Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Tomas Gonzalez and the OECD

Twice in the last few days Chile came to a virtual standstill as everyone watched (or in my case, tried to watch on the Internet from work) Chilean gymnast Tomas Gonzalez aim for an Olympic medal, and fail. By this much.

He came in fourth. This led to much discussion, as most things in Chile do. Should we celebrate this achievement, or lament that we were celebrating having lost something? Twitter was aflutter.

So I wrote this.

The argument is that it all depends on whom we are comparing ourselves to. Just as in the OECD our numbers are often awful, at the bottom of most rankings, our Olympics results are usually unimpressive as well. That is because in both cases we're playing in the big leagues. When you think of the state funded gymnastics programs that exist in countries like Russia, Ukraine or China, Gonzalez' achievement seems huge. 

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