Olympic Observations

Now that the Olympics are drawing to an end, it’s now time for me to weigh in with my HBD / game perspective.

(1) What is up with India? Only 5 medals. Record-setting (3 in Beijing, 0-2 in all previous Olympics) but that’s still atrocious for a country of 1.2 billion people – even a poor and malnourished one. Michael Phelps alone has won almost as many Gold medals as India has done as a nation for as long as the Olympics existed. Why? Ryan G. will be along to lecture me soon enough on my Indophobia 🙂 , but I think it’s due to a perfect storm of negative HBD, economic and cultural reasons. Indians like East Asians have low testosterone; they are malnourished, and it doesn’t help that many are follow an inferior diet i.e. vegetarianism; the Commonwealth Games showed them to be pretty disorganized which doesn’t bode well for athlete training programs; and finally it appears that many Indians disdain sport and physical activity (their love of cricket actually proves this: Not exactly the most physically intense sport out there). I’m sure as India gets richer they’ll start earning more medals but I doubt they’ll ever do much better than 10th or so.

(2) Russia didn’t perform badly, contrary to popular opinion. Vancouver was a disaster. This wasn’t. As of the time of writing, its total medal count (78) exceeds Beijing 2008 (73) and Atlanta 1996 (63) and isn’t far from Sydney 2000 (89) and 2004 Athens (92). It’s still third overall and given the population and commitment of China, and the advanced training facilities and Black population (let’s be realistic) of America, coming third on total medal counts is entirely respectable. This time it was overtaken by Britain in the gold medals tally, but this reflects an astoundingly good British performance rather than Russian under-achievement.

(3) Speaking of Black populations, an almost unbelievably “provocative” video from the BBC, which claims that the reason the descendants of African slaves do so well is because of natural selection through Atlantic slave trade mortality.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAw_UeILgeY]

Here I actually disagree, funnily enough. It’s not so much the fact that they are slave descendants as they are West African blacks who on average have narrower hips giving them a more efficient stride, naturally lower body fat, more muscles in general, more fast-twitch muscle fibers in particular which are especially useful for explosive strength, more testosterone etc than other races.

Why it is Western hemisphere blacks who end up winning the medals might be due to the extra edge given by their slave heritage. However, there is no good evidence for that that I’m aware of. More likely it is simply because West African states are too malnourished, and too impoverished and disorganized to fund athlete elite training programs.

(4) The American flag can’t take the heat when put next to the Belorussian and Russian flags. 🙂

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ba-lucoW3FE]

(5) Turkish columnist gets parboiled for pointing out the obvious i.e. that women who excel in man sports (e.g. weight-lifting) will necessarily lose their feminine physical traits.

(6) Looks like China is going to come second this time on both Gold medals and total medals. Still, nothing to worry about. Beijing was probably an outlier at the time as home teams always have an advantage (see Britain in 2012). The secular trend is still upwards. If China were also to import 10 million West Africans (for sprinting) and 10 million Kenyans (for marathon) its lead will become permanently unassailable. 😉

(7) From the Economist’s Daily Charts blog.

Some very interesting data there.

(8) And another fascinating chart on male / female differences.

Quite a few female champs today would have beaten their male equivalents from a century or even half a century or so ago. Environment (advances in training and dieting regimens, shoe surfaces, etc, etc) does make a big difference.

(8) Move the Olympics back to Greece. As a rule they’re financially ruinous for the host country. But if they’re permanently ever held in one place – i.e., the place of their historic origin – an ecosystem can develop around them which will make them fiscally sustainable and even a net boon for Greece. It will also eliminate a lot of the bureaucracy/corruption inherent in choosing a new city every four years.

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