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GLOBAL ISSUES IN LANGUAGE
EDUCATION NEWSLETTER
September 2000 - Issue No. #40 p.18

THE OLYMPIC GAMES:

WHICH COUNTRY WON THE MOST MEDALS?

Kip Cates

The 2000 Olympics are over and, at the end, many people counted to see which countries "won the most medals". But, is a simple medal count really the best way to find the "winners"? Here's what one NGO has to say:
Imagine a group of Olympic athletes lining up for the 100 metre final in Sydney - but wait! This isn't fair. Some of the athletes have further to run. Some have a head start. Some have to carry 20-kilogram backpacks of dead weight. The swimmer in lane three of the 200 metre butterfly comes from the wealthiest country in the world. The swimmer in lane four comes from a country where people still starve to death, where it's hard enough to find a glass of clean water, let alone a swimming pool. Shouldn't the Olympics, this celebration of global unity, take account of the fact that some athletes are more equal than others? How can we ensure a "level playing field" where all athletes get a fair and equal chance?
- Global Equity Monitoring: http://www.levelplayingfield.org
To provide a fairer comparison, we present here three alternative ways of measuring "who won" at the Olympics:
  1. by simple medal count (below left): based on the total number of medals won by each country
  2. by population (below middle): based on "medals per person" calculated for each country's population
  3. by national wealth (below right): based on Gross Domestic Product, a measure of a country's prosperity

Why not try this topic as a discussion or writing theme for your next language class?

Download this page as a .doc file
Source: Mainichi Daily News. Barbados Tops Medals Table at Olympics! Sunday October 1, 2000 pg 13

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Kip A. Cates, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori City, JAPAN 680-8551
E-mail: kcates@gilesig.org Work Tel/Fax: 0857-31-5650
Website: http://www.gilesig.org
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