by Randy Walker
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s silver medal effort in men’s doubles with Michael Llodra and his quarterfinal finish in singles was enough for France to win Olympic team gold in men’s tennis at the 2012 Olympic tennis competition that finished Sunday at Wimbledon. Maria Sharapova’s silver medal singles performance and the bronze medal effort from Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova paced Russia to earn team gold in women’s tennis. Each nation successfully defended their team golds won at the 2008 Beijing Games.
In case you are thinking you missed something as you read this….you didn’t.
There are no team medals given out at Olympic tennis, but many in the tennis industry wish that there was a way for a team event to be placed into the competition. The solution that I put forward is simple. Award a point for each match victory for each nation in the men’s singles, doubles and women’s singles, doubles competitions. The team with the most points/victories earns the “team gold medal” with No. 2 earning silver, No. 3 earning bronze. It’s an idea I first wrote about four years ago, as you can read here – http://www.tennisgrandstand.com/archives/1507- where I lay out some past examples of team tournaments being decided in this format.
In some recent research I recently conducted on the Olympic tennis competition, there were such tallies that were counted at the 1924 Olympic tennis competition in Paris. The New York Times reported that the U.S. finished the 1924 Olympic tennis competition with 55 points, France with 28 points and Britain with 18, although it makes no mention of how points were awarded and if any “unofficial” medals or awards were distributed.
Here’s how the mythic team competition would have shaken out last week in London.
2012 Olympic Tennis Competition (Mythical Team Results)
GOLD: France (15 points)
SILVER: Spain (10 points)
BRONZE: USA (9 points)
GOLD: Russia (19 points)
SILVER: USA (16 points)
BRONZE: Germany (9 points)
From the 2008 Olympics, there would have been a slight issue in the fact that three teams tied for a bronze medal in the men’s competition – the USA, Spain and Russia all earning eight points, as seen below.
2008 Olympic Tennis Competition (Mythical Team Results)
GOLD: France (12 points)
SILVER: Switzerland (9 points)
BRONZE: USA, Spain, Russia (8 points)
GOLD: Russia (20 points)
SILVER: USA (12 points)
BRONZE: China (11 points)
Previous mythical Olympic team results can be found from the earlier linked story from 2008 here: http://www.tennisgrandstand.com/archives/1507
In the case of two or three-way tie for a team medal, a tie-breaker solution would have to put in place, perhaps total individual medals, most number of gold medals, head-to-head victories, etc. It could be similar to the situation just witnessed at the London Games as U.S. gymnast Ali Raisman was beaten out by a tie-breaker for bronze in the 2012 gymnastics all-around competition when she tied with Russian Aliya Mustafina.
Mixed doubles, new to the Olympic program in 2012, was not figured in these team standings from 2012. The addition of mixed doubles was a celebrated addition to the Olympic program this year at Wimbledon. Perhaps the International Tennis Federation and the International Olympic Committee can work to bring a team format of sorts to the next Olympic Games in Rio for 2016.