China and America – what cost Olympic gold medals?

Posted by irresponsibility

Gold is not the real measure of a nation,’ is a trenchantly argued piece in the Guardian about the real cost of Olympic medal counts.

“Some argue that the gold tally is evidence of an improved investment in sport, healthcare and social security, but this is an outrageous claim. More accurate indicators [are]… the low levels of health insurance coverage. Or consider why the quality of school dinners is declining, even as more and more golf courses are opened,” columnist Ai Weiwei writes, puncturing the myth that somehow the achievements of a few elite athletes reflects on the well-being of a nation.

Further, he rightly addresses the issue of class, which has to be considered when the fattest nation can (by their count) top the medal table. “In a country that has only a rudimentary healthcare and social security system, the amazing gold haul shows how individuals are sacrificed for the nationalist priorities that shape the sports system. It is a manifestation of the huge gap between rich and poor, success and failure…. Every gold comes at a cost… the price is the health and welfare of the broader population,” (italics mine).

Without decrying the achievements of individuals he also points out, quite accurately, that “the more [the Olympics] becomes a contest of state pride, the more it moves towards racism and nationalism.”

It’s a near-perfect explication of the hidden costs of America’s Olympic gold-lust. Only he’s writing about China. Gosh. What was that Jesus said? Oh yes: “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”


One thought on “China and America – what cost Olympic gold medals?

  1. wow man, i ask that all the time. what would jesus say? when that dude came in first but didn’t look like it in the pool. i think jesus would have said, “cool.” i don’t think he would have gotten mad.

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