At this point the US has more gold medals than most of the other top countries have total medals. As a matter of fact Michael Phelps has more gold than most countries have medals.
This is nothing new for a country who has set the standard for dominance in many sports and events for many years now and it doesn’t appear the tide is about to turn any time soon.
So what is the driving force behind this success?
Is it population size? China who is in 2nd overall could help make an argument for that. It definitely can’t hurt to have a large amount of athletes to choose from but there are some countries about the same size as most of the US states that are also very competitive. It’s probably a factor, but it can’t be the main reason.
What about racial diversity? It definitely helps to have body types, cultures and mentalities that match up to specific events. However, this year’s host country, Brazil, for example, is very diverse, maybe even more so percentage wise but they don’t hold a candle to the United States.
Training? I would say this is getting closer to the truth, but there are countries that handpick their athletes from a very young age and “allow” them to specialize in their particular sport and we still outdo them.
PEDs? Let’s be honest for a minute. As much as “It”enjoys pointing the finger, the US isn’t as innocent as it pretends to be. You only have to look at the scandals in all the major sports to see that “She”can definitely dope with the best of them, but Russia is a prime example that cheaters don’t always prosper.
I guess the answer would have to be pride.
This is where it gets tricky because every athlete from each country seems to be loaded with pride. For some it’s a national pride, for others it seems to be more personal. For others yet, it seems like fear, for their own lives or other severe consequences.
I personally enjoy the fact that an NFL game was frozen to allow fans to cheer for a swimming event. That most of us cheered for the first African-American woman to win a gold medal. And that some are even learning to at least tolerate religions that we once feared. It’s taking time but we are learning to unite and refusing to give in to division.
It is indeed the “Land of Opportunity.” A melting pot of shapes, sizes and color. A rich and powerful country, spoiled by it’s own successes but struggling against itself to remain humble.
We may not always see eye to eye but we are united by the freedom to live, to love and to even hate each other if we so choose.
We are what we make of ourselves. Nothing proves that more than the rags to riches stories, the obstacles we overcome to rise to the top, the sacrifices we make to hold our head up high in spite of struggles.
The greatest Olympian of all time still gets a tear in his eye when he stands on top of the platform and sings along with the National Anthem. He knows we have judged him, laughed at him, made memes about him, and even written him off a time or two.
He also knows that when his fingers touch the wall ahead of everyone else’s, we will forgive and embrace him for sometimes proving to be only human and that we will glory in his triumphs as if they were our own.
What makes America the most dominant country in the Olympics?
I don’t think there is a definite answer but whatever the sum of it all is, I hope that we continue to pursue it…
And let freedom ring!