Should there be more than three medals per Olympic event?

The first modern Olympics were in 1896 when the world population was roughly 1.5 billion and only 14 countries were wealthy and organized enough to send teams (241 athletes total). There were two medals in each event. The three-medal system was introduced at the 1904 Olympics, in which 651 athletes from 16 nations competed.

World population today is nearly 8 billion. Of those 8 billion, 2,900 are athletes at the Beijing Winter Olympics. Shouldn’t there be more than three medals per event, in recognition that the number of superb athletes has grown since 1904? Why set things up like Harvard and Yale (minus the discrimination against Asians) where the number of slots for elite status is fixed while the population expands, thus leading to ever-more-cutthroat competition?

I feel sad when I see the amazing 4th place athletes get no recognition. Their performances would have earned them gold medals just a decade or two ago, right?

If we just scale the medals by population growth since 1904, there should be 15 medals per event. If there are only 20 or 30 teams competing in an event, that seems like too many. But why not 5 medals? Gold, Platinum, Silver, Bronze, Stainless Steel. It could be 3 medals if there are fewer than 25 athletes/teams in an event (hockey and curling!) and 5 if there are 25 or more competitors (for reference, there are 74 slots for men and 74 for women in figure skating this year and 119 snowboarders in each of the two gender IDs that the hate-filled IOC recognizes (I hope that one day the Olympics will be truly gender-neutral)).

I’m sure that this idea will never be implemented, but would a five-medal system be an improvement over what we have now?

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Is skating to Elton John the best way to establish heterosexuality?

Watching figure skating is nearly impossible in our household due to shouted “Boring!” objections from the 6- and 8-year-olds (What do they love? Luge crashes, bobsled flip-overs, skiing yard sales, etc.). Eventually they go to sleep, however, and it is time for 15 minutes of replays from the rink. American sensation Nathan Chen was in the news even before the Olympics. “Straight figure skater offers sincere apology after saying it’s a ‘homosexual-dominated sport’” (Pink News, July 31, 2021):

Olympic figure skater Nathan Chen has apologised after giving an “ignorant” remark about the sport being “homosexual-dominated”.

In a video statement released on Tuesday (27 July), he acknowledged that he gave an “ignorant” response on a podcast in answer to a question about patriarchal stereotypes in skating.

Asked whether he’s ever been advised to play hockey because it’s more “masculine,” Chen replied: “Yes, certainly. Especially as a male athlete… as a straight male athlete in a fairly homosexual-dominated sport, or LGBTQ-dominated sport.

“I think that there is that connotation and there is that ‘Well we don’t really wanna watch guys skate around’, and we’d rather watch hockey or we’d rather watch females do that, which I think is pretty messed up in itself,” he continued.

“It’s a genuine sport, we spend our whole lives trying to hone this craft, and to just sort of be belittled like that is not something that is generally taken lightly.”

The clumsy comment saw Chen accused of perpetuating standards of toxic masculinity and homophobia.

“Basically Nathan Chen had the opportunity to use his in-sport privilege to: support queer athletes as an ally, talk about how figure skating is for everyone, discuss the types of expression rewarded at competition,” commented the non-binary figure skater Racheline Maltese.

“Instead he: told us he was straight, equated feminine with queer and implied they were both negative, implied he is oppressed by queerness in the sport.

So… the tabloids follow this famous person around and haven’t seen him with one or more girlfriends. He describes himself as “straight”. What music does he select for his program? I was expecting perhaps Ice Cube, Kanye West, or DaBaby. Instead it was… Elton John.


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Super Bowl Covid variant?

As noted in California Karen hosts a 200,000-person mass gathering (Super Bowl in Los Angeles), the vaccinated will soon be huddled together in California, land of the closed public school and open marijuana store. They’re be wearing their cloth masks, unless they’re eating or drinking (which will be the entire game?) or holding their breath like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. From an evolutionary point of view, will this be the perfect place to breed a vaccine-immune mask-immune variant of SARS-CoV-2?

If so, what do we call the variant? “Ramgals”?

Separately, what are readers’ predictions about the final score at this superspreader event? Combining the home field advantage (a whole stadium full of Science-following Californians cheering discreetly through their Science-verified cloth masks) with my total ignorance of football, I expect the Rams to win and predict 28-25 Rams-Bengals.


