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Author Topic:   2012 Olympics
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2810 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


(1)
Message 37 of 181 (669487)
07-30-2012 12:46 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by caffeine
07-30-2012 8:25 AM


During the Olympics, I usually feel like the coverage here is overly saturated in American pride and patriotism. It bothers me that the general American public has pretty much no interest in most of the events and doesn't even know how many of them are played or scored, but still has a profound interest in the USA winning lots of medals.
We like to boast a lot about our successes in the Olympics, but, since we don't even acknowledge the existence of these events outside of the Olympics, it comes off as trying to take collective credit for what a very tiny special-interest group in our society accomplished pretty much without our support.
It's far more impressive, in my mind, that countries like Latvia or Botswana can even scrounge up a couple of athletes from their tiny populations to compete on a world stage. I'm particularly impressed by the African nations, who usually have neither the populations, the national solidarity nor the infrastructure to consistently produce good athletes.
I'm much more interested in seeing those athletes succeed than in seeing another American take another medal.

-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by caffeine, posted 07-30-2012 8:25 AM caffeine has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by caffeine, posted 08-02-2012 3:50 AM Blue Jay has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2810 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


(2)
Message 91 of 181 (670184)
08-09-2012 10:05 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by caffeine
08-02-2012 3:50 AM


Botswana
Hi, Caffeine.
caffeine writes:
ABE: I think everyone should choose a small country to cheer for in the Olympics, even if you're from somewhere huge. It's always nice to support a team that's only gonna get a few medals - they all seem that much more special.
I have been following Botswana this year (I like their flag). They have never won a medal at the Olympics. They sent four athletes, one of whom (Amantle Montsho) is the reigning world champion in the women's 400 meters. Montsho missed a medal by 0.03 seconds. Two others (a boxer and a 400-m runner) were unable to get out of the early rounds in their events.
But today, Botswanan runner Nijel Amos took silver in the men's 800 meters, less than a second behind the new world-record time set by David Rudisha, the Maasai tribesman from Kenya (the first Maasai to medal, by the way). Amos is only 18, and he just put up the third fastest time in world history.
Yay, Botswana!

-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by caffeine, posted 08-02-2012 3:50 AM caffeine has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 92 by Artemis Entreri, posted 08-10-2012 11:32 AM Blue Jay has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2810 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


(1)
Message 118 of 181 (670511)
08-15-2012 11:22 PM
Reply to: Message 111 by bluegenes
08-15-2012 9:39 AM


Re: Is the U.S.A. a top sporting culture?
Hi, Bluegenes.
bluegenes writes:
Is it a disadvantage participating as a larger unit?
In some ways, yes. Most events restrict the number of entrants from a single country. And, in many cases, the USA would have had no problem qualifying more athletes than they were allowed to enter.
For example, at the US Olympic Trials, 6 men met Olympic "A" Standard in the 100 meters, and 8 met Olympic "A" Standard in 200 meters (link). And, by FIVB rankings, the USA would have qualified 3 teams for women's beach volleyball, and 3 for men's (link, click on "Rankings").
Whether or not this would have translated into more medals for the USA is obviously uncertain, but the possibility exists.
Edited by Blue Jay, : "url" tags

-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 111 by bluegenes, posted 08-15-2012 9:39 AM bluegenes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 130 by bluegenes, posted 08-16-2012 10:21 AM Blue Jay has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2810 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 133 of 181 (670574)
08-16-2012 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 130 by bluegenes
08-16-2012 10:21 AM


Re: Is the U.S.A. a top sporting culture?
Hi, Bluegenes.
bluegenes writes:
Still, I agree with your point, and limited entry could cost you the occasional bronze.
I think it would be more than just an occasional bronze, but I agree that it probably wouldn't have brought us up to the level we should have reached under the weighted standards you were talking about.
-----
Also, I've never quite understood the inclusiveness people use when talking about the Olympics. Americans are always so proud when we win a lot of medals. But, I didn't win any medals, and I'm pretty sure that nothing I did made any difference at all in the final medal count at the Olympics.
Even if I were part of a great sporting culture, I didn't have a hand in making it so great, so I have a hard time feeling any pride about what my countrymen do in the Olympics. I'm happy for them, sure: but pride feels like taking credit for what other people did, just because my house is somewhat near theirs geographically.
Well, I guess I did run 2 miles today in 17:22, which is close to a personal best. That's only a little more than twice the world-record time. How that contributes to America's medal haul at the Olympics, I don't know: but I'll come up with something, I'm sure.

