11 Points

11 Countries That Have Never Won an Olympic Medal To Cheer For In 2012
written by Sam Greenspan

Sure, when you watch the Olympics these next few weeks, you could root for the athletes from your country. Or from the country your family originates from. Or whomever's playing the U.S. men's basketball team. You could. But let's root a little deeper.

There are currently 204 nations that are eligible to participate in the Olympics and 80 of them have never won a medal. Not in the Summer or Winter Olympics. Not a beautiful gold, a so-so silver or even a shameful bronze.

This list features 11 of those countries I've picked as underdogs worthy of your rooting interest in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Here are those 11 countries and my reasoning as to why you should cheer for them. (Politics aside, of course. We're in it for the sport, not the geopolitical resonance.)

  1. Ricardo fights.
    Guam - 8 athletes.

    Why root for them? Because they've got a guy competing who weighs 481 pounds. Back before the 2008 Olympics I wrote about 11 Olympic Sports Morbidly Obese People Could Win... and I excluded judo. (I don't remember why. Four years feels like a lifetime ago.) Ricardo Blas Jr. is competing for Guam in judo (in the 100 kg and up division, obviously). He's the heaviest Olympian in history. Are you not going to seek out judo now on CNBC or whatever network they relegate it to JUST to see this guy go at it?

  2. Bangladesh - 5 athletes in London.

    Why root for them? Because they're the eighth-largest country in the world by population (152 million people) and have never won anything. That's more than 2 percent of the world's population living in a country that's never brought one home.

    Meanwhile here in the U.S., we've won 2,549 medals; that's roughly one medal for every 123,185 Americans. That doesn't sound whopping -- but I'd compare it to filling the Grand Canyon two-fifths of the way up, which doesn't sound that impressive, but keep in mind it's a very big canyon.

  3. Chad - 3 athletes.

    Why root for them? Because guys named Chad win events like rowing, while actual people of Chad with names like Ngarlemdana never win shit.


  4. I remember this game being more boring than it should've been.
    Angola - 35 athletes.

    Why root for them? Because their most notable Olympic highlight to date was when Charles Barkley gratuitously elbowed one of their basketball players in 1992 en route to an approximately 250-point Dream Team stomping. They're sending a team to compete in women's team handball this year -- seems like a great little backdoor niche where they can grab a medal.

  5. Cambodia - 6 athletes.

    Why root for them? Because right now they're pretty sure the New England Patriots once went 19-0, the Buffalo Bills are four-time Super Bowl champions and the Oklahoma City Thunder thwarted the Heat's quest for its first of eight titles. So it would be really cool if they could get the chance to celebrate an actual victory with some accurate t-shirts.


  6. Think he's trademarked "Fear the unibrow" in Kiribati?
    Kiribati - 3 athletes.

    Why root for them? Because their weightlifter could arguably beat out Anthony Davis for Best Olympic Unibrow when they give out the superlatives at the end.

  7. Bolivia - 8 athletes.

    Why root for them? Because they've been trying since the 1936 Olympics -- the one where Jesse Owens made Hitler eat his hat -- and still haven't won one. That's 76 years of futility. We're talking Golden State Warriors territory there.

  8. Brunei - 3 athletes.

    Why root for them? Because they're sending a woman for the first time -- instead of doing what they used to do and sending the Sultan's brother to compete for them. (Seriously.) Her name is Maziah Mahusin, she's competing in track in the women's 400 meters, and... well... she only got in because of the Olympic program that allows countries to enter "unqualified athletes in [track] and swimming." But it would be a real shock-the-world moment if she won.

    More on the Sultan's brother. His name is Prince Jefri (insert Joffer here). He competed in men's skeet shooting in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and finished at the bottom of the pack. Also, this guy embezzeled $14.8 billion from the country, ran a harem, has three wives, and still owns a yacht simply named Tits. Oil, man. Oil.


  9. The pride of Fiji?
    Fiji - 9 athletes.

    Why root for them? Because of all the countries on the list, they have the best shot at actually winning a medal. And it's thanks to a 49-year-old carpetbagger from Australia.

    As I'm to understand it, Glenn Kable was one of Australia's best shooters (Duck Hunt, not basketball), but was left off the 2000 Olympic team. So he moved to Fiji, started the Shooting Association of Fiji, and now competes for them. He didn't medal for Fiji in 2004 or 2008, but has been on a bit of a hot streak lately, so this could be his year.

  10. Honduras - 31 athletes.

    Why root for them? Because if you're a country that's athletic enough to have your men's soccer team qualify, you should be athletic enough to dig up someone who can snatch up a quick medal in rhythmic gymnastics or the new women's boxing event or something. (Yes, sexists, they added foxy boxing to the Olympics for 2012. Yes, the one where two chicks wail on each other. No, it won't happen on a tennis court.)

  11. Burkina Faso - 5 athletes.

    Why root for them? Because they never won anything back when the country was called Upper Volta. Which is an amazing name, as it somehow simultaneously sounds like it's describing female genitalia, an indie rock band, a constellation, and a country Kurt Vonnegut would've made up.


This post was originally published on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Sports.

Facebookery?
11 Strangest Former Olympic Sports

11 Really Strange Olympics Facts

11 Olympic Sports That Morbidly Obese People Could Win

11 Mind Blowing (and Often Offensive) High School Mascots

11 Ugliest NBA Uniforms of the 1990s

Archive of all Sports posts
11 Pairs of Classic Movies That Were Surprisingly Released on the Same Day ('90-'94)
11 Pairs of Classic Movies That Were Surprisingly Released on the Same Day ('90-'94)
Published Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Movies
11 One-Hit Wonders Whose One Hit Was a Cover
11 One-Hit Wonders Whose One Hit Was a Cover
Published Friday, June 9, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Music
11 Nintendo Video Game Systems, Ranked By How Many Games They Got
11 Nintendo Video Game Systems, Ranked By How Many Games They Got
Published Friday, June 2, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Games
11 Songs That Just List Off a Whole Bunch of Cities
11 Songs That Just List Off a Whole Bunch of Cities
Published Friday, May 19, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Music
11 Coincidental Wardrobe Choices That are Evidence of Cosmic Intervention
11 Coincidental Wardrobe Choices That are Evidence of Cosmic Intervention
Published Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Misc
11 Pieces of Advice For Anyone Cutting the Cord
11 Pieces of Advice For Anyone Cutting the Cord
Published Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 11:00:00 AM under the category TV
Full Archive
Follow
11 Points

Mailing list


Twitter


Facebook


YouTube


Pinterest


RSS