Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Gold Rush and The Medal Drought

The Olympics fever is inconcealable.

I do not follow the events closely but would peek into some headlines that occasionally arouse my curiosity. It would be impossible not to get infected by the feverish people around who would constantly remind me of how excited they are about their favourite events. Thanks to Michael Phelps, Swimming was the pet event for many... until the Singapore Women Table Tennis team got past the semi-final.

Finally, many said, Singapore is breaking the long drought of Olympics medal since 1960, almost half a century ago. Wow! That's a long time. The sole medal winner Tan Howe Liang is clearly relieved when he said "Now reporters won't come and ask me the same questions every four years."

At 6.10pm yesterday, the Singapore paddlers fought tooth and nail and defeated the South Korean team. The matches were most thrilling and almost chilling. Under the Singapore National Olympic Council's Multi-Million Dollar Award Programme, the team will receive a bonus of $750,000 for silver and $1,500,000 for gold. Many expressed how envious they feel about the $750,000 that the team is about to receive as if they have already won the silver medal. There is no sign of regret or disappointment that Singapore will at most going to get a silver. It is either a case of contentment or being realistic as the next opponent from China is simply too formidable. The sentiment is that this silver medal is going to mean more to us than the gold medal to China.

While the USA and China is playing the 'Gold Rush" game in this Olympics (and I believe in the next few Olympics as well), Singapore is vying for a medal... any medal. I concede that it is not easy to hunt for Olympics grade talents in a tiny nation with 4.6 million people. So, let's look at things proportionately.

In the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, the USA bagged 102 medals. If I were to consider its 301 million population, it works out to be 0.3 medal per million population. Assuming we have our fair share of talent distribution, Singapore should get at least one medal with its 4.6 million people.

You may argue that my mathematical assumption is far too simplistic. I say, you are being too lenient and complacent.

So, Singapore... go for more medals for 'one' is only the baseline!


Other Olympics Stories:

From The Ancient Greece To The Middle Kingdom


The Human Sailfish

Will You Eat That Humble Pie?

The Human Race To Infinity

We Have A Date in 2012

The Real Fighters In Sports

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