Solving the medal muddle
I have solved the medal-table controversy irrefutably.Skip to next paragraph
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Is that total medals or gold medals, you ask. Popular vote or electoral college? Is this the 2000 presidential election all over again? Will there will need to be an emergency session of the Supreme Court to decide who the “winner” of the Olympics is.
Of course, there is no official winner. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ranks its medal table by gold medals. That means if someone had happened to win 300 silver and bronze medals and no golds here, it would have ended up being ranked 56th – behind Cameroon, which won a single gold in the women’s triple jump.
What, then, is the point of handing out three medals?
Then again, winning the actual event must count for something.
So here I give you the correct medal table:
1. China – 223
2. United States – 220
3. Russia – 139
4. Great Britain – 98
5. Australia – 89
6. Germany – 83
7. France – 70
8. Korea – 67
9. Italy – 54
10. Japan – 49
The secret math? Three points for a gold, 2 for a silver, 1 for a bronze.
Other crumbs of medal-table trivia:
* By the IOC’s ranking system, Michael Phelps would have finished 10th, one place ahead of France, had he been entered as a country.
* This is only the second time since World War I that two nations have split the gold medal and total medal lead. The other instance was in the 1964 Tokyo Games, when the US won 36 gold medals and 90 overall medals, while the Soviet Union won 30 gold medals and 96 overall medals.
* Compared with its results from Athens, China improved by 19 gold medals and 37 total medals. By far, the greatest increase came in gymnastics, going from one gold, zero silvers, and three bronzes (1-0-3) to 11-1-6 – a gain of 10 gold medals and 14 total medals. No other Chinese sport saw a gain of more than three total medals.