Piers Morgan Is Right After All; In Medals Per Capita, India Is At The Bottom In Olympics

There is a silver lining though...

24/08/2016 7:40 PM IST | Updated 24/08/2016 9:17 PM IST
2016 Rio Olympics Closing ceremony.

After Shobhaa De, India is outraging about British journalist Piers Morgan's tweet calling "the wild celebrations" in the country "for two losing medals" embarrassing.

While Twitter puts up a spirited and entertaining defence, and of course, there really is nothing to be embarrassed about celebrating the achievements of our athletes who surmounted enormous odds to win their country medals, here's the bleak reality staring at our face.

In the final tally of medals, India stood at 67 (out of 207 competing teams, including the refugee team) with a total of two medals: one silver and one bronze. That is a third of the total of six medals India won at the 2012 London Olympics. India last won a gold medal in 2008 after a gap of 28 years. It was hoping to bring back 10 to 14 medals at Rio Olympics, as noted by Injeti Srinivas, the head of Sports Authority Of India, not too long ago.

While India has been celebrating its slim pickings in the medal tally, a population and gdp-based analysis has shone harsh light on the true bleakness of our performance in Rio. In an analysis by The Telegraph, which looked at the number of medals per capita (number of medals divided by the population) and the medal tally adjusted for GDP (number of medals per 100 billion pounds of GDP), India came at the rock bottom.

The fact came into wider attention after The New Zealand Herald dubbed India "The worst country at the Olympics". A sobering moment indeed.

Of course India did better than the 120 Olympic associations that drew a blank in Rio. And therein lies a silver lining that must doubtless make our position a tad tolerable in these nationalistic times--among the nations that failed to win any medal, Pakistan is the largest country. So in the pecking order of nations that drew a blank per capita, Pakistan's showing is the poorest.

India's financial commitment to the Olympics is dismal: the Indian government is said to have spent only $18 million to prepare the athletes, which is a fraction of what is spent by many countries, including China.

All told, despite the second largest population on Earth and the fastest growing GDP in the world, India ended the games with disappointment--going by the numbers.

And while those two medals and the individual Olympians should be celebrated, there's no denying that the overall score for the country is embarrassing. And Morgan isn't entirely wrong.

More On This Topic