Correlation Between Economic Success and Olympic Performance

Topics: Olympic Games, United States, Summer Olympic Games Pages: 5 (1729 words) Published: March 20, 2009
The economic success of a country is reflected in its performance in the Olympic Games ' true or false? Luck is something that almost everyone experiences. To experience it more, however, one must work harder. According to the online dictionary, luck is a combination of circumstances, events, etc, operating by chance to bring good or ill to a person. Abraham Lincoln once said “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” There is a lot of truth in his statement. The better one prepares oneself for a task, the more likely luck will grace him. For example, in the most recent Summer Olympic Games, there were two races when Michael Phelps, known for the seven gold medals he collected in swimming, won by a total of nine hundredths of a second ' one race by just a hundredth. Some critics call it luck. Others even call it divine intervention. Logically speaking, it was the result of all the hard work he put into his preparation. His performance was not just a fruit of his hard work, but also a fruit of the environment in which he trained in. True, he is a very talented swimmer, but his skill was honed also because the environment where he trained. The training environment he and his teammates had was a luxury not available to most of his opponents. It is also a benefit of the economic success of his country. With this said, it is evident that a direct correlation exists between a country’s economic success and its overall performance in the Olympic Games. In order to become more aware of this relationship, history must be observed. Based on the medal count of the past Olympic Games, it is noticeable that countries which are part of G7 consistently finish in the top twenty. The G7 is a group which consists of countries with prosperous economies namely the Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States of America. One thing these countries have in common, which also says a lot about its economy, is a superior Gross Domestic Product (GDP) level. The GDP is the measure of the performance of an economy. Macroeconomists usually decompose GDP into a few integral accounts ' consumption, investment, government spending, net exports. It is simplified into the equation: GDP = Consumption + Investments + Government Spending + Exports ' Imports The United States of America has strongest economy in the world today, with a GDP of $14.58 trillion. Other members of the G7 are also amongst the top in this category.

For the past several decades, the Olympic Games have been consistently dominated by the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). When the USSR dissolved, Russia, the core of USSR, filled its void in the Olympics. Since the 1980s, there were only two instances when the United States did not finish in the top two overall. The first was in 1980 games in Moscow, Russia where they did not participate. The second was in 1988, when East Germany, another country with a successful economy, outperformed them. During this period, the most powerful economy belonged to the United States. An average of roughly twenty-two percent of the world’s GDP was controlled by the United States. While the United States has consistently been on top, China’s economy has been steadily improving. In 1984, when China first joined the Olympic Games, it finished in the top ten. At that time, its GDP was around $310 billion dollars. In 2008, when it finished second, its GDP was approximately $7.8 trillion dollars, almost twenty times of what it was when it first joined the Olympics. As its economy progressed, so did its performance in the Olympics. A superior economy results to a higher GDP. A higher GDP means that a country has a bigger budget. With a bigger budget, a country has more money to allocate the development of its projects and departments. One usual beneficiary of a bigger budget is the country’s athletics program. Maintaining excellence in a sports program is expensive. A lot of money is...
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