Sports

Um, a Chinese TV Station Claimed Taiwan's Medals as China's. It Doesn't Work Like That

Oh boy.
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The Olympics is over, but the drama clearly isn’t. While some countries like the Philippines are still on a celebratory high, others are less than pleased with the outcome of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Cue the drama.

Tokyo 2020 ended with the United States ranking first with a total of 39 gold medals. The American athletes also took home the biggest medal haul at 113 medals, including 41 silver, and 33 bronze.

At the Olympics, country rankings are based on the total number of gold medals, not the total medal count (including silver and bronze). The U.S. beat China for the top spot by just one gold medal, which no doubt left the competitive country a little peeved. So much so that apparently, a Chinese state-controlled broadcaster decided to, um, correct the medal count.

According to Yahoo! Sports and The Free Beacon, state-sponsored China Central Television released a more, how do we say, inclusive version of the Olympic medal tally on Weibo. The “revised” version added the hard-earned medals of Taiwan and Hong Kong to China’s medal count, which brings up the country's total haul to 42 gold medals, thereby beating the U.S. for the top spot at Tokyo 2020. They even added Macau to the mix, to you know, be fair.

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China that has its own National Olympic Committee and competes separately from the mainland, while Taiwan, is, well, let's just say it's complicated. 

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Anything to beat the U.S., right?

Taiwan News reported that the incorrect tally made the rounds on Weibo, with some Chinese users going so far are to say, “Congratulations to the Chinese delegation for ranking first in gold medals and the total number of points." But there were reportedly just as many on the Chinese social media platform criticizing the fake tally, with one user joking, "Taiwan was forcibly recovered by the landlord."

Of course, China isn’t the only one guilty of misrepresenting medal tallies at the Olympics. American media, including even The New York Times, were notorious for posting total medal tallies on social media to make it appear as if the U.S.A. was in the lead before they beat China. Only gold medal tallies are considered by the Olympics committee as total medal tallies have no bearing in country rankings.

Politics has long played a part in the background of the Olympics, as made clear by the fact that the International Olympic Committee requires Taiwan, which is an independent country, to compete in the games as “Chinese Taipei.” China has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan, going so far as to convince the IOC to bar Taiwan's flag and anthem from the games. Instead, Taiwan plays under a different flag, anthem, and name at the Olympics—Chinese Taipei. Even the athletes are in on it as a Chinese badminton Olympian that settled for a silver congratulated the gold medalist, who was from Taiwan, with three Chinese flag emojis.

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Felix Herrera
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