As of this morning, here is the Olympic medal count from Yahoo! Sports. I have no idea if they are correct or not but I assume they are.
The numbers look awesome for the US. But if you look under the hood, the numbers aren't as awesome. 31% of our medals are gold medals while a whopping 57% of China's medals are gold medals.
Michael Phelps accounts for 42% of the US' gold medals. If he weren't at the games, only 20 percent of our medals would be gold and we'd be tied with China for the overall count.
Listen, I'm not bashing the US. It's amazing that these people can swim, run, jump, play ping pong and badminton like they can. It just struck me as another exercise in mediocrity for the US. In the 5 summer Olympics from 1984-2000, Americans won more gold medals than other colors. That streak was broken in 2004 and it looks like 2008 is tracking the same.
So my question is: When did second and third place become acceptable and can we make any correlations between our Olympic drive and our economy and president since 2000?
Here are the actual stats. They're meaningless but interesting nonetheless.
UPDATE: Here are the latest numbers. The overall sentiment above does not change as of Aug. 23. The Chinese have 50%+ gold medals versus our 31%!