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Unmasked Vladimir Putin braves a stadium packed with the infected

There is a high demand for pageantry in our household, but we don’t have a TV, so I signed up for the “ad-free” “Peacock Premium Plus” streaming service and used an iPad to show the Olympics opening ceremony (which arrived… with ads, disrespectfully side-by-side with athletes from countries that NBC deems unimportant; the Chinese refused to insert commercial breaks, apparently, so the righteous American boycotters (see below) added commercials to the event itself).

Science tells us that only N95 masks stand any chance of blocking Omicron, yet the athletes paraded out using various forms of non-N95 masks. Other than some performers, Vladimir Putin seemed to be the only person at the event who wasn’t wearing a mask.

Given that nearly everyone in the stadium is vaccinated, was in quarantine before and after international flights, and has been tested multiple times for COVID-19, what’s the chance that SARS-CoV-2 got through to the stadium? The official stats page shows that 308 people involved in the Olympics have thus far tested positive:

See also “A COVID-Free Pacific Nation Opened Its Border a Crack. The Virus Came Rushing In” (TIME):

On Jan. 14, the first passenger plane for 10 months landed in the country, which is located about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. It may also be the last for the foreseeable future. The plane brought the first cases of COVID-19 to the country; more than two-thirds of the passengers tested positive. The flight subsequently set off a wave of COVID-19 cases in the archipelagos, where 120,000 people live across 33 islands with land area smaller than Rhode Island.

Thirty-six out of 54 passengers on the flight to Kiribati tested positive on arrival. Six others tested positive in quarantine. That’s despite the travelers spending two weeks in pre-departure quarantine, and only being allowed on the flight after testing negative for COVID-19.

The border closures also bought Kiribati and others time to roll out vaccinations. Over 93% of Kiribati’s eligible population has received one COVID-19 vaccine shot, but just over 50% are fully vaccinated.

A few times NBC’s commentators (sports experts?) mentioned “human rights abuses” in China, but their own coverage of the event contradicted their statements. The NBC reporters sounded relaxed. The people in the stadium looked happy and relaxed, including Chinese ethnic minorities such as the Uyghurs who are purportedly victims of “genocide” (we throw this word around and then show up en masse with $1 billion in TV rights cash?). See this statement from the Chinese embassy for another perspective:

The so-called allegations of “forced labor” and “genocide” in Xinjiang are nothing but vicious lies concocted by anti-China forces. Xinjiang’s economic development and social stability is recognized by the whole world. The fact that residents of all ethnic groups there enjoy happy and fulfilling lives is witnessed by all. The US side keeps using Xinjiang-related issues to create rumors and make trouble. Essentially it is engaging in political manipulation and economic coercion, and seeking to undermine Xinjiang’s prosperity and stability and contain China’s development under the pretext of human rights.

It is preposterous for the US, a country with a deplorable track record of human rights issues, to accuse and smear China. The US has serious problems of human trafficking and forced labor. Up to 100,000 people were trafficked into the US for forced labor annually over the past five years. Crimes against humanity against Native Americans in the past constitute de facto genocide. The US should save the labels of “forced labor” and “genocide” for itself.

Xinjiang-related issues are not human rights issues at all, but in essence about countering violent terrorism and separatism.

Who else watched the opening ceremony? What did you notice?


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Avoid travel to Australia now that Novak Djokovic is on the loose?

“Novak Djokovic Can Remain in Australia, Judge Rules” (NYT):

Novak Djokovic, the Serbian tennis star, moved one step closer to competing for his record 21st Grand Slam title after an Australian judge ordered his release from immigration detention on Monday, the latest turn in a five-day saga over his refusal to be vaccinated for Covid-19.

Restoring the visa does not, however, guarantee that Djokovic will be able to vie for his 10th Open title when the tournament begins next Monday. In court, the government’s lawyers warned that the immigration minister could still cancel his visa, which would lead to an automatic three-year ban on his entering the country.

Hosting international sports events now involves navigating ever-evolving public health and border security rules, including the management of vaccine mandates on athletes who see themselves as high priests of their own bodies and their sports.

Australians have rushed to meet vaccine mandates, and endured lockdowns and closed borders. Many have little tolerance for a star who is notorious for preaching junk science and who, in the view of some, gained special treatment by receiving a vaccination exemption in the middle of Australia’s worst bout with the virus.

