Just a quick note and reference to this Nate Silver post in which he examines the Olympic medal trends over the past few decades (away from Europe and towards North America and Asia) and concludes that while a centrally planned economy may be bad for many things it is quite effective for Olympics results.
I should add my own caveat however that while it’s true that the Soviet East German programs are gone and therefor those countries can no longer dominate, it’s also true that the US and the rest of the world have taken a larger interest in these sports. Curling apparently got very good television ratings this time around. For whatever reason. And now a generation of 6 year olds dream of the day they can take up their brooms and wiggle them more intensely when their teammate yells “hard!”
Canada beat us in the medal round of Hockey today. Damn that Obama!