13 thoughts on “India and the medal hunt in the olympics”

  1. I had never seen a running track till I was in college. Actually, in terms of sports I had never seen anything other than a concrete Basketball and Badminton court and a decent cricket ground before getting into college. There are no sports grounds, no swimming pools, no coaches, no javelins, no shot puts… American middle schools in nowhere-ville have better sports facilities than cities with half a million people in India.

    Shooting range? maybe one for every 100 million people, ice-rinks maybe one for every 300 million people, climbing gym? maybe one for 400 million people. You get the picture.

    Some good news is that a lot of small one room gyms are opening up everywhere which would add to the pool of fit men-women. But without even a ground to play, how will we win medals?

    Look at the NCAA athletes in the US. In India they would be cleaning utensils or driving taxi if they don’t get a sports-quota job. In my city we have a international wrestling medallist who sells pani-puri and chaat from his hand-pushed stall.

  2. Razib, what did you think of the Olympic 2021 candidate profiles? I felt the Europeans and United States did a “diversity” parade. Do you have the analysis and data of previous Olympics?

  3. Since no one has made this stupid comment , i will go ahead — Once again, a son of steppe shines for india at the international stage. The community with one of the highest steppe ancestry in india(if not the highest) , Ror, has produced a Chakravartin , Neeraj Chopra, who wins the first ever gold medal in atheletics for india at the olympics.

    1. (No idea why my comment disappeared)
      Razib, don’t go by his surname, chopra surname can be found among rors, jats and even dalits(just like sharma surname is used by brahmins as well as vishwakarmas/bhadhai, malik surmame is found among jats as well as khatris and singh surname is used by nearly every 3rd caste in north india lol).
      Below is an old article.

      (The link between maratha and rors as claimed by some historians is highly suspicious and now we know from pop. genetics studies that there’s no recent connection between them)
      It’s common knowledge in his area that he is from ror community.

      1. Sumit, yes, i made the same comment about surname not mapping to castes(chopra surname can be found even among dalits) and even gave an article in support of his ror ancestry but the comment somehow got deleted both the times 🙂

  4. I have a contrarian take on this.

    The Olympics are a collection of eurocentric game formats that virtually have no historical pedigree in the Indian subcontinent. Actually I might say, the whole of Asia. For example, why is Chess not a Olympic sport? Or Wei Qi? Or Kabaddi?

    The Asian countries that perform exceptionally well today in at the Olympics fall into two categories –
    Ex/Communist countries – Russia, China
    American Allies – Japan, South Korea

    The rest suck – with medium to big populations like Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh – all ranked below India. The Arabian Peninsula is another poor contender. The only country that breaks this jinx is our Indo-European cousin – Iran. They have done exceedingly well.

    I am also not giving a free pass to our 20th century leaders (Nehru, Shastri, Indira, Rajiv) who basically erred by mixing and getting the worst of both worlds – socialism and capitalism. The middling Olympic performance is a virtual indictment of the economic choices we made fifty years ago.

    Also Razib’s last line on his blog is noted 🙂 Growth in HDI and per capita income is always accompanied by sporting prowess. Any game, not just Olympics. Bangladesh’s lack of a world beating team is a pointer to their lopsided economic model. Pakistan and Srilanka have dominated the cricket world in the past where G-20 countries regularly play – so I am letting them off the hook.

  5. 7 of those medals in this Olympics alone. It’s clearly trending up as Indians invest more in sport.

    Nigeria was the largest country not to win a Gold medal this olympics. Though the African-American population which traces the majority of its ancestry to West Africa continues to excel at the Olympics.

  6. Reasons India does poorly largely has to do with investment. Outside of african who have a clear genetic advantage in track and field specifically running, I don’t think genetics matter that much. Hell a chinese guy just ran 9.83 s in the 100 meter.

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