Weightlifting, Shooting, Synchronized Diving, Badminton and Judo - Oh, My

Michael CollinsAnalyst IAugust 16, 2008

So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.

- Sun Tzu, The Art of War


To this point, the Chinese have amassed an impressive 47 medals.  Their 27 golds are unparalleled - an impressive 57% of their total medals.  The United States is a distant second with 16 Golds, but with an overall medal lead of 54.  Despite overall medal counts, the Official Beijing Olympic site considers gold the standard for medal counts, listing China in first and the United States in second. 


For the United States, eleven golds have come in swimming.  Michael Phelps has contributed five individual golds and has received two golds from relay events. The United States’ strength has always been in signature, high-profile, glory sports like swimming, track and field and, lately, gymnastics. 


The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.

- Sun Tzu, The Art of War


Of China’s twenty-seven golds, seven have come in weightlifting (out of a possible eight), four in shooting, four in synchronized diving (out of a possible four), three   in judo, three in badminton, and three in gymnastics (with individual event medals yet to be awarded).


Among China’s other medals include two silvers and two bronzes in badminton, two silvers and a bronze in shooting, and a gold, a silver and a bronze in archery.


Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content

- Sun Tzu


With nine days to go, the United States hopes to finish strong in swimming, mine more gold from gymnastics, reap rewards in track and field medals, along with sailing, rowing, or fencing. The Americans should garner medals in team sports like basketball, softball, soccer, and volleyball, both indoor and beach. China will counter with gymnastics, diving, taekwondo, and trampoline.


Regardless of how many medals each country's athletes amass, China's achievements are building an extremely competitive team across multiple events to which Americans pay less attention.  China is forming a base in other events for future sucesses, while increasing their domination in diving, weightlifting, gymnastics.  American Olympic sports could learn a lot from the Chinese by broading their competitiveness for London 2012. 


If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

- Sun Tzu, the Art of War