Medal stories

Over the years,the Olympics order has become a vital tool for trend-spotters

Written by The Indian Express | Published:August 9, 2012 3:42 am

Londoners can’t stop smiling. The sun has been a regular at most Games venues,Team GB has recorded a PB,and equally delightful for the locals has been their famous foe Australia’s unexpected slump. On the day Great Britain touched its all-time personal best with 22 golds,the world-renowned sporting country down under was on a dismal 5,and not in the top 10. Though cricket has temporarily made way for archery at Lord’s these days,the “Bigger Ashes” is proving to be a one-sided contest. And with just four days to go for the closing ceremony,the lead seems insurmountable.

These intriguing mini-battles stay hidden from view for those who treat the medals tally as a simple scale,brought out every four years,to measure the sporting highs of nations. Over time,the Olympics order has become a barometer of social,political change around the world and a vital tool for trend-spotters.

At about the half-way mark,giving Australia company,is another surprising straggler — Russia. The fall of the traditional Olympics superpower signifies a major shift. Since the Soviet Union’s debut at the Games in 1952,Russia has always been in the top three. London 2012 might see it pushed off the high pedestal. The shake-up has put sporting giant US in a new environment. They no longer need to look over their shoulder to check the charge of their rivals from the Cold War,although keeping pace with the Chinese is becoming a familiar imperative. America’s decline in boxing and Jamaica’s rise in athletics mean China’s position at the top isn’t threatened. Cuba’s decline as a sporting power and Iran’s best-ever Olympic show this time frame a multitude of fascinating stories of grief and joy. Undoubtedly,the medals tally isn’t about numbers alone.

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