Looking at the Washington Post's coverage of the Olympics I was surprised to find Japan in third place in the medal count.
"Way to go, Japan," I thought until, taking a closer look, I realized that only two of Japan's 19 medals are gold. The vast majority, 11, are bronze, a color Japanese athletes like so well that politicians here are considering changing the red circle in the hi-no-maru national flag to bronze in honor of their "achievements". Arch rivall, Korea, it should be noted, has won seven golds, out of forteen medals total. (Way to go, Korea!)
So, why is Japan listed third?
Because in the Washington Post and other American papers countries are currently listed by total medals won: US, 37; China, 34; Japan, 19; Germany, 17; Russia, 17; and so on. Countries are arranged in that fashion, rather than by the relative value of the medals won, in order to make the U.S. come out on top, instead of in second place as most international media outlets and indeed the London Olympics, as well, have them. I suspect that in the event that China garners more medals while the U.S. wins more gold, the medal count will be adjusted to keep America in the number one position.
This is exactly the kind of pettiness I'd expect from North Korea. C'mon, Amerikay, you're better than that! You're Numero Uno, after all.