Upset! (Day 3, Tokyo 2020)

A practically unheralded no-name upset the world-ranked team. Athletes, multi-world-champions, previous-gold-medalists, who hadn’t been beaten in a long time, were outplayed and out-strategized. Cue the American excitement for our great win… excuse me, did you think this was about Team USA losing?

There’s been a ton of hand wringing at the beginning of the Tokyo Games in the American press. Headlines about being “stunned” and shocked because no U.S. medals were won on Day One, and several of our world’s best teams lost opening rounds and games. It’s especially aggravating when all this flagellation glosses over the outstanding play of everybody else. Plenty of winning has taken place. Plenty of thrilling contests and patriotic tears. Yes, there have been a few big upsets. Let’s embrace All of them.

Presume, Much?

In 1908, the first truly international Olympics in London, American team organizer James Sullivan wanted to know how the British were going to determine the “overall national winner.” Sullivan, head of the US team, devised his own system of assigning points to medals and “went so far as to claim that the British were dreaming up some dastardly counting scheme that would privilege their athletes and ensure the championship…” writes Olympic historian David Golblatt. Because, even in 1908, our obnoxious chauvinistic leaders thought we ought to win everything. That’s when the absurd medal count started.

Here are my predictions for Tokyo 2020:

Team USA will not win all the medals
Team USA will not win all the medals that the media “expects” them to win

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