US has been in top 2 spots in Olympics for over a century. US is a large country with lot of people and hence it is expected.
India on other hand has won only 25 medals throughout all Olympics. Michael Phelps is an American swimmer who has won 26 gold medals in his career. India is equally large and has three times more people that USA. Among those vast number of people it should not be very hard to find someone who can run faster, throw farther and lift heavier than others in the world.
Yet, every Olympics is a sad reminder that as a nation we are pretty pathetic in sports. Once the circus is over we will over-analyze our humiliation. One of the common conclusion would be that “Government is not doing enough”.
The reality is opposite. I think the reason Indians are not getting any medals is because our sports are controlled and funded by government. This needs to stop completely. Part of the reason Cricket thrives in our country is because government does not fund it and people are left to fund themselves.
People pursuing self interest do a better job than government trying to do the same thing.
It might come as a surprise to most people that the money US government spends on their Olympians is 0 dollars. None of those athletes get a penny from tax payers besides the existing public sports infrastructure. A lot of sports infrastructure in USA is built by private parties than government.
People who run USOC have to run to sponsors to get funding. The sponsors pay only if the USOC can convince them that they can win medals. To do a better job of convincing these USOC office bearers then have to travel the whole country finding talent and nurturing it.
Simone Biles is a 19 year old Gymnast and did a historic performance in 2016 Olympics. Given her age she will achieve even more in next one. She does not know who her father was. Her mother is a drug addict and probably rotting in some jail for various other crimes. She is adopted by her grandfather from a foster home.
People who run USOC are not some “great souls”. They earn more than any other athlete. They travel in private jets to venues. They probably know nothing about most of the sports either. But they earn that much because they do a fantastic job of finding talent from 300M American people.
On the contrary all sports federations in India are figuratively owned by some politician. These politicians then force government to fund their sport and the money is spent on his lavish parties and travel. Because even if he does not win a medal he still gets government funding.
I think Indian government must stop funding all the sports. The government must auction off the rights of IOC management to the highest bidder and promise to pay something like 50 crores for every Gold medal any athlete wins.
We will then see smarty pants like Lalit Modi using their talent to hunt best people to win the medals.