Sunday, August 24, 2008

Veritas - The Olympics

Well, the Olympics ended today. It seems I get more interested in it every two years. Previous to 2006 I didn't really care. Although 1996 Atlanta I cared a bit... the torch ran through my town, which was pretty cool. And in 2006, of all things, I got addicted to curling. Yeah. Curling. Maybe the screaming reminded me of home. Or maybe it was the Sweedish Women's team. I don't know. But it turned out to be interesting.

This year, Michael Phelps' drive for 8 was the initial interest. Then there was the lovely Nastia Liukin (my future wife) winning gold in Women's Gymnastics All Around. Alicia Sacramone. Shawn Johnson winning the gold in Balance Beam (fuck you Collinsworth for pointing out she was short, she's probably self conscious about it and you point it out to the entire nation... way to go douchebag). The US volleyball teams were fantastic, Misty May (sorry I do have to point out it sounds like a porn star name) and Kerri Walsh , and those two guys... and the men's team won too right? And of course Usain Bolt's crazy world record breaking feats. And there was plenty more that was great to see.

And on top of all that, we Americans should be very proud of our athelets. Not only in the medals they won, but in the way they conducted themselves. They gave their all, in most cases it paid off, and furthermore, simply showed amazing sportsmanship (Dara Torres). It's a shame we didn't get the 2012 Olympics.

Speaking of which, does anyone else see the irony of London hosting the Olympics after Beijing? From one country that tramples human rights to one that has a worse record of such. And don't throw any of that "Magna Carta" bullshit in there either. England has suffocated human rights for a thousand years. Need I point out further irony that England ruled Hong Kong for centuries, only returning control to the Chinese fairly recently?

Well, on to the closing ceremony. I could give a shit about the opening ceremony, or even the closing, but I figured I'd watch. It wasn't that bad. I got the whole "the torch may be out but it burns on in us" thing. There wasn't the need for the "Memory Tower" to be that long a segment. One highlight... Jackie Chan... "Jackie! AIY-YEAAAHH! One more thing!"

But the British segment... wow... god awful. The London mayor? Did they vote on who looks the most British? Jesus. Now, I'm no gay fashion guru like Jay (I know all redundant), but the goofy actors waiting for the bus had an abundance of gray in their outfits. Were they all chimney sweeps? Jesus. How do you go from the colorful Beijing Olympics to say, "Hey look, we're going to be grayer than a morning Beijing smog!"...

... and back to the trampling of human rights... Leona Lewis' wailing to "Whole lotta love". Was anyone else praying she'd fall off that 20ft pedestal? How do you put "She was god awful" in harsher terms? She sounded like a retarted Mariah Carey.

Let's switch gears for a minute. Being the dork that I am, I was interested to see how medal totals matched up with country populations. In theory, the bigger the population, the more medals that country should win. In other words, it's the simple bell curve. A few countries with a large population, and more countries with smaller populations, and those few countries winning lots of medals, whereas the smaller countries winning less. And for the most part... that's true. Of course it's not going to be a perfect bell curve, since there are other factors. For example, Russia won a shitload of medals ranking third, but ranking ninth in population. The size of the upper and middle classes of a country is one factor. It's that population that really produces the atheletes that compete, reason being time and money. They have the money to spend to train, and the time it takes to train. Basically... expect China to run away with even more medals in future Olympics. With not only a massive population to produce capable and talented athelets (a la Bell Curve), but the ever growing upper and middle classes and federal health and fitness programs, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Below I compiled a list of countries ordered by population, with the rank they finished in the Olympics... yeah I'm a dork. But I'm not dorky enough to plot it on a graph... or maybe I am but I'm too tired to do it at the moment. And I probably should have noted the Total Number of Medals instead of Rank, but whatever.

China 2
India 51
United States 1
Indonesia 38
Brazil 17
Nigeria 44
Russia 3
Japan 11
Mexico 51
Vietnam 69
Germany 6
Ethiopia 27
Egypt 69
Turkey 25
Iran 57
France 7
Thailand 44
England 4
Italy 9
South Korea 8
South Africa 69
Spain 14
Ukraine 10
Colombia 57
Argentina 30

(keep in mind some numbers look bad, but if they're low (like >20), then that mean's they're TIED at that rank with other countries... Hence why total num of medals would have been a better choice)

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