Day 16: August 24th 2008
To the athletes tonight: You were true role models. You have shown us the unifying power of sport. The Olympic spirit lives in the warm embrace of competitive rivals from nations in conflict. Keep that spirit alive when you return home. These were truly exceptional Games!
(Source: Dr Jacques Rogge, Chairman of the International Olympic Committee)
And none more so than those belonging to small nations, but of the 87 nations who medalled, how did the small nations of the world do? In a nutshell, fought way above their weight:
Jamaica (pop: 2,714,000) 6 golds (Men’s 100m, Women’s 100m, Men’ 200m, Women’s 400m Hurdles, Women’s 200m, Men’s 4 x 100m Relay), 3 silvers (Women’s 100m, Women’s 200m, Women’s 400m), 2 bronzes (Women’s 200m, Women’s 4 x 400m Relay)
Mongolia (pop: 2,629,000) 2 golds (Men’s 100kg Judo, Men’s Bantamweight Boxing), 2 silvers (Women’s 25m Pistol, Men’s Light Flyweight Boxing)
Slovenia (pop: 2,029,000) 1 gold (Men’s Hammer), 2 silvers (Women’s 200m Freestyle, Men’s Laser Class Sailing), 2 bronzes (Women’s 78kg + Judo, Men’s 50m Rifle Three Positions)
Latvia (pop: 2,268,000) 1 gold (Men’s BMX), 1 silver (Men’s Javelin), 1 bronze (Men’s 105kg+ Weightlifting)
Estonia (pop: 1,340,600) 1 gold (Men’s Discus), 1 silver (Men’s Double Sculls)
Bahrain (pop: 760,000) 1 gold (Men’s 1,500m)
Trinidad and Tobago (pop: 1,333,000) 2 silvers (Men’s 100m, Men’s 4 x 100m Relay)
The Bahamas (pop: 331,000) 1 silver (Men’s 4 x 400m Relay), 1 bronze (Men’s Triple Jump)
Iceland (pop: 316,250) 1 silver (Men’s Handball Team)
Mauritius (pop: 1,262,000) 1 bronze (Men’s Bantamweight Boxing)
And then came the closing ceremony and despite everything I said to myself, I blubbed for the third Games in a row. I have no idea what it is about the Olympic Flame being extingushed that sets me off but first Sydney 2000, then Athens 2004 and now Beijing 2008 flame extingushing ceremonies have left me in floods of tears. But as Jacques Rogge said the youth of the world will gather four years hence in London to celebrate the 30th Games of Modern Era (and as a member of that country you are all more than welcome to come and attend, but a year’s notice would be handy!)
And so that is that. Well. not quite. You see when Beijing won the right to host the 29th Olympics, they also won the right to host the 16th Paralympic Games (for elite atheltes with a disability), therefore (if the humble owner of this blog will permit me, I would like to track the small nations at those Games as well).
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