Medal Count Is No Small Wonder

(Charles Krupa - AP)
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Friday, August 15, 2008

China is bringing home the bling like a first-round draft choice after his signing bonus check clears. If this keeps up, there are going to be tattoos of Mao on biceps all over Beijing.

The Chinese have won more gold medals than anyone at these Games. Depending on the time of day you check the standings, they are leading in total medals as well.

They are winning with bows and arrows. They are winning with rifles and pistols. They are winning by lifting heavy things, and throwing people around.

They are, frankly, a little scary.

The coming attractions will include the Chinese winning with paddles, the rowing kind and the hitting kind; with tennis rackets; with boxing gloves, even. The sport used to be banned here, for heaven's sake.

And they are winning with the most potent weapon of all: tiny children.

I defy you to come up with any kind of defense for tiny children. So cute, so cunning, tiny children. Who doesn't like to see tiny children in cute little outfits doing interesting things? (God had to make tiny children in cute little outfits appealing or no one would ever attend school programs. Without the cute factor, school programs would frequently be marred by adults ripping their own ears off and stomping on them.)

The Chinese reach in their pockets and pull out tiny children in wee swimsuits and eentsy tights whenever they need them. President Hu Jintao keeps a little diver in his right breast pocket, just because he can.

The good news for the Americans: Tiny children can't swim. For one thing, they have to stay at the shallow end all the time. Then the swimming federation declared floaties illegal. But for now, the swimming medals should be out of the reach of children, like Xanax and drum sets.

That's not to say the Chinese are happy about Michael Phelps helping himself to their treasures like a half-naked Indiana Jones. Perhaps he'll arrive at the Water Cube one morning to find a wall has gone up in the middle of the pool. After all, the Chinese know all about walls, and they are knee deep in tiny children with nothing better to do.

Helping the Chinese in their efforts at medal table domination: the U.S. women's sabre team, which swept the individual gold medals but could manage only bronze in the team competition. (I'm guessing that one was marked with a "W" by most prognosticators); and Venus and Serena Williams, who both "lost" singles matches. Hey, I'm from Washington; I know tanking a tennis match when I see it. Sixty-seven unforced errors? Someone's tired of the bacorn.

-- Tracee Hamilton

Quote of the Day

"We are in quite a benign time zone. There are a lot fewer challenges. I spoke to the president of NBC right at the beginning of the process and we decided that will not be the case."

Sebastian Coe, head of London's 2012 organizing committee, saying that the schedule will not be altered to serve the needs of the Peacock. Swimming finals and gymnastics, normally evening events, were moved to mornings so that NBC could broadcast them in prime time from Beijing. Now maybe Coe can do something about getting "ER" off the air.

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