I've written before about the arrogance and stupidity of ESPN. This latest example combines both in equal measure.
Watching ESPN this morning, I noticed that their ticker listed the USA as top of the Olympics medal table, ahead of China. This surprised me, so I verified it on ESPN.com, and sure enough:
Yes, ESPN has the USA first based on total medal count, even though every other news and sports outlet outside the USA (yes, I did check them all) including the official site follows the long-standing convention that countries are ordered by number of Golds, then Silvers, then Bronzes.
Of course, listing the table correctly would require Americans to swallow their pride and acknowledge that China is actually leading the table, and on the list of things America is not very good at, accepting defeat gracefully and following international standards are pretty near the top. In fairness to ESPN, I should note that NBC and CBS are equally vain and stupid in their medal tables.
It would be extremely cynical of me, of course, to suggest that American coverage would suddenly see the merits of the international standard if the position were reversed and the USA had more Golds but fewer total medals...