Olympics 2014: Norway Big Winner at Sochi

I don’t know about you, but I find it curious how the news agencies always focus on the total medal counts at the Olympic Games, and Sochi is no different.

sochi-olympicsRussia and the U.S., as expected, won the most medals, but [yawn] so what? These are two of the most populous countries on the planet. Of course they win most of the medals. Does that mean that somehow their citizens are better people than those in the rest of the countries?

Instead, let’s put things in perspective. Let’s look at the medal counts based on population, on a per capita basis.

Of the 26 countries that won medals, Norway, like its Strawberry Girls, finishes so far ahead the rest of the field hasn’t entered the stadium—a country with a total population less than that of New York City. Russia barely makes the top 15, while the U.S. can’t even crack the top 20. And the most populous nation on Earth? Dead last. That’s right, China is so far back that we should invoke the mercy rule.

The only surprises for me are The Netherlands and Canada. I thought they would have finished higher on the per capita basis. (I underestimated their populations.) But tiny Slovenia comes in second, followed by Austria, Latvia and Sweden. The Dutch and Canucks end up 6th and 10th, respectively, with Switzerland, Finland and the Czech Republic sandwiched in between.

Heaven help the rest of the world if the Norwegians get serious about speed skating. Or Lillehammer becomes a refuge for disenfranchised athletes from other countries. (Seven of Russia’s medals were won by expats: Korean short-track skater Victor An, three golds and a bronze; American snowboarder Vic Wild, two golds; and Ukrainian short-track skater Vladimir Grigorev, one silver.)

But don’t get me wrong. I applaud all of the individual athletes, regardless of their country of origin. Just getting to the Olympics is a remarkable achievement in itself. Winning a medal deserves high praise for the hard work and dedication required. I would like to see the emphasis on that and less focus on the medal totals—unless those totals are put in perspective.

Here’s how the Sochi medal winners rank on a per capita basis:

sochi-olympics-medal-ranking-per-capita

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About Polishing Your Prose

Larry M Edwards is an award-winning investigative journalist, author, editor and publishing consultant. He is the author of three books, and has edited dozens of nonfiction and fiction book manuscripts. Under Wigeon Publishing, he has produced six books. As author, "Dare I Call It Murder? A Memoir of Violent Loss" won First Place in the San Diego Book Awards in 2012 (unpublished memoir) and 2014, Best Published Memoir. The book has also been nominated for a number of awards, including: Pulitzer Prize, Benjamin Franklin Award, Washington State Book Award, and One Book, One San Diego. As Editor, "Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources" won the Gold Award in the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Book Awards, Self-Help. For a sample edit and cost estimate, contact Larry: larry [at] larryedwards [dot] com -- www.larryedwards.com -- www.dareicallitmurder.com -- www.wigeonpublishing.com
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One Response to Olympics 2014: Norway Big Winner at Sochi

  1. susanpjames says:

    Thanks for putting this in perspective. My feelings exactly.

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