Listening to some podcast or other this afternoon, I had a brilliant idea. The speaker was complaining about how, in the Olympics, if you are a volleyball player, or a basketball player, you only have the chance to win one medal, whereas Michael Phelps can have the opportunity to win 8. It is certainly true that the number of competitors who could even think about competing for 8 gold medals in a single Olympics is extremely limited. Swimmers, gymnasts (although that would require sweeping both the team all-around and the personal all-around and all 6 individual events, pretty unlikely to my mind,) a runner so dominant he or she could compete in the 100, 200, 400, 110 hurdles, 400 hurdles, the 4×100 relay, the 4×400 relay, and the long jump? Pretty damn unlikely. So, pretty much, swimmers.
Anyhow, my brilliant idea is that, with the goal of vastly improving the US’s gold medal count, that when a team wins a gold medal, that should count not just as a single medal, but as one for each member of the team who got one. The idea is that, while a singular talent can obviously win a solo event gold, you must have a strong team, 12 people deep, to win the gold in basketball, which is more difficult, and so you should get credit for that accomplishment.
Maybe, to be reasonable, you should only get credit for the number of people on the floor/court for the event, so five for basketball, six for indoor volleyball, two for beach volleyball and team badminton, etc. I think this would be much more interesting. It’s obviously much easier to rack up lots of golds in individual events than in team events, so team events should be worth extra credit.
I’m far too lazy and tired to actually do this for the ’08 games, but I’m willing to go ahead and say, on the basis of no evidence, that if I rig the count correctly, the US will clearly win.
USA! USA! USA!