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The Olympics!

Discussion in 'Colosseum' started by Gnarfflinger, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    [​IMG] Athletes from around the world have come under the guise of athletics. While yes, I believe that most of them have their sights set on medals, and the nations compete for the most medals, I can't help but wonder whether the sports will deliver, or whether politics or scandal will steal the show.

    On one hand, The Czech Republic took the first Gold in a shooting event. On the other hand, a Greek sprinter has already tested positive for a banned substance. One American Swimmer has posed nude for a poster for PETA. And finally, the shadow of war in Southern Ossetia threatens to overshadow the games. Then again, Was this ever about sports or just about a coming out party for the newest superpower--China?

    Let the Games begin!
     
  2. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Here's something strange that I notice in every Olympics - Why is the U.S. great in the Summer Olympics but pretty much rubbish at the Winter Olympics, while the opposite is true of most European countries? China and Japan are also much better at the Summer Olympics than the Winter Olympics. Even if you modify medal counts to reflect population differences, there is still a very big difference between the different Olympics.

    Obviously, the popularity of sports does factor in, but it appears that most sports in the Summer Olympics, the Europeans just aren't very good at (soccer being an exception). Conversely, Americans have very low medal counts during the Winter Olympics. There is no obvious reason why. When looking at the US, Europe, China, and Japan, all are in temperate zones, that see seasonal changes in climate. It's not like skiing isn't popular in the US, Japan, or China. There's also no shortage of mountains in any of the countries to practice on. Yet, good luck seeing those nations winning any medals for skiing during the Winter Olympics. Conversely, there is no intrinsic reason why the US is so dominant in the swimming events. (And it's not just Phelps, despite the attention he gets. There are six members of the US swim team, and all of them have won at least one medal.) There's also no reason why China is so dominant in the diving events. It's not like Europeans don't have access to indoor swimming pools to train year round. What gives?
     
  3. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    One reason is that Winter sports tend to be more expensive and need more specialized facilities that may be more readily available in Europe.

    Also I wonder if we for example added up all the medals countries within the EU takes if they wouldn't come pretty close or even surpass the US and China. Keep in mind that each individual European is a lot smaller than the US and a helluva lot smaller than China.
     
  4. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    No doubt that European countries are much smaller than the US and China, but the fact remains that the smaller European countries earn many more medals in the winter olympics than in the summer. You don't really need to compare them to the US and China - you can compare them to themselves. The EU countries are much more successful in the Winter Olympics. Conversely, the US, China, Japan and really I should add in Korea in that list, are much better in the Summer Olympics compared to their performance in the Winter Olympics.

    I don't feel like adding up all the EU countries, but according to the medal count through Day 5 as shown here, The US, China, Japan, and South Korea have combined to earn 78 of the 225 medals awarded thus far. In other words, out of over 200 nations present, 4 have combined to claim over 1/3 of all the medals. Germany and Italy are the only EU nations to have won more medals than Phelps has won by himself.
     
  5. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    AFI: I could ask the opposite Question. Why has Canada earned no medals yet, but they are near the front of the pack at the Winter olympics. They believe they have a real chance to top the podium at Whistler in 2010...
     
  6. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Also, Phelps is a monster! A complete monster! He must be some kind of robot from the future.
     
  7. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    Actually there are some anomallies that allow him to function as he does. His arms are much longer than they would be on a normal man of his height, he is double jointed in his elboes, knees and ankles, giving him greater mobility, and he works out a lot. Also they explained why it was a fast pool in Beijing.
     
  8. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    They want to get that Phelps tested ASAP...
     
  9. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    The question is which european country. Many have snow/ice for a large part of the year whit the mountains that go whit it. Some have not. I am dutch, and we can perform in only one thing in the winter olympics and that is speed skating. Why? Hardly any snow or ice. Much of our land lies beneath sea level.

    If you divide the medals whit population, you will be surprised.
     
  10. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    No I won't, because I'm not making a comparison of medals won relative to the population. All I'm saying is if you add up all the medals European nations win during the Summer Olympics, and compare that to the number of medals European nations win during the Winter Olympics, you'll see that European nations as a whole win many more medals during the Winter Olympics. Unless you are suggesting that the population in Europe is significantly higher in the winter compared to the summer, population cannot account for this difference. I'm saying that Europeans are better at the games played in the Winter Olympics.

    Same goes for the US but in reverse. Americans win more medals in the Summer Olympics than the Winter Olympics. Therefore, regardless of the population it is fair to say that Americans are better at the sports played during the Summer Olympics.

    It is not an opinion, but a fact that Europeans win more often in the Winter Olympics and Americans (and Chinese) win more during the Summer Olympics. What is a matter of opinion, is WHY this is the case.
     
  11. Morgoroth

    Morgoroth Just because I happen to have tentacles, it doesn'

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    Well most winter sports were actually invented on this continent and required very special enviorment. You can't ski jump in most of the world really. Then there's also the cultural reasons. Nordic skiing, nordic combined, skijumping etc have allways been big in Finland and Norway. They are also very marginal sports elsewhere. There are tons of marginal sports in the winter olympics and they are monopolized by a very small number of often European countries. You'll have a hard time finding non-european (I'm including Russian champions now though) champions in Biathlon, Ski Jumping(there are some Japanese but not much else), Nordic Skiing or Nordic Combined. Then we add the fact that there are a bunch of different distances in each cathegory and we'll get a big bunch of shiny medals.
     
