August 29, 2008
Everybody had expected the Chinese to be the most successful in collecting golden, silver and bronze and medals. In fact, they were: winning 100 medals altogether. But in relation to their population of 1.3 billion and their an unprecedented national focus on being number One, their success pales compared to the remarkable achievements of European athletes. Jointly, EU athletes obtained as many medals – 280! – as the US, Chinese and Russian teams combined.
Europe continues to be at the top of world sports, from soccer to tennis and even in a few disciplines of athletics and swimming. Europe has demonstrated that it is after all as much the individual dedication and endurance, rather than as Chinese- or Russian style of, sometimes, inhumane “collective discipline” and brute force that makes the success of the Olympic Games in sports.
Small countries have have been performed remarkably wellgenerally more successful than the big ones. Indeed, athletes from 24 all EU member states states except tiny Cyprus, Luxemburg and Malta have won medals; relatively to their respective populations the smaller ones have been more successful, from Slovenia to Denmark or Slovakia.. Only Malta, Cyprus and Luxemburg were too small to produce Olympic winners.
What lessons from Beijing this statistical survey?
- First, EU citizens should not forget that we become more aware of their dual citizenship: we all have the they are both nationalityls of our their home country, Belgium or Sweden and the EU. We They should therefore not only share the joy of our compatriots any EU athlete winning a competition but also that of any EU athlete.
- Second, sports are not part of the EU competences, and it should not. But this should not prevent EU national our national teams from of developing closer particular close links in the future.
- Third, at the opening of the London 2012 Gameswhat EU national teams is wrong if in London 2012, the teams of the 28 member countries, including Croatia, were toshould enter the stadium as part of a single “EU – column group”? to underline that EU member countries have particularly close links among themselves.
- Fourth, what prevents EU the national Olympic Committees should of EU countries from liaising moree more closely to defend their common interests against powerful US, Chinese or Russian Committees?