Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In Terms Of Medals Won Per Population Per Capita Italy Is Right Now Coming First At Olympics

Posted by Peter Quennell

The two frontrunner countries - the US and China - have overall each won about twice Italy’s current tally of medals.

Japan also has won several more. However, Japan’s population is more than twice the size of Italy’s, the US’s population is more than 5 times, and China’s population is more than 15 times.

Some 27 countries have so far won medals, out of 204 countries competing.

Right now Italy is ahead of France, South Korea, Russia, North Korea, Australia, Britain (host country), Romania, Brazil, Hungary, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Rankings do change almost daily, but Italian athletes are off to a pretty nice start.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/31/12 at 03:49 PM in The wider contextsItalian context


One little trivia thing maybe less known about Italians: how much they tend to be individually obsessed with sports (that includes motors, any racing, sailing, shooting, fencing etc).

Rather than the tabloid-style gossip popular in English or German speaking countries, Italian most popular newspapers are “sports tabloids”:



Posted by Yummi on 07/31/12 at 06:11 PM | #

Based on how many drivers with Italian names are in grand prix and NASCAR racing, and how many overtake one on the autostradas at speeds unimaginable over here, the national averages of hand-eye coordination and steely nerves must rate just about the highest in the world.

Italians are no bumblers.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 07/31/12 at 06:27 PM | #

Wouldn’t Meredith have loved to see the Olympics in her London? She was once a tour guide. She would have been proud of Italy’s wins, too, her adopted country.

Here’s a poem I wrote Saturday for her.


Meredith, radiant in our memory,
Sweet of heart and face, a gentle dove,
Soft as the fur trim of a Russian hat,
Careful as the clever cameras
That capture details
Of a starlit universe,

In this brief life your ship ran aground
Too swiftly,
Carried over distant sands on a deadly hurricane,
But tender as the moon you linger
Over Perugia, remembering its music,
Then sailing swiftly you navigate longingly
Toward the faithful skies of London
To embrace forever the people you always loved,
And the place you were created.

You glance down at children shaping mud castles,
Symbols of golden streets in your better home.
The clouds rumble over your still face
But your light breaks through
Brightening a billion particles,
Dispersing your glow over miles of evening sky.

From every continent we see your brilliance.
Your strange journey, impossible to know,
Amazes us still.

The rich music that Kristian sang
Rings louder with your voice among the angels.
The lion is there with his six wings and innumerable eyes.

An avalanche of untruths torrented over your body.
You were murdered, we sadly know,
But like the sun over snow,
The false stories
Will slowly melt away
To expose one day your perfect beauty once more.
Who knows if the pounding waters produced by the melting
Will drown your killers swimming in carelessness below
Like the flood that vanquished the first earth.

You are the dove who flew out of the open window
Of the dark ark,
Bringing to us a little olive leaf in your beak
From perhaps Italy,
Before your final flight on white feathers,
Into a clean world of eternal light.

Posted by Hopeful on 07/31/12 at 07:36 PM | #

Nothing to be proud about it, in Italy drivers are totally crazy, especially on local highways - rather than autostradas - and moreover these roads are themselves a most dangerous mess. I hate this common habit to risiko actually. Yet the accident rate is not much higher than in Germany or UK. Why? I think, one of the reasons in statistic is, that more than half of all car accidents are due to alcohol, rather than to driving style. This does not justify the “Italian” reckless style of driving, don’t take example.

Posted by Yummi on 07/31/12 at 07:37 PM | #


Forget about the local highway- just see the streets of Rome! A sight to behold!

But I love the highly animated arguments on the streets: warm, lively and spontaneous.

Once I walked into the area behind the Rome main station which is filled with poor immigrants. I do not know I spent about four hours.

In my little knowledge, Italians are the most friendly people in the continent.

apples have meant trouble since eden

Posted by chami on 07/31/12 at 09:24 PM | #


When I was young(er), I used to say that the filth, the pettiness, the vulgarity, the obscenities and the like make life interesting and worth living. I often say (even now) that beauty, peace and the perfect harmony are sterile concepts that have contributed very little to the social progress. Look at the two great world wars, for example.

Our own struggle towards the perfect perfection makes us great.

Meredith has become immortal in her death.

Everybody wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die

Posted by chami on 07/31/12 at 09:57 PM | #

chami, thanks.

That’s how I feel, Meredith has become immortal in her death because of her intrinsic goodness.

Posted by Hopeful on 08/01/12 at 12:28 AM | #

Hopeful: Amazing, beautiful poem. Thank you.

Posted by Earthling on 08/01/12 at 07:32 AM | #

Anyone who thinks that Italian driving is bad obviously hasn’t been to the US lately.  Overtaking on the right, lack of use of signals, etc.  Give me Italian drivers any time!

Posted by tom-ch on 08/02/12 at 05:52 PM | #

Back on topic, I really enjoyed the 1-2-3 in fencing!  http://www.upi.com/Sports_News/2012/07/28/Italians-sweep-Olympic-fencing-medals/UPI-34641343504335/

Posted by tom-ch on 08/02/12 at 05:53 PM | #

By the way this night the four ladies just won another gold medal in the team foil.

Elisa di Francisca belongs to “Fiamme Oro”, the sporting club of the Polizia di Stato,  Valentina Vezzali also is an officer of the Polizia di Stato; Arianna Errigo is a Carabinere. The fourth woman of the team, Ilaria Salvatori, is an officer in the Aeronautica Militare (and foil #8 in the world). This goes also for a couple Silver medals in shooting: Tesconi (Carabinieri) and Cameriere (Tributary Police).

I think we can speak of a kind of “law enforcement” medals. These people do attend high quality training schools, or at least there is an enthusiastic sporting attitude among police schools in seeking and enrolling athletes.

Posted by Yummi on 08/03/12 at 12:26 AM | #

Canada has seven whole medals now and hangin’ in there.  We’re one-tenth the population of the US so it’s almost like having 70 medals!  No golds yet but please stay tuned.

Posted by Stilicho on 08/03/12 at 10:49 AM | #

Well done Canada!

With one medal per four million thats the rough equivalent of 300 for China (which is today at 34).  Good to see various websites running medal tallies calculated percapita in real time. They present an alternative angle interesting to a very internationalist crowd like ours.

NBC on its three channels offering coverage still mainly grabs the US-relevant TV feeds (for which it is paying a bundle) but there is increasing recognition of some of the startling achievements of others.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 08/03/12 at 03:26 PM | #

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