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Epic win for India

August 11, 2008

As noted in my previous post, more people should generally mean more Olympic medals for a country, since it means more potential athletes.  Why, then, did India, a country of 1.1 billion people, have less than 60 Olympians?  Shouldn’t the size of their country be keeping them from performing so miserably?

Well Indians finally have someone to cheer for.  Today they won their first gold medal since 1980 and their first individual gold medal ever.  Abhinav Bindra won a men’s air rifle shooting competition and instantly became a national hero in a country not accustomed to Olympic success, and will be treated as such:

The Minister of Railways awarded him and a companion a free, lifetime rail pass to travel in a first-class, air-conditioned compartment. The Board of Control for Cricket in India, cricket’s governing body and the most powerful sporting institution in the country, said it would give Mr. Bindra a cash award of about $62,500.

One young Indian was quoted as saying,

“By next Olympics, India will be among the U.S. and China, on the top of the medal tally.”

Lets not get ahead of ourselves here.  One gold medal does not an Olympic juggernaut make.  But it’s a start.

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