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from Global Investing:

Olympic medal winners — and economies — dissected

The Olympic medals have all been handed out and the athletes are on their way home.  Which countries surpassed expectations and which ones did worse than expected? And did this have anything to do with the state of their economies?

An extensive Goldman Sachs report entitled Olympics and Economics  (a regular feature before each Olympic Games) predicted before the Games kicked off that the United States would top the tally with 36 gold medals. It also said the top 10 would include five G7 countries (the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy), two BRICs (China and Russia), one of the developing countries it dubs Next-11  (South Korea), and one additional developed and emerging market. These would be Australia and Ukraine, it said.

Close enough, except that Hungary took the place of Ukraine as the emerging economy in the Top 10 and the United States actually took 46 gold medals -- more than Goldman had predicted.

Goldman Sachs quite rightly pointed out in its report that progress and improvement in economic growth have historically equaled progress in sport  --check out South Korea's 13 golds in London compared with none in Munich 40 years ago; its per capita income is now $23,000 compared with $2,300  back then.  Clearly wealth is key: hence 9 of the top 20 medal winning nations also have among the highest per capita incomes.

from Photographers' Blog:

Gold, silver and bronze

By Eddie Keogh

My colleagues now call me the medal man. No, I’ve never won one or even got close but during the 9 days of athletics at the Olympic Stadium in London one of my jobs is to photograph every athlete that wins a medal. The unbridled joy is evident in most cases. Years of blood, sweat and tears have come to fruition and occasionally the emotion of the moment and the playing of their national anthem will bring a tear to the toughest of men and women.

For one man the emotion of the moment was just too much.

The Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez was here to receive a gold medal for winning the 400m hurdles. Four years earlier he received the news of the death of his grandmother on the morning of his heat. Having cried all day he ran badly and failed to get past the first round. He promised that day that he would win a medal for her and now he was fulfilling his promise. Felix cried the moment he arrived to the end of his country’s anthem.

from Photographers' Blog:

A goldless Michael Phelps

By David Gray

I have been photographing Michael Phelps for over 8 years, which has included 3 Olympic Games and 3 World Swimming Championships and I have never seen him like this - a goldless man.

I even saw him in a race that for the first time did not result in a podium finish. And then the U.S. team only finished second in the 4X100M freestyle relay race, which included Phelps and his now great rival team mate, Ryan Lochte. I never thought this would be possible.

from Olympics Notebook: Vancouver 2010:

Up close and personal with Olympic gold

OLYMPICS-VANCOUVER/Pritha Sarkar writes:

I felt like I was floating on cloud nine as I gingerly touched the Olympic gold medal sitting there in my hand and staring back at me.

I’ve dreamed of this moment all my life. Words cannot describe how I’m feeling right now – then the voice of the security woman at the door broke my reverie: “No biting, kissing, licking and chewing of medals in any kind!”

from India Insight:

Should K.P.S. Gill be stripped of his medals?

Media reports saying that the central government may take away the medals of police officers convicted of crimes have had an unexpected impact.

A policeman holds a submachine gun during a function in Mumbai August 27, 2009. REUTERS/Arko DattaThis puts former Punjab DGP and "super cop" Kanwar Pal Singh Gill (better known as K.P.S. Gill) in the same dock as S.P.S. Rathore, the former Haryana police chief convicted of molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra.

from Changing China:

Kenya, Ethiopia reap rewards from hard work

Dibaba leads the packDespite setbacks ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games, Kenya will leave Beijing in glory after capturing 5 gold medals, 5 silvers and four bronze in distance running.

Kenya's hope for an Olympic marathon medal were dealt a blow when Robert Cheruiyot pulled out due to injury and three-times London marathon winner Martin Lel's training was affected by flu. But Sammy Wanjiru saved the day and brought the marathon gold medal, proof that distance running is Africa's forte.

from Changing China:

Those moving medal moments…

Isinbayeva on the podiumRemember the Black Power salutes from the podium in Mexico 1968?

The 2008 Beijing Olympics medal ceremonies might not produce anything to match that, but there has been no shortage of drama so far.

In the full emotional spectrum, we have had:

Anger - Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian stormed off the podium to dump his bronze on the mat in a protest against referees.

from India Insight:

Sushil Kumar gets India its second medal at Beijing Olympics

Sushil KumarIndia is no longer the "one-medal nation". Sushil Kumar ensured that by winning a bronze medal on Wednesday, just a week after shooter Abhinav Bindra struck gold in Beijing.

Kumar beat Leonid Spiridonov of Kazakhstan in a bronze medal bout of the men's 66kg freestyle wrestling event.

from Changing China:

African athletes finding medals hard to come by

Medal bitingOne by one, African athletes at the Beijing Olympics have fallen by the wayside, with most not going beyond preliminary rounds five days into the Games.

With the exception of Zimbabwe's swimmer Kirsty Coventry, who has collected three silvers, Algeria's Soraya Haddad and Egypt's Hesham Mesbah, who won judo bronze meals, and Benjamin Boukpeti, who got bronze in men's singles kayak slalom for Togo, there have been no Africans on the podium.

from Cricket without boundaries:

Bindra’s gold medal – pointer to future?

bindra2.jpgAbhinav Bindra's first-ever individual Olympic gold medal for India has showed his countrymen they can now on dare to succeed at the greatest sporting stage.

His victory in the 10m air rifle after a tense finish on Monday spoke volumes about his composure and has given his team mates the confidence they can go on and claim more medals in Beijing to shake off the unwanted tag as a "one-medal" nation.

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