Medals Per Capita adores getting all snooty at the snooty big countries and lavishing attention on the chronically overlooked and, in that vein, will take this opportunity to salute to the hilt one Mongolia.
Now, the proper noun “Mongolia” doesn’t tend to come up in day-to-day American dinner conversation, but Medals Per Capita aspires to change that by announcing that after Thursday’s results in Beijing, Mongolia barged from No. 10 clear to No. 3 in the real rankings of the Olympics.
These rankings, of course, represent a rational, prudent, authentic antidote to the thoughtless, sloppy, phony Medals Table, which simply lists medals won and calls it a shiftless day. The top of the Medals Table features some sort of fracas between China and the United States, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, plying standard ignorance to ignore that it’s a lot more commendable to wring two Olympic medals from a population of 2.9 million (Mongolia) than to get, oh, 35 from 1.3 billion (China) or 34 from 303 million (United States).
Those “big two” are having some sort of snit because one side’s gymnasts seem quite possibly 11 years old, while at least both have ample agreeable weather — one even has a California in it — while Mongolia, now…
Mongolians reside on soil seldom arable and in cold so remorseless that Ulan Bator finishes No. 1 in the World’s Coldest Capital City (WCCC) standings, so they would be 2,996,081 of the most rugged, fibrous human beings on Earth, starting with Tuvshinbayar Naidan.
Naidan, a former wrestler, evidently threw a bunch of people around the judo rink, reaped his nation’s first-ever gold medal and said to reporters, “There are no words that can describe my happiness.”
Medals Per Capita would like to agree, given MPC’s chronic fondness for the sparsely populated. Why, Mongolia would be the most sparsely populated independent country on Earth, 2,996,081 residing in space roughly the size of Alaska, earning a description from Reuters as “the windswept Central Asian nation,” yet forging a glistening MPC of 1,498,041.
That placed the Mongolians just behind the No. 2 Australians with all their flip-flops and cute animals and swimming prowess, even while both trail a gathering Armenian dynasty that’s getting serious here.
Armenia, another country of 2.9 million, coming off zero medals in Athens that followed one in Sydney and two in Atlanta, suddenly has hoarded four bronzes, the latest from Greco-Roman wrestler Yuri Patrikeev in the 120-kg event. It romped to its third straight day of MPC throne-sitting, and you could feel the entire MPC board shudder — or at least I could — by a classic MPC intimidation that lowered Armenia’s MPC from a dreamy 989,529 to a celestial 742,147.
The top 10 (with a special nod to Cuba, which finished third in Athens MPC and is getting noisy in Beijing):
1. Armenia (4) – 742,147
2. Australia (16) – 1,287,554
3. Mongolia (2) – 1,498,041
4. Georgia (3) – 1,543,614
5. Switzerland (4) – 1,895,380
6. Cuba (6) – 1,903,992
7. Slovenia (1) – 2,007,711
8. Azerbaijan (4) – 2,044,429
9. The Netherlands (7) – 2,377,902
10. Hungary (4) – 2,482,729
15. South Korea (16) – 3,077,053
22. France (15) – 4,270,519
23. Italy (13) – 4,472,717
34. United States (34) – 8,936,019
36. Russia (14) – 10,050,150
40. Spain (2) – 20,245,526
43. China (35) – 38,001,274
46. Brazil (4) – 47,977,146
50. Mexico (1) – 109,955,400
52. India (1) – 1,147,995,898
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times