Counting Olympic Medals

The Olympics confuse me.

Adelina Sotnikova

Adelina Sotnikova

Is the medal count simply calculated by the sum total? This currently results in these standings: 1. Russia 2. USA 3. Norway

Or are the medals weighted at Gold (3), Silver (2), Bronze (1)? Which creates this ranking: 1.Russia 2.Norway 3. USA and Canada  (tie).

Or is it the Gold standard, focusing solely on the total of Golds (and using Silver and Bronze as tie-breakers)? 1. Russia 2. Norway 3. Canada.

_72844207_hi020961546Whatever the system, I find my Olympic excitement waning. I’m instead considering what seems to the more important question: Why does one count Olympic medals? podium jumpThis counting patriotism leaves something to be desired, constantly turning to the next event, looking for the right flag, focusing on the new countryman to give her all. France's Thomas Krief slides during men's freestyle skiing halfpipe finals at 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Rosa KhutorWhile I have certainly cheered on my country, I have only found myself invested in Canada’s games: hockey and curling.

Kaitlin Lawes

Kaitlin Lawes

The passion of these Canadians is unchecked, the intensity bordering on hate – the good kind; you will never see a more indifferent handshake at game’s end.

Marie-Philip Poulin

Marie-Philip Poulin

It’s a raw display without the niceties and platitudes. And it’s a lot better than the counting game.

The Russian Revolution after this Commercial Break

Americans have hyped the Sochi Olympics with anti-glee, reveling in every problem with tweets and drivel. AP_Twin_Toilets_bc_140202_16x9_992While they have perhaps begun to tone down their ritualistic vitriol for the opening ceremonies, they can’t let go of old prejudices.

Promised NBC commentators Lauer, Viera and Remnick,during the opening ceremonies, “The Russian revolution coming up after this commercial break…”0207-SOCHI-OPENING-CEREMONY_full_600“The revolution is probably the touchiest period in Russian history,” they continued. “The turmoil in Soviet society, without ever mentioning the word Lenin.”sochi-4rings-43e35e1df7a0a2018b984580dd41b3d4adab90f6-s6-c30“They are proud of Ladas here,” they moved on. “Unfortunately they became a punchline for the rest of the world.”AP_putin_olympics_sk_140207_16x9_608“This is Vladimir Putin’s Russia,” they concluded. “And he is insisting that we look at the political power of Russia tonight.”37713_G08_W01Look out. Here come the ballet dancers.