For the first time in two weeks I woke up to no Olympic sports on TV. It was a bit confusing really. I had grown pretty accustomed to eating breakfast while watching taekwondo, maybe some diving, and of course handball. But I’ll be ok, because now it’s only about two years until the winter Olympics in Vancouver.
With the Olympics over, the talk here in Sweden is about the failure of the Olympic team as a whole. For the first time in a long time Sweden didn’t come home with a single gold medal. In fact, they only came home with five medals total. Four silver medals and one bronze.
Depending on which medal count system you use (America tends to use the overall count, while most of the rest of the world uses gold medals) Sweden finished 41st with their five medals, or 56th with their lack of a gold medal. In fact, using the gold medal count, which they use here in Sweden, the Swedes were only able to beat out Iceland of the Nordic countries. Not really ne of their finer athletic moments. Unfortunately.
Although, for those that did win medals, that doesn’t really matter. So here are Sweden’s 2008 Olympic medalists from Beijing:
Silver - Equestrian - Individual Jumping - Rolf-Göran Bengtsson
Silver - Road Cycling - Men's Individual Time Trial - Gustav Larsson
Silver - Road Cycling - Women's Road Race - Emma Johansson
Silver - Tennis - Men's Doubles Tennis - Thomas Johansson, Simon Aspelin
Bronze - Sailing - Men's Keelboat Star - Fredrik Lööf, Anders Ekström
And of course, Ara Abrahamian who won bronze in 84kg Greco-Roman wrestling but was stripped of his medal.
All in all, not the most successful Olympic games for Sweden. Five medals for 9 million people earns one medal for every 1.8 million people which is better than America’s one medal for every 2.7 million people. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future with Swedish sports. Some people argue that there just isn’t enough money going to the Olympic programs. Other people argue there is too much and it isn’t being used properly. Others are saying that Sweden doesn’t have that killer instinct when it comes to performing under pressure. And still others wonder about the geography. In a country that is shrouded in darkness for half the year, how do athletes get in the proper amount of training to compete with other countries.
When it comes down to it though, none of those are really going to make a difference. Of course they all play a role. What we are seeing in the world of international sports is a bit of a changing of the guard. As large countries that have long been considered third-world (China for example) continue to prosper there will be fewer medals to go around to the smaller countries. Even the US is beginning to realize this as China took more gold medals this year.
So Swedes may lament the lack of medals this year. The poor performance of so many gold medal hopes. But one medal for every 1.8 million people isn’t half bad.
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