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Monday, August 16, 2004

Has USA lost its touch ?

By now, the euphoria of the Olympics, 2004 and the security fear surrounding the games, has died down a bit. After the first 3 days of the games, its time to take stock of the proceedings.

Firstly, the USA team has performed far below its best in most of the events that it has participated - they were fancied to win the 4 * 100 meters Men's Relay, but they were relegated to the 3rd spot ! Michael Phelps was lined up to win gold in all the events that he participated - he has already bagged 2 bronzes along with 1 solitary gold. Last but not the least, the USA basketball team was thrashed by lowly placed Puerto Rico. From what I can see, USA doesn't seem too hungry to win - probably, they do have the security fear in their mind ... probably !

On the other hand, third world and poorer countries have performed solidly till now. China is leading the medals tally with 8 medals. Its been a joy to see the Chinese in action - be it in shooting, archery, weightlifting, diving - they have just been fabulous. All this is indeed testimony to their extremely good sporting infrastructure and the very high levels of sporting regimen that they follow.

India, a country almost similar in population to China, has struggled to give any notable performances. Many of the atheletes have already fallen by the way-side. The only medal hopes who remain are Leander/Bhupathi in Tennis Doubles (they won against the USA today) and Anju George in Women's Long Jump (though the chances are quite remote there as well).

Of course, these are still early days and there are lots of events to come. USA can still catch up in the Gymnastics events (although Romania is their biggest obstacle) and in the track and field events, where they should expect a rich gold haul (even though their preparations have been hindered by drug scandals). As fat as India is concerned, I can just hope and pray for the best - I just wish to hear the Indian National Anthem played, at least once during the Games !!!