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Medals per capita goes to the Bahamas

August 24, 2008 | 12:40 pm

The Bahamas team of Andretti Bain, Michael Mathieu, Andrae Williams and Christopher Brown pose with their silver medals after the men's 4x400m relay at the National stadium as part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Just as England once lived under the Tudor, China once lived under the Ming and the American League East once lived under the Torre, we earthlings live under a dynasty these days.

It’s a benevolent dynasty, the Bahamas dynasty -- they do let us come visit their islands and serve us drinks with tiny umbrellas sticking out of them -- until it comes to the quadrennial test known as the Olympics, when they fluster the rest of us again.

The rest of the world tried everything we could to overthrow the Athens 2004 kings and queens in the crucial, vital-to-life, telltale Medals Per Capita ranking. We sent our Australia, runner-up in Athens with its population of just 20,600,856 and its vast collection of studs and studesses. We proposed Armenia, wrestling and weightlifting with the best from a population shy of three million.

We offered Slovenia, No. 5 in Athens, and we sent in Jamaica, No. 6 in Athens with its bolting Bolt and other track prowess, and we tried New Zealand, hearty archipelago, and as it concluded we even summoned Iceland with its 304,367 population and its gaudy handball team. Mongolia, a nation with cold weather and disagreeable soil, showed it mettle with two early medals and then, on Sunday, two boxing medals, from Serdanka Purevdorj (silver) and Badar-Uugan Enkhbat (gold). That made four for 3 million hardy people and made an impression.

We had Cuba (No. 3 from Athens), Estonia (No. 4 from Athens) and our fibrous Norwegians and Danes, and we had our horde of other frolicsome former Soviet republics like Belarus and Latvia.

Heck, we had both Trinidad and Tobago, in one entry.

We just couldn’t get to the Mozart Bahamas MPC score of 153,725 -- or one medal for every 153,725 Bahamians -- forged by medals in the triple jump and the men’s 4-x-400-meter relay. We couldn’t stave off the three-peat, what with some connoisseurs of long division having figured the Bahamas the Medals Per Capita winner in Sydney 2000 as well.

The ancient, decrepit, tyrannical, misguided, superpower-tilted Medals Table claimed either China or the United States won the Olympics, depending on who does the miscounting, but we recognize arithmetical propaganda when we see it.

We know that while 110 medals or 100 medals can disappear into the United States or China with their tactically unwise populations, there are so many medals per person in Australia that it’s practically a fashion accessory, that 47 medals for 60 million Britons constitutes a seismic paradigm shift given Great Britain’s recent sporting history, and that two medals in the wee Bahamas doth an empire make.

There’s not even suspense lingering in the possible case of the Netherlands Antilles before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Dogged in its pursuit of the MPC top five -- and that’s understandable -- the Netherlands Antilles hopes to overturn the disqualification of 200-meter runner Churandy Martina for stepping on the line thrice, claiming the disqualification didn’t come in proper disqualification time.

If you can imagine a more sonorous court case, have at it, but not even the Netherlands Antilles with its 225,369 sun-kissed citizens could trump our mighty Bahamian royal ruler.

Two weeks of gruel and melodrama, and it’s the same quotient story: the Bahamas. At least you could say that in this particular defeat we learned a valuable life lesson.

Always look out for the triple jump.

Medals Per Capita minutiae from Sunday’s final day:

-- The United States 40th out of 70 countries in Athens with 103 medals and an MPC rating of 2,844,928, wound up 46th out of 87 with a better rating of 2,762,042. It really does supply hope for the future, just imagining how a gutty little overmatched MPC country might continued to make slight strides, like maybe if it goes rummaging around that pool in Baltimore for another giant fish-boy.

-- Jamaica went from five medals and No. 6 in Athens to 11 medals and No. 2 in Beijing, while Cuba went from 27 and No. 3 to 24 and No. 8, while Trinidad & Tobago logged in at No. 11, which all goes to show that if you seek victory -- just as with the former Soviet republics -- you don’t want to go messin’ around down there in those islands. Sure, they look all sanguine and relaxing and everything, but that’s just part of the lull.

-- The mainstream media continues to laud China for its forge to the fore in the Olympics, and while that’s part of being a good guest, it also chronically overlooks an MPC rating of 68. While that’s not bad and surely the best ranking in history for any country with 1,330,044,605 people, it’s certainly a far cry from 1985 Bears or 1927 Yankees entries like the Bahamas or Jamaica or Iceland, and the praise just comes as another sad reminder of the suppression of free speech.

The top 25:

1. Bahamas (2) - 153,725

2. Jamaica (11) - 254,939

3. Iceland (1) - 304,367

4. Slovenia (5) - 401,542

5. Australia (46) - 447,844

6. New Zealand (9) - 463,717

7. Norway (10) - 464,445

8. Cuba (24) - 475,998

9. Armenia (6) - 494,764

10. Belarus (19) - 509,777

11. Trinidad & Tobago (2) - 523,683

12. Estonia (2) - 653,802

13. Lithuania (5) - 713,041

14. Bahrain (1) - 718,306

15. Latvia (3) - 748,474

16. Mongolia (4) - 749,020

17. Georgia (6) - 771,806

18. Denmark (7) - 783,531

19. Slovakia (6) - 874,124

20. Croatia (5) - 898,284

21. Hungary (10) - 993,091

22. The Netherlands (16) - 1,040,332

23. Azerbaijan (7) - 1,168,245

24. Kazakhstan (12) - 1,180,041

25. Switzerland (6) - 1,263,586

Selected others from 87 nations with medals:

26. Mauritius (1) - 1,274,189

27. Great Britain (47) - 1,296,678

29. Ireland (3) - 1,385,373

31. South Korea (31) - 1,588,156

32. France (40) - 1,601,444

33. Ukraine (27) - 1,701,640

36. Canada (18) - 1,845,149

37. Russia (72) - 1,954,195

38. Germany (41) - 2,009,013

39. Italy (28) - 2,076,618

40. Spain (18) - 2,247,282

43. Kenya (14) - 2,710,988

46. United States (110) - 2,762,042

57. Japan (25) - 5,091,536

61. Togo (1) - 5,858,673

67. Brazil (15) - 12,793,906

68. China (100) - 13,300,446

86. Vietnam (1) - 86,116,559

87. India (3) - 382,665,299

-- Chuck Culpepper

The Bahamas team of Andretti Bain, Michael Mathieu, Andrae Williams and Christopher Brown pose with their silver medals after the men's 4x400m relay at the National stadium as part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini /AFP / Getty Images

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