  12. Blog Gems: 23/31
    Latest gem: Black Opal


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    Once again, there is controversy over the judging system, this time being bias in favour of China. The hottest story seems to be the US women's gymnastics team lost the gold medal to the Chinese. For Canada, a tae kwon do medal-hopeful dominated a match but was given a loss, because her opponent in the next round was Chinese. I didn't watch either event so I can't really comment... but I did watch the women's tennis match between a Russian and a Chinese and the linesmen (who were Chinese) were miscalling the match. Fortunately in tennis, the players are allowed to protest calls, which are then resolved by the overhead hawk-eye instant-replay system. Time and time again, the Russian would challenge the officiating and win. Some close calls were understandable to make a mistake on, but others just make you wonder what the linesman was looking at. The Russian was visibily frustrated with the calls, but at least there is video replay to support her and she rightly won the match. Unfortunately this isn't available to all judged events, so we just have to rely on the credibility and integrity of the Olympic Committee and their judges...
     
  13. Cal Jones

    Cal Jones I'm not dead yet

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    I thoroughly enjoyed the showjumping segment of the modern pentathlon today. I don't know if the Chinese went and rounded up the most disobedient horses possible for the poor competitors, just for a laugh, like, but it certainly seemed that way.
    Have a good giggle and a wince:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics/modern_pentathlon/7574994.stm
     
  14. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    True.

    But just under 16 million people in the Netherlands and we are 10th in the medallion stand today. 6 gold 5 silver 4 bronze. Not bad.

    How high is the population of the USA? How high is the population of China, Russia.
     
  15. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    The top 10:

    1. Slovenia (5) - one per 401,542 Slovenians
    2. New Zealand (8) - 521,862
    3. Jamaica (5) - 560,866
    4. Australia (35) - 588,595
    5. Armenia (5) - 593,717
    6. Estonia (2) - 653,802
    7. Bahrain (1) - 718,306
    8. Belarus (11) - 880,542
    9. Denmark (6) - 914,120
    10. Norway (5) - 928,891

    :p
     
  16. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    My point exactly. The so called big nations are not that big.

    However, if nation like Andorra, San Marino, Lichtenstein get one or two....
     
  17. martaug Gems: 23/31
    Latest gem: Black Opal


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    Well as of aug 20th, the EU nations have won a total of 213 medals. The top 3 medal winners: US(95) + China(83) + Russia(51) = have won 229

    As far as per population
    1) Netherland Antilles(1)
    225,369 total pop.

    2) Jamaica(9)
    311,593/medal

    Also only 71 of the 204 countries competing have won medals(less than 35%)
     
  18. Déise

    Déise Both happy and miserable, without the happy part!

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    There is a significant genetic compenent which determine a person's potential for an event. These are heavily dependent on race, although obviously you will get the odd mutation. Runners success depends a lot on having a lot of quick/slow twitching muscles depending on the distance. Interestingly it's not a generic case of blacks being better at running than other races. The subset of blacks that are good at sprinting is almost the complete opposite to the type that makes another black subset good at long distance. It's just chance that both sets happen to be black. Races will obviously tend to group together in countries, with some countries having significant minorities also such as America. It follows that certain sports will be dominated by certain races and thus nationalities.

    A nation's general interest in a sport is another massive factor, especially for those sports that are not universal such as track and field. I think you're ignoring that most of the sports in the Winter Olympics are far from globally popular and some are quite niche. The level of interest in these happens to far higher in some European countries (those with lots of snow and mountains) than anywhere else in the world. I'm not saying that nobody anywhere else skiis but it's nowhere near as universal as in the Alpine/Scandanavian countries.
     
  19. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    Good point. I remember watching the Chinese in the women's diving and realizing that they don't make as big a splash as others because they are so small, thus hiding some imperfections in execution. Now if Diving Judges were given replay equipment like Gymnastics judges get, then we might see the Chinese come down a peg...
     
  20. Baronius

    Baronius Mental harmony dispels the darkness ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Actually, population is one of the factors that matter, but not exclusively. Some factors:
    1.
    2. Population
    3. Possibilities to discover (and support, improve) talents

    USA has a good combination of all three. The first one is obvious. The second one too -- the higher the population, the greater the probability of talents, provided sport is correctly supported by the country (possibilities). For example, swimming is a good example. It is usually one of those where Hungary has good chances (and indeed, Laci Cseh got the silver medal in three of Phelps' events, leaving the bronze for Lochte in two of the events). And how many swimming pools do we have? Not particularly many. In the USA, there are a few hundred times more swimming pools than in Hungary, this characterizes the possibilities pretty well. (And, of course, much more money to support sports, but that's another matter.) Note that I have no doubts about the amazing talent of Phelps, this was a general example that the more possibilities and support, the more successful talents.

    Very true. Such events can be found in the Summer Olympics as well. For example, kayak-canoe is one of them. I've been watching several events of it today (finals), and Europeans were dominating in the first places, with very few exceptions. That sport has traditions here (including Hungary -- e.g. even the devices that check whether the start has been regular are supplied by a Hungarian company for the Olympics) .


    Though it's slightly off-subject, I would also like to note something important that I haven't seen mentioned yet. It's about the increased number of countries, and thus severely increasing challenge in several events. For example, think of the former USSR. Its end resulted in several (10+, I haven't checked it) new countries in the Olympics. I'm not an expert in this, but as far as I know, a country can nominate/send 3 people per event, or something similar. Imagine what happens if 10+ new countries (with good sportsmen who represented the same country earlier) appear and qualify themselves in several events. Since I typically follow it and thus know about it a bit, I can also mention water polo. If someone follows it, he or she knows that Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia are known names there (beside others, of course). Less than two decades ago, there was no Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia in the Olympics: it was called Yugoslavia. (It might be interesting to note that the game between USA and Serbia is going on in the present minutes, while an hour ago Hungary won the semifinal against Montenegro. I wonder who we will have to face in the final.)
     
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