Media Obsession with Olympic Gold: Is China Alone?

Blog: The Editors, 4 August 2012
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On Thursday 2nd August BBC News published a video report, which featured on the homepage of the BBC News website, entitled 'A look into China's obsession with Olympic Gold'. The report - in general terms a decent piece of journalism, highlighting China's 'notorious medals factories known for their uncompromising, sometimes violent, training methods' - discusses how 'winning was seen as a kind of sacred mission'.

Obsess (verb): Preoccupy or fill the mind of (someone) continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent

In the report, John Sudworth interviews a former athlete, once seen as a potential Chinese Olympic champion, who explains that 'from a very young age we had patriotism drummed into us'. Sudworth comments that 'every gold is ticked off and counted by the medals-tally-obsessed state-run [Chinese] media'. While the report shows the nature by which China won't apparently settle for less than Gold, this examination of China as the extreme of Olympic patriotism should provide ample opportunity to assess the parallels of patriotic fervour in the current Olympic host country. Below is a selection of today's media coverage in the UK which shows a distinct preoccupation of its own with Olympic gold.

An example of 'medals-tally-obsessed state-run media' might be found at Sudworth's own employer. This is the image of the front page of the BBC website:

This is the BBC News website:

Some medals-tallying of its own:

If these 'state-run' examples don't sufficiently demonstrate the UK media's preoccupation with gold medals, the following is a selection of the front pages of UK newspapers from Saturday 4th August:



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