McKeithan column

Published 7:39 pm Friday, August 29, 2008

By Staff
Olympic medal standings not so golden
Columnist demands changes; trains for winter games
According to the official Web site of the BEIJING 2008 Olympic games “Overall Medal Standings,” China is number one. The USA? NOT number one.
By my “unofficial” reckoning, the U.S. “won” these Olympic games over China 110 to 100 — the overall medal count. What am I missing here? Even without Michael Phelps’ eight medals, we’re still the champs!
The official medal standings are based on the number of gold medals awarded, NOT overall medal counts.
When did gold medals become the gold standard of Olympic measurement? Knowing the price of gold these days, I guess I understand why — but that’s not the point. In the true spirit of Olympic goodwill and international diplomacy, I say: “nanny-nanny-boo-boo-we-are-better-than-you-hoo.” (I can hear Homer Simpson now, “ mmmmm … Yoo-Hoo.”)
What’s wrong with silver and bronze? My beautiful wife prefers silver jewelry to gold. Bronze is so significant, there’s a period in history named after it. (For those who did not receive a Scotland County public schools’ education: It’s called “The Bronze Age.”)
Don’t tell me winning with 10 medals to spare isn’t significant. That is nine more than the Republic of Moldova won during the ENTIRE Olympics. In your face, Republic of Moldova!
These strange Olympics turned Twilight Zone bizarre as I found myself actually pulling FOR a Mike Krzyzewski coached basketball team.
To the Chinese people (and I’m sure they’re reading this) …
I have nothing against you. I am impressed with your culture, your history and with General Tao’s chicken. You were great Olympic hosts. I give a cheery nod to all 20 billion of y’all. You should be proud … but you didn’t win the Olympics.
Some will say that I am exhibiting un-Olympic-like behavior and setting a poor example of sportsmanship for my kids. To those people I say, ““nanny-nanny-boo-boo-I-am-better-than-you-hoo.”
I am proud of my country and this is how I’m able to defend it — in this stupid column. Some patriots serve by taking up arms, others have careers in politics … I use taunts only heard on a nursery school playground. This column is the literary equivalent of a 3-year-old with his tongue out and thumbs in his ears while making moose ears and wiggling his fanny.
Top that.
Sportsmanship is lacking
Anyway, my attitude is much better than that shown by some Olympians. To wit: I have NEVER thrown my Olympic medal to the ground on the awards platform. I have NEVER judo-kicked an official who disqualified me. I NEVER made insane predictions about beating Michael Phelps in a swimming event as the Frenchmen did, nor have I ever mocked other runners during a race as did the great Usain Bolt. (He’s lucky I wasn’t running in that race.)
Let’s consider MY great accomplishments in life. (And there are many, believe you me.) I could boast about my successes, but I’m more of a walk-the-walk than a talk-the-talk kind of guy.
Though I’ve considered it, I’ve resisted taunting other patients in the dentist’s office with, “I have never had a cavity IN MY LIFE!” No — not dignified.
Do I walk down Market Street holding high my “honorable mention” certificate (suitable for framing) from the 1988 N.C. Press ad awards for “Best use of spot color”? No — too humble.
Do I wear the Louis Armstrong Jazz Band award ring from high school? No — too showy.
Changes should be made
Trying to figure out which Olympic event I should train for is a difficult task. The International Olympic Committee’s list of approved sports is as ever changing as a Blockbuster returns policy. They need to take some significant steps to ensure that the U.S. continues to win all future games. (Isn’t that their purpose?)
There are many “sports” that should be considered for addition or elimination. It’s not very complicated. Simply eliminate any sport that has “rhythmic” or “synchronized” in its name. How about table tennis (we call it ping pong in my house)? Unfortunately, the Chinese dominate this sport. Unless Forrest Gump is willing to come out of retirement … no more Olympic ping pong.
Another standard: If the average Southerner has never played, seen or heard of a particular sport, it’s out. Yes, that includes water polo, rowing, taekwondo and the goofy-fast-walking event. As you would suspect, NASCAR and bass fishing are in.
Now, I must get back to my training for the next winter Olympics. I will participate in the popular sport of “curling.” Oddsmakers have me as a “medal favorite” — let’s hope it’s GOLD.
Ray McKeithan is associate publisher of the Washington Daily News. If you have any questions or comments about column topics or content and operations at the WDN, please send an email to: or call 252-940-4205.