Olympic spend

Does this table look familiar?

USA
China
Japan
Germany
France
Brazil
UK
Italy
Russia
India
Canada
Spain
Australia
Mexico
South Korea
Indonesia
Netherlands
Turkey
Switzerland
Saudi Arabia 

Yes, that’s right, it a list of countries by GDP. And it’s very similar to the Olympics medal table, ordered by number of medals (which is a better indication of Olympic prowess than just using golds, given the fine margins between winning and coming second. Sorry, team GB, fourth it is):

USA
China
Russia
UK
Germany
Japan
Australia
France
South Korea
Italy
Holland
Ukraine
Canada
Hungary
Spain
Brazil
Cuba
Kazakhstan
New Zealand
Belarus

So winning Olympic medals is really all about money. In effect, countries deploy their resources to buy medals. That said, there are some notable anomalies in the table. Some countries overperform because they spend disproportionately on Olympic sports. The ex-communist countries and Australia stick out (despite the latter being widely reported as having had a bad games!).

Others, such as Brazil and India (37th in the medals table with just 2 silvers and 4 bronzes!) underperform, perhaps because these countries focus on sports that yield few or no medals (football, cricket).

Or perhaps because they’re just a bit more sensible when it comes to the Olympics.

For of course all this money being spent in the pursuit of Olympic medals is forcibly taken from the taxpayer. Few of the Olympic sports attract sufficient public interest to be self-financing. In other words the government takes from the poor to pay middle class athletes to win medals in sports that nobody normally watches.

So when you hear all those politicians and ex-Olympians jumping on the bandwagon saying ‘legacy-blah-blah-keep-investing-learn-from-Australia…’ say “Woah! Stop! Where does the money come from? Why? Why Australia? Why not India? If you wanna watch hop, skip and jump, pay for it yourself!”

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Global, Life, UK and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Olympic spend

  1. nikolai says:

    Sport expenditure is a better reason for taxing us than a having more than half the population on the payroll. Lets cut the non jobs and get more medals.

  2. Daniel Harris says:

    You make a very good point and I would also add that a number of our Olympians, especially in the less well known events, are servicemen and women in our armed forces who get time off from their actual duties to train.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s