How would the United States respond at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles? By going back to the old-style, flat-bottomed podium. This has remained the law of the Olympics land ever since, with a couple of exceptions. A photo from the women's team all-around gymnastics medal ceremony in Seoul suggests there may have been some limited tri-leveled podium usage in 1988. And the final bright spot for fans of the three-tiered podium came at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer.
It is time for us to abandon this tradition of unearned equality. The European Gymnastics Championships can get it right. Minor Korean marathons, the World Equestrian Games, international college curling competitions, and British youth gymnastics clubs can all put the second- and third-place finishers at the right height. Even Olympic test events can nail it. It's time for the Olympics to do the same and finally live up to the middle part of that famous motto: "Faster, Higher, Stronger."