosity in the common humanity expressed by the keen competitors from all nations.


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Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of (more...)

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