The patriot in me is very pleased that the U.S. finally pulled away from China in the race for the most medals. The underdog in me is as thrilled to see the smaller countries take home medals. Yahoo! gives the medal count totals accompanied with more info on each country if you click on the name. The size of each is what interests me. The more people in a country, the more chance the country has of producing top-notch athletes. There’s a larger pool to choose from and more competition for the honor of representing the nation. But, the olympics aren’t broken up into divisions like high school and college sports. It taints the whole process for me somewhat.
My wife is English, so we cheered for both countries as much as possible. They came in fourth in the medal count with 53. According to the Yahoo! figures, The United States has about five times more people than the Brits. If we adjust the medals for population differences by multiplying England’s medals by five, they have 215 to our 90. Against the Chinese (with 1.33 billion people), the adjusted figure for our cousins across the Atlantic would be 1,060 medals to China’s 80! What about the tiny country of Belarus which has about 10 million people? They are far down the list in the medal count, ranked 17th with 10 medals. Adjust it for population and they have 300 against the U.S. and 1,330 against China. Jamaica has nine medals but only 3 million people, so their figures would be 900 against the U.S. and 3,990 against China!
That’s why I love to see smaller countries in the finals of any competition. Generally speaking, those nations have had a bit more to overcome to get there. In addition to population there would be other factors involved in making the games fair, including economy and choice of sports based on the cultures of smaller nations (although Jamaica’s passion for running evens out the odds a bit for them). But, as we heard from our parents when we were children, life isn’t fair. But, this life isn’t forever.
I wonder if we’ll have olympics in heaven? First of all, how would God divide us into teams? Maybe the Almighty would have us all line up and count off by 12, one team for each apostle. That process could take a while, but we’d have eternity so what’s the rush? I’m curious to see if the final team is Paul or Matthias (the guy the apostles picked by lot in Acts 1). With the whole redemption thing and us being in our heavenly bodies, there would be some spectacular feats. Universal records would be broken on a regular basis. And, we wouldn’t have to worry about officials slanting their judgements for or against certain countries. In fact, we wouldn’t need officials at all. It would be a symbol of God’s love and justice reigning in a world void of evil and inequality. Sweet.
Hmmm . . . Olympics that would be fair in every way. As an American, I must admit that it would take some getting used to. As a Christ follower, I say “Bring it on!”