The Winter Olympics have begun! Sports such as alpine skiing and short track speed skating have captured the attention of people from all over the world. Will the United States, Russia or Australia take the gold medal? These are three of the many countries that host athletes with exceptional talent. As of today, the second day of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the United States leads the way with two gold medals, while Russia comes is next with one gold medal, and Australia has not yet earned a gold medal.
Interestingly, both the Australian and Russian governments fund Olympic athletes, while the United States government does not. The Russian government will pay $50,000 for each Russian gold medal, while the Australian government actually provides a great deal of funding to Olympic athletes each year (the budget increases on Olympic years). On the contrary, the United States provides absolutely no government funding to Olympic athletes. While other countries around the world take great pride in their Olympic athletes and support their successes, the United States does not. Yet the United States is currently ahead in gold medal counts! Could it be that we are such a wealthy nation that individual support covers the needs of Olympic athletes? Or could it be that American athletes simply have access to the resources they need to be successful and compete for the sheer thrill of it?