August 22, 2008

China Projected to be Tops in Gold

According to the NY Times, China is expected to top the gold medal count by the time the Olympics close on Sunday. According to the article,
The Chinese have reasserted their dominance in traditional strengths, sweeping
the first seven diving events, winning eight of the nine gold medals available
to them in weight
lifting
and winning three of the four badminton
titles. Above all, they collected a record-tying nine gold medals in gymnastics:
seven from their men’s team and two from their women’s team, a total that could
be revised downward if it is proved that the women’s team included underage
gymnasts.
They've also broken into new sports:
...they have broken ground by winning Olympic gold medals for the first time in archery, rowing, sailing
and trampoline, a subset of gymnastics. China also won its first Olympic medals
in beach volleyball and field
hockey
, with its women’s team taking the silver after losing to the
Netherlands in Friday night’s hockey final. “There are always surprises, but I
think people have stepped up, and they have tracked better than we thought,”
Roush said.
This, of course, is a breakthrough for China in terms of nationalism, but it's a breakthrough as well for Asian Americans in terms of racial issues. The stereotypes of Chinese, and more specifically Asians, is one of athletic incompetence, and this performance helps contradict stereotypes. It would be nice to see some great performances in speed and explosive sports, such as sprinting and basketball, but this is definitely a start. And even though Liu Xiang has been sidelined, his status and respect as one of the world's best hurdlers is unassailable.
Globalism will eventually be a great thing. I've noticed some animosity between mainland Chinese and their American born cousins, but with advances in achievement and culture, I strongly believe that we can bridge that ocean. The most important thing, as reflected in the name of my group Thymos, is recognition. We need to make noise and be heard, whether it's with our voices, our athletic performance, or any other kind of loud and audacious achievement.

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