Star-spangled Olympics

Star-spangled Olympics

The 31st Summer Olympic Games (2016)

Every two years, the world comes together to watch as our premier athletes represent their respective nations in the Olympic games. World records, mind-boggling performances, and medal-earning victories are always on offer. Medals won are a fan-favorite measure of each nation’s quality of overall performance.

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio represent the beginning of the 31st Olympiad (the Winter games in 2018 will mark the end), and for Americans, there is already much to celebrate. As of this writing, the United States has a significant lead in every medal category (check back after the closing ceremony for an update and final tally)!

UPDATE AUGUST 22, 2016: The information below has been updated to reflect the final medal tallies.

  • USA: 121 total medals is 51 more than second place China
  • USA: 46 gold medals is 19 more than second place Great Britain
  • USA: 37 silver medals is 14 more than second place Great Britain
  • USA: 38 bronze medals is 12 more than second place China

A proud theme

Of course, the noblest part of the American medal-winning experience is the ceremonies themselves. Every medal won by a United States athlete means the American national anthem — The Star Spangled Banner — plays again and our American flag rises again. The anthem is perfectly suited for the medal-winning moment, too. . . a moment when an athlete who has embodied the American spirit through perseverance, dedication to his or her country and quest, and a willingness to strive for victory in the face of global opposition is recognized.

Francis Scott Key penned the anthem’s lyrics in a moment of proud amazement following a night of bombardment he was sure would have defeated American forces during the War of 1812. While the stakes are considerably different for our athletes in the Summer Olympics than they were for our soldiers in the War of 1812, the parallels are easy to see and our pride and amazement needn’t be diminished.

Two banners, both alike in dignity

The America of 1812 is very different from the America of today. The banner that represented our United States in 1812 — The Star Spangled Banner — is not the same American flag that our winning athletes drape themselves in. Both carry the history and dignity of this great nation. Both are carried, without hubris, by exemplary representatives of these United States of America.

 


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