China's Olympians have walloped their American counterparts this past fortnight, capturing 16 more gold medals and ending the global supremacy that US athletes have enjoyed since the collapse of the Soviet Union....but a recession is the end of the world for the US.
It is an outcome that will only deepen the United States' present funk, with pundits sure to compare China's inexorable rise with America's decline, asking when the lines will cross.
The answer is not for a long time - if ever. By almost any measure the US remains in a different league. Its gross domestic product was $13.8trillion last year, dwarfing China's $3.2 trillion. GDP per capita was $46,000 to China's $5,300. Of the world's 30 largest companies, 11 are American and 3 Chinese, according to Fortune magazine.
But what is striking to casual visitors to China, however, is the extent to which its people have adopted the attitudes that made America great - the optimism, dynamism and patriotism, the can-do spirit, the determination to leave the next generation better off than one's own. In three weeks travelling around China last month, I found a country oozing with confidence.