Tag Archives: Gold Medals

Chasing Gold

Following the gold medal table at the Beijing Games is rather like watching a middle distance race in which the front runner has taken a big early lead, but in which his main rival is now chasing him down. Can he hold on for victory? Or will he be pipped at the tape?

China’s lead in the gold medal tally is substantial, but that is because, swimming apart, the early schedule favored its better sports. But the United States is starting to cut back the lead now the track and field events, or the athletics, depending on whose English you speak, are underway.

The prize, of course, is more than mere sporting bragging rights, but we don’t need to rehearse the geopolitical rivalry discussions here.

Those who follow such things tell this Bystander that the U.S. is likely to end up with 45-47 golds and China with 44-46 come Sunday’s final event (boxing). That’s a photo finish in prospect. Liu Xiang’s hamstring, the U.S. 4x100m relay team’s butterfingers or some other disaster or triumph yet to come could be the difference.

Could it even be a dead heat?

Update: Final tally: China 51 golds; U.S. 36. So much for the form experts. Remind me never to back their racing tips.

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China’s Olympic Medals Ambitions

China hopes to top the 32 gold medals it won at the the Athens Olympics four years ago.

That, at least, is its public position. Sports ministry spokesman Zhang Haifeng says: “We do have a target, that is to rank among the top nations in the medals table…We managed that by winning 32 gold medals in Athens and we hope to do better in Beijing.”

Unofficial translation: the goal is to win more medals than the U.S., or any other nation come to that. The full weight of the system had been thrown behind that ambition despite pubic denials.

Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University predict China will win 46 gold medals in Beijing to top the table.

BBC has a telling trend chart:

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Filed under Beijing Olympics, China-U.S.