-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 130 by bluegenes, posted 08-16-2012 10:21 AM bluegenes has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 141 by NoNukes, posted 08-16-2012 2:54 PM Blue Jay has seen this message but not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2810 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 148 of 181 (670663)
08-16-2012 10:30 PM
Reply to: Message 134 by Straggler
08-16-2012 11:56 AM


Re: Is the U.S.A. a top sporting culture?
Hi, Straggler.
So, just to be clear, I don't believe relaxing entry restrictions would make the US suddenly dominate all the sports. I also think the entry restrictions are a good thing, because it gives smaller countries a better chance to compete, and broad participation, in my mind, is the most important part of the Olympics.
But just for the sake of friendly debate, I want to respond to you.
Straggler writes:
The US came 5th in Olympic wrestling. The very best US wrestlers weren’t as good as those from other countries so the claim that the second tier US wrestlers would have mopped up the remaining medal positions away from other countries seems a bit optimistic to me.
As a counterexample, the US women placed 3rd, 4th and 5th in qualifying for the individual all-around in gymnastics, but only two were allowed to compete. So, the 23rd and 24th best women got to compete, but the 4th best (who had a real shot at a medal) didn't.
In beach volleyball, USA had 3 men's teams in qualifying position, but only two were allowed to compete. Both won their groups, but were upset early in the tournament. Without the entry restrictions, the Italian team that beat Dallhauser and Rogers wouldn't have qualified, and it's a whole different tournament with three US teams that all have a reasonable chance of medaling.
These are the kind of situations I'm talking about. I'm sure there are more situations in which entry restrictions wouldn't have made a difference for the USA's medal count, but, even so, there are situations in which legitimate contenders are restricted from competing, and this tends to effect larger countries more than smaller ones.
Straggler writes:
And basketball I will give the hypothetical extended US team all three medal positions in.
Yes, I believe the United States very likely could have swept the basketball medals if they had been allowed to make three teams. But, the fact that the final was so close probably means that the gap is closing.
But, I think it makes perfect sense in team sports to restrict a country to one team.

-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 134 by Straggler, posted 08-16-2012 11:56 AM Straggler has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 156 by bluegenes, posted 08-17-2012 9:31 AM Blue Jay has replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2810 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 158 of 181 (670702)
08-17-2012 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 156 by bluegenes
08-17-2012 9:31 AM


Re: Is the U.S.A. a top sporting culture?
Hi, Bluegenes.
bluegenes writes:
So, I'm happy to up my estimate from one to 2 to 4 medals per. games.
Yeah, I think that's probably about right.
Although, if, instead of weighting by population or GDP, you weighted by average health and fitness of the country's population, I bet you would find that the USA performs very high for its level of obesity and heart disease.

-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 156 by bluegenes, posted 08-17-2012 9:31 AM bluegenes has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 160 by Straggler, posted 08-17-2012 1:04 PM Blue Jay has not replied

  
Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 2810 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 161 of 181 (670716)
08-17-2012 2:04 PM
Reply to: Message 159 by Straggler
08-17-2012 12:52 PM


Re: Removing restrictions
Hi, Straggler.
Straggler writes:
And my point is that the number of entrants is almost entirely irrelevant compared to the quality of entrants.
I think the point is about the number of quality entrants, not about simple numbers. And, in some cases, it is demonstrably the case that entry restrictions prevented high-quality athletes from competing when they had a very good shot at a medal (Jordyn Wieber is the best example, in my mind).
It certainly isn't the reason why the USA is under-performing on Bluegenes' per-capita standards, but it is a good theoretical challenge to the appropriateness of the strictly per-capita standards. If someone were interested in crunching numbers to determine which country has the best sporting culture using medal counts as the standard of measure, they'd need to apply a correction for entry restrictions. And, the correction would tend to work in the favor of large countries with large talent pools, and work against small countries with small talent pools.
But, if we wanted a real measure of sporting success, some measure incorporating individual rankings would probably be more accurate than medal counts. And, in this case, entry restrictions would have larger effects on the comparison between countries.

-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)
Darwin loves you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 159 by Straggler, posted 08-17-2012 12:52 PM Straggler has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 162 by Straggler, posted 08-20-2012 8:51 AM Blue Jay has seen this message but not replied

  
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