Fans label US media 'misleading' for ranking medals table by total

Fans label US media 'misleading' for ranking medals table by total

August 2, 2021

Olympics fans label US media ‘misleading’ for ranking their medals table by total won rather than just golds… which puts America in first place and ahead of China, despite having seven less first-place finishes!

  • The official Olympics site ranks teams based on the number of gold medals won
  • But in America, a number of tables instead show teams based on overall medals
  • The overall tally puts the US first but they are second to China on gold medals 
  • Find out the latest Tokyo Olympic news including schedule, medal table and results right here

American media has been criticised by Olympic spectators for counting the medal tallies in a way that presents the United States as the most successful nation so far at the Games in Tokyo.

Medal tallies are typically ranked by whoever has the most gold medals. So a nation in second could have won 50 medals, but if only five of them were gold then they’d be behind a country that had won six medals as long as all six of them were gold.

But American media outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post have compiled a table by overall medals won which puts the US top, despite having won less gold medals than China.

Jade Carey is one of the 22 gold medal winners for the United States so far – but China have 29

The official Olympics website ranks China ahead of the US due to gold medals won

Fans have pointed out how in America, they rank the US at the summit of the medal table (the above was highlighted last week – the US now have 64 medals and China 62)

At the time of writing, the United States has 64 medals, where as China has 62. But China has won 29 golds, seven more than the US and on most traditional tables, that would put them in top position.

Last week, the quirk was noticed by one China-based Washington Post reader who pointed it out over Twitter and said: Come on @WashingtonPost, the US is getting beaten in the medal count by both China and Japan. Why can’t you show this correctly in your table?’

The medal table is put together in a similar way by the New York Times, and followers pointed out that it is typically how the US counts Olympic medals.

‘America has generally measured by total medals. America is also projected to get 10-15 more golds than Japan and China so it will even out in the end,’ one reply read.

Another Twitter user said to the New York Times: ‘I remember America use to do medal count with gold, but once they lost the lead on that they started going with total medals instead.’

Wenwen Li claimed gold for China in weightlifting on Monday, one of 29 golds won to date

Even Americans said that the way the US media presents the medal tables are misleading 

Another sports fan said that America often counts medals by the overall total in the Olympics

One spectator went further, saying: ‘Just wondering why the country with the most gold metals isn’t on top? I’m American but still think this is a bit misleading.’

The official Olympics website even ranks China in first position and the United States second.

But another sports fan suggested that the United States have always ranked their medal table on overall total medals rather than total golds.

‘The way America rounds Olympic medals has always been interesting to me,’ they said. ‘Most of the other countries rank by gold medal count, but they do it by total medal count.’

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