| Short-track speed skater Shim Suk-hee, 17, said she was "sorry" after winning a silver medal in the women`s 1,500 meters at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Saturday. Lee Sang-hwa, 25, a two-time Olympic champion in speed skating, carried a picket saying, "It`s okay not to win a gold medal" to cheer Korean athletes in the Winter Olympics. Participating in the Olympics itself is an honor but there are clearly differences in how people feel about the medal colors.
Not only athletes but also their countries are also engaged in a fierce competition for gold medals as if they were waging a proxy war, considering their athletes` Olympic performances a yardstick for their national power. That is why many people pay attention to Olympic medal tallies. According to tallies by major U.S. media outlets such as the New York Times and the USA Today, the U.S. and the Netherlands share the top spot, while Asian and European media reports and the official Internet homepage of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games say that Germany ranks first, the U.S. fourth and the Netherlands third. The rankings are different because the U.S. makes the rankings list by adding all medals won by each country, while the other regions do so by tallying the number of gold medals won. Germany won eight golds, compared with six won by the U.S. and the Netherlands, respectively. In total medal tallies, Germany, which has won 15 medals, is behind the U.S. and the Netherlands that won 20, respectively. By the U.S. standard, Germany ranks sixth.
There are different views about the value of medal. Some see that all medals should be valued the same regardless of their colors, while others argue that the value of gold medals awarded to the top winners should be recognized.
Some even argue that it is reasonable to make medal rankings by giving five points to each gold medal one, three to silver and one to bronze. The ranking standards change at each Olympics to make some countries go higher in general medal rankings.
Meanwhile, 26 out of 88 countries participating in the Sochi Winter Olympics have won at least one medal, setting the most tying record in the Olympic history.