The European Union refused to acknowledge the U.S. as the Olympic powerhouse when it declared itself the champion of the medal standings Monday.
The U.S. dominated the Rio Olympics by claiming almost twice as many medals as runner-up China. The U.S. has topped the medal standings in each of the past six Summer Olympics. The 121 medals won in Brazil were the most its ever gotten at a fully attended Olympics.
In a Facebook post Monday morning, the EU tried to steal all the glory.
Aside from the obvious fact that the EU isn’t a country, the way of counting also gives the union several advantages over the U.S.
Most events limit the number of participants from one country to three. Since the European Union consists of 28 countries, it could theoretically line up 84 athletes against three Americans in the same event.
The same goes for team sports, in which each nation is limited to one team. In some sports, such as men’s handball, the EU claimed all three medals. If the U.S. could field three teams in men’s and women’s basketball, among other sports dominated by Americans, it would arguably have a good chance of doing the same.
The post also discredits the U.S. of one medal, as it finished with 121 and not 120.
The caption “Together we’re stronger” can be interpreted as a political message to keep the union intact after the United Kingdom voted to leave in June. With the U.K. likely being out of the EU by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the union can expect to lose 20 percent of its medals.
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