I give up. My attempts to relativize the value of the medal table collide every four years with a custom that there is no way to eradicate. I already know that it gives a lot of media play and that a classification, whatever it is, always piques curiosity and allows little games like seeing who we have in front or behind. Okay, but from there to considering it a well-founded method to check the health of the sport of a certain country goes a long way.
To begin with, I would distrust a classification that, if we believe it, tells us that Qatar or Kosovo are better than Spain or Sweden. It is also worth remembering how the medals are distributed quantitatively. In boxing, for example, there are 39 medals up for grabs, 42 in rowing, shooting awards 45, weightlifting 52, wrestling 54, cycling 66, and swimming, 111. My respects to all these sports and to all the medalists. that each metal costs a world to get it. But the balance seems somewhat unbalanced with respect to collective sports such as football, basketball, handball, water polo, volleyball or hockey, which only have six each to give. Without detracting from anyone, it does not square that, for the purposes of the happy medal table, the 100-meter backstroke scores the same as the handball competition.
Is it so difficult to weigh the specialties taking into account factors such as the modalities that each one has or the difficulty of achieving success? The gymnast Ray Zapata was left without the gold because his exercise, scored the same as that of the Israeli Dolgopiat, was considered by the judges to be less difficult than that of his rival. In other words, the degree of difficulty can be encrypted and in many places it counts. In the medal table, no.
Because it is not worth it, the medal table is not worth even as an individual comparative element of each nation. How is it going to be worth if we put everything in the same bag and we are only concerned with the final number. The equation fewer badges worse, more badges better, is as simple as it is inaccurate. And another thing more. The classification is made from the number of golds. Taking it to the extreme, a country with only one gold as baggage would be ahead of another with 73 silvers and 150 bronzes but no first place. Come on, the duster is too visible to the medal table.
I am not advocating pointing to first- or second-rate sports. But it is assumed that if we give this system so much ball and we even use it to measure our performance as a country, what less that what it tells us is a little closer to reality than what it currently does. Eternal glory to each champion, but if we want a reference classification, the time has come to change the current one for unfair and obsolete.
Postscript. Now that they are announcing a program about El Fary, his legendary and troglodytic phrase “I hate the soft man” comes to mind. I say it because I think there is more Farys out there of what I thought. They are generally very macho men who, among other things, cannot bear any sign of vulnerability, of camaraderie between rivals or of humanity. No, sport is a fight where no prisoners or friends are made, where victory, whatever it may be, is the only objective, where weakness and defeat should even be punished. And so, faced with one of the most beautiful moments of recent days, when Ana Peleteiro goes crazy with joy at the world record of her rival, they only see a softie. Really, how sad to be like this.
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