1. USA: USA! USA!
2. Canada: USA! US– OK, no. But close enough.
3. Mexico: North America! North America!
4. Lithuania: Two great-grandparents. Not a huge contender, though surprisingly strong in, of all things, basketball.
5. Switzerland: One great-grandfather, distant relatives still living there. Seem to turn up in rowing and equestrian events.
6. Ireland: One great-great grandmother, but it’s a dominant gene. Possibly moot, because I don’t think I’ve seen them in any finals yet.
7. Britain: Pretty much all the rest of my ancestors. Still, hard for me to really get behind.
8. Any African or Caribbean team in a non-running event.
9. Any non-African or Caribbean team in a running event.
10. Any country that has never gotten a medal in an event before.
11. Japan: They seem nice.
And a few countries I am, unfairly or not, consistently rooting against:
1. Russia: Because I was a kid in the eighties and, even though they have faded as an Olympic power to something around the level of Austria, I still get a little thrill when they lose. Ungenerous? Maybe. But hey, guess who lost the Cold War? Suckers!
2. China: I feel a little bad about this one, because I’m pretty sure it’s partially driven by NBC’s desire to set up a rivalry at these games, because anger=ratings. But I still can’t get behind them. Partly because of their almost Yankees-like determination to purchase as many gold medals as possible, and partly because I kind of suspect that if they thought they could find a way to attach a rocket pack to a three-year-old, the hundred meter dash would never be the same.
3. Germany: I just don’t seem to like Germany.