Medals!

At the start of the Olympics, it looked like the UK wasn’t going to do very well, medals-wise. I find it annoying that the UK media obsesses about how many medals we’re winning, but I’ve found that I do it too. It’s especially annoying because of the impression given that people “ought” to get gold medals if they got gold medals in the last Olympics, even though that was 4 years ago and it’s a totally different situation now – because it’s so long ago, and so many things have happened in between, it doesn’t seem realistic to assume that you can build on previous success. And luck plays an enormous part.

So well done to Rebecca Adlington, who got an amazing pair of bronze medals (two of the few that we’ve won in swimming, the British swimming team are below the UK Sports estimates), in a field that was so ridiculously dominated by the Americans, including 15-year olds whose success couldn’t have been predicted before the games because at the last games, they were only 11.

And well done for all the rowers who got bronze and silver, and well done to the equestrians who got silver in the eventing, despite a few collisions with fences.

I can understand why the medals table is ranked according to number of golds, then number of silvers etc. It is the most obvious ranking. But it seems a bit unfair that Australia, who have produced competitors in so many different sports, and who have got such a large number of medals overall, should be so many places below e.g. North Korea, or Kazakhstan. Maybe there should be an extra little component of the overall medal tally that counts the total number of medals, and includes that in the score for a country. I don’t know. But then, that would penalise small countries who can’t afford to send more than a few competitors to the games, when those competitors might happen to be very successful in their specialities.

Anyway, we’ll keep following the games very closely – Giles has been checking the results on his smartphone as soon as he wakes up every morning – and I’m especially interested in the results of the Finn sailing tonight, because Ben Ainslie is currently in a very tight race for gold, and if he gets it he will be counted as the greatest Olympic sailor ever (4 golds, 1 silver). That sounds like not much besides Michael Phelps’s 18 golds, but then there just aren’t as many sailing events, and you can’t race in all of them.

And good luck to Murray, who I really hope finally defeats Federer in a major tournament. It would be amazing for him if he does. Fingers crossed!

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