24 July, 2021

Jump? How High?

Let’s face it, for our sports ethos, we did great at the Olympics

Illustration by Sorit
Jump? How High?

Now that the Olympics are done and dusted, and we’re done lamenting our performance, here’s a contrary opinion: India did well. Sure, six medals, none gold, is a letdown after the pre-event hype. Yes, the US and China led the contest with umpteen gold medals together. And yes, Jamaica won as many medals in two minutes, over three events, than India in two weeks. True too, that on a per capita GDP basis, few nations can match North Korea. Pick your criteria, and India produced a modest tally.

But the final Olympic results hide as much as they reveal. Let’s tackle a few myths. First, the Olympics are not the ultimate arbiter of national capacity. Who would argue that Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are any ‘less’ because they won only a few medals, and no golds? Second, look at the nation-wise break-up of medals. Apart from the US and Russia, few others were a force across disciplines. Even the historic ‘Great haul of Britain’ is less impressive without the eight golds in cycling. Clearly, Olympic success can result from a...

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