(Notice that it is not the Covidcrats dispensing the Science-informed rules who are “high priests”. Similarly, the folks who told the general public to wear bandanas as PPE are not guilty of “preaching junk science.”)

I wonder if we should avoid travel to Australia now that Djokovic is free. The country had only 587,971 active cases, according to its government. With Novak Djokovic in the stadium, there is now a real possibility of 587,972 cases.

Also from the NYT, “At an Australian Hotel, Djokovic Is Not the Only Cause of Controversy”:

A separate group of protesters held signs proclaiming “refugees welcome” and “nine years too long.” They were drawing attention to a very different cause: the well-being of about 30 asylum seekers who have been held at the Park Hotel much longer than Mr. Djokovic, the Australian Open champion.

Since December 2020, the Australian Border Force has used the hotel to house refugees who had been held for years on remote Pacific islands, under Australia’s much-criticized offshore detention policy for asylum seekers who try to reach the country by boat. Those at the Park Hotel were brought to Australia for medical treatment, but they cannot leave the hotel for any other reason, and they do not know how long they will be kept there.

Several asylum seekers said the windows of their rooms had been screwed shut, denying them access to fresh air. In October and November, a coronavirus outbreak swept through their ranks. At one point, 22 of the 46 asylum seekers who were then being held at the hotel had Covid.

“We cannot get out of the hotel,” said Mehdi Ali, a 24-year-old Iranian refugee. “We’re surrounded by walls.”

Australia’s offshore detention policy has been criticized at home and abroad for years. According to the Australian government’s statistics, as of September, 117 asylum seekers had been in detention for five years or more, and several for more than 10 years. That number has been declining in recent years, as dozens of refugees moved to the United States after being vetted by the American authorities, under a deal brokered during President Barack Obama’s administration.

This sounds like good news for the U.S. Treasury. If the standard path out of Australian immigration detention is U.S. residence and citizenship, as the NYT informs us, it is only a matter of time before Novak Djokovic abandons his tax-free home in Monte Carlo to become a U.S. taxpayer.


  • If Djokovic is destined to follow other Australia immigration detainees into U.S. citizenship, perhaps he’ll want to live free of state income tax next to 20 clay courts at the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center (owned by the city, but as nice as any country club)
  • mask laws in Victoria (Djokovic was being released into a society where “Wearing a mask is required for everyone aged 8 and above in all indoor settings in Victoria” and “We strongly recommend wearing a mask if you can’t physically distance, even if you are outdoors,…”)
  • Karen wants Novak home… “Australia should send Novak Djokovic Home” (Washington Post, Eugene Karen Robinson, 1/10): I’d remember the repeated lockdowns that were among the strictest and most punishing in the world. … I’d want the government to use all its power to bar him anyway. … I’d refuse to watch him play … Djokovic, however, is well-known as anti-vaccine. … Djokovic’s exemption may be technically correct … but it is morally wrong and contravenes the spirit of Australian law. … Morrison’s government can, and should, still kick him out. … Aussies have more than done their part to fight the pandemic.”

Update: I found a chart that explains everything.

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Olympic moving sport?

After observing some guys pack our stuff into three containers on the last day of Tokyo 2020, an idea for future Olympics: See who can pack stuff, with a range of fragility, into boxes and furniture blankets, move items into 16’ container, and then pull everything back out the fastest. Containers get shaken in the middle and points are deducted for anything broken. A team sport with 5 team members that combines a mental and a physical challenge.

Readers: would you prefer to watch this compared to a running race, for example?

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What have I missed at the Olympics?

Nobody at Oshkosh mentioned the Olympics and it is rare to see a television while participating in EAA AirVenture. Did I miss anything? How much excitement is lost due to the lack of spectators?

This is the first Olympics since all virtuous Americans agreed to condemn gender binarism. With a rainbow of 50+ gender IDs and “men” and “women” now ill-defined ephemeral categories, is anyone pointing out the oddity of having “men’s” and “women’s” events? (I personally think that there should be no gender-ID-based barriers in sports; just have different leagues for people of different ability, as we did in MIT intramural sports (D league hockey for those who couldn’t skate; A league for those who played high school varsity hockey).)

Department of #KnowYourAudience (TV at the Hilton Garden Inn, Oshkosh tuned to Fox News):

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