Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank
In the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, our nation and the host nation are expected to fight it out as medal count winner to the very end. As of Thursday 1:45 PM ET, we were ahead of China in total medals 95 to 83, with Russia a distant third at 51. In terms of economic power, the International Monetary Fund ranks America first in Gross Domestic Product with China second. The gap is 13.8 to 6.9. In terms of military might, the 2005 U.S. military budget was almost as much as the rest of the world’s defense spending combined and is over eight times larger than the official military budget of China.
The world is watching Michael Phelps accomplish feats that make him to swimming what the American economy is to GDP or what the USA is to global defense spending. Dominance of this sort (in all three competitions) comes along once in a lifetime…and to witness it is truly special. Watching the man who looks like a cross between Super Bowl hero Eli Manning and the guy who plays Jim on “The Office” (Thank You Stephen Colbert for that joke) break Mark Spitz’s record from Munich in’72 will make Beijing one of the most talked about Olympics of all time. But as Phelps’ personal empire builds, the American empire declines. As our economy tanks from 8 years of the supposed “CEO Administration,” the Chinese economy soars!
Three years ago, I recall my mentor in business school telling us in class about China becoming the next global superpower and how the Olympics being in Beijing was a chance for them to truly rise up and show the world what they are made of. Maybe we’ll know a little more about the era of American hegemony nearing its end by the time these games are done?
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