Remember how the 1992 “Dream Team” waltzed through the Olympic basketball competition on their way to their gold medal? Fast forward to 2004 when the US lost three times and settled for bronze. Fast forward some more to today. A Sports Illustrated mock NBA draft shows five of the first eight teams taking international players.
What about golf? There are four U.S. players among the top ten, and with Woods dropping fast, that will probably be three soon.
Tennis? The top U.S. player, Mardy Fish, is ranked #10, Roddick is #11, and then you have to scroll down to #26 before finding another American.
Soccer? FIFA has the U.S. ranked 22nd in the world.
The marathon? The first 14 are East African and 65 of the top 100 are Kenyan.
Long distance triathlon? Linsey Corbin, from Montana, is ranked 7th, the only American woman in the top 10. Timothy O’Donnell is tied for tenth among the men.
The most recent international test scores (NAEP) were recently published. In math and reading, U.S. students are in the middle of the pack among students from OECD countries. In science, back of the pack.
People suffering from acute “greatestcountryintheworldhysteria” will look hard to find different competitions we’re winning (personal debt, football by default since hardly anyone else plays it, health care inflation, gun ownership, fossil fuel usage, military spending). While their parochial heads are buried in the sand, more and more of the world supersedes us in classrooms and on athletic fields.
We’re all Tiger Woods now. The rest of the world isn’t the least bit intimidated. All young international students and athletes want is the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with us.