Monday, February 10, 2014

The Olympic Medal Count - Why Keep Track?

A writer writes!

The Olympics in Sochi continue today.  For years I have wondered why is it so important to keep track of the number of medals a country wins during the competition?  Yes, every athlete in the competitions is attempting to win a medal as they display their athletic skills.  But, is the purpose of the Olympics to win as many medals as possible?  I don't think so.  If you ask each athlete what is their primary goal, few would say, "to help my country win the medal count."

Regardless, on newscasts across the United States inevitably a graphic is shown depicting what country is "winning" the medal count.  The Olympics are a competition featuring the world's best athletes in individual or team events.  For the human consumption and need for competition athletes wear costumes/uniforms depicting their allegiance to the country where they are a legal citizen. This does bring about some nationalistic pride in an athlete representing their country in an event.

But, does it really matter if the United States wins 30 gold medals and Russia 35?  Is the medal count a measurement stick on the success of a nation's Olympic athletic program?  I long for the day when medal count graphics are no longer shown.  Instead I long to see the focus on the effort expended by the athletes during the competition.  Celebrate the excellence of the art, not the number of medals that a "country" wins.

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