The List: The World’s Worst Olympians
Medal count: 17
Score card: Think of India as the Washington Nationals of Olympic sport. India is by far the worst-performing Olympic country—no matter how you slice it. It’s not for lack of trying. A games participant since 1900, India still ranks behind Nigeria, a country with an economy one twentieth India’s size, in total medals. The country’s athletic ineptitude is so profound that a parliamentarian called for two minutes of silence to “lament the demise of Indian sports” after the squad failed to win any medals in Barcelona in 1992.
Medal count: 10
Score card: In May 2008, Hugo Chávez professed high hopes for his country’s Olympic team, which the Venezuelan president labeled “bearers of the homeland shame and the national pride.” Chávez is sending 100 athletes to Beijing, but if history is any bench mark, the strongman’s ambitions are sure to be dashed. Venezuelans have brought home only as many medals as Trinidad and Tobago, despite winning their first medal in Helsinki in 1952. Georgia, which first medaled at the 1996 Atlanta Games, has already outpaced the Bolivarian Republic. Venezuela has taken home only one gold, and the only Venezuelan woman to earn a medal is Adriana Carmona, who won the bronze for tae kwon do in Athens in 2004.
What’s wrong? Misplaced priorities. In a bizarre turn reminiscent of the film Cool Runnings, Venezuela fielded a male luge team in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. And although the father-son team did hold the prestigious titles of both oldest and youngest male lugers at the games, they didn’t bring