New York Times Upfront

Olympic medal mania

Olympic medal mania

Winning athletes in :he ancient Olympics were rewarded only with the traditional laurel wreaths, but also with money and fame. Many modern Olympic victors also have a shot at fame, like lucrative endorsements and pro contracts.

But since the birth of the modern Olympics in 1896, the chief reward at the time of victory has been a medal. There were no gold medals in 1896 (winners received a silver medal and a crown of olive branches), but since then, athletes have won gold, silver, or bronze medals, for first-, second-, and third-place finishes.

Olympic purists discourage medal counting, but Olympic news always reports medal totals. These graphs show the top 10 medal winners in two Olympics, the 1896 Games in Athens, Greece, and the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, the most recent Games. Use the data to answer the questions below.

1. What was the total number of medals won by American

athletes in the two Olympics shown?

a 48 c 54

b 55 d 59

2. In the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, Norway won seven

silver medals and six bronze medals. How many gold

medals did Norway win in 2002?

a 11 c 8

b 15 d 13

3. The People’s Republic of China, a nation not shown on

the graphs, won half as many medals as Russia in the 2002

Salt Lake City Olympics. How many medals did China

win in 2002?

a 11 c 14

b 8 d 10

4. — received the same number

of medals in the 2002 Winter Olympics as it did in

the 1896 Olympics.

5. The United States won 63 more medals in the 2000

Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, than

it did in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

How many medals did the U.S. win in 2000?

a 76 c 90

b 85 d 97

6. One of the countries shown on the graphs won almost

270 percent more medals in 2002 than it had in the 1896

Olympics. Which nation was it?

7. If you double one nation’s 1896 medal total and add six,

you get its 2002 total. Which nation? —


1. (c) 54

2. (a) 11

3. (b) 8

4. France

5. (d) 97

6. Switzerland

7. Austria

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