|Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 4-time Olympic medalist|
Numbers are fun.
Almost as fun as the Olympics.
Trivia about countries is fun, too.
Unless you're a globalist.
1. In the 21st century, which nations have won the most medals in the Summer Olympics? (We're counting 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 - it's too early to count 2016.)
- United States: 407
- Russia: 331
- China: 309
- Australia: 191
- Germany: 190
- Great Britain: 170
- France: 146
- Italy: 121
- Japan: 118
- South Korea: 117
2. If you're half-way familiar with sports and current events, you probably weren't too surprised by that list. But here's a more interesting question, which nations have won more medals, per capita, that is, medals adjusting for population?
The average for the world is one-half Olympic medal per one-million population (.5). China, by the way comes in at less than the average (.2). It's been successful largely because it's big.
Hold onto your hat:
- The Bahamas: 8 medals, 21.2
- Jamaica: 37 medals, 13.6
- Grenada: 1 medal, 9.7
- Cuba: 95 medals, 8.5
- Australia (you go, girl): 191 medals, 7.9
- Estonia: 10 medals, 7.6
- Slovenia: 15 medals, 7.3
- Trinidad and Tobago: 9 medals, 6.7
- New Zealand: 31 medals, 6.6
- Belarus: 60 medals, 6.3
Okay, it's a caribbean thing.
I'm choosing second-place Jamaica as the champion because the very small population of the Bahamas (378,000) makes their "win" a bit statistically flukey.
Put dat in yar pipe and smoke eet.
3. You want to exclude "small" countries? Fine. Let's look only at countries with over 10 million population:
- Cuba: 95 medals, 8.5.
- Australia: 191 medals, 7.9.
- The Netherlands: 83 medals, 4.9.
- Greece: 35 medals, 3.2.
- The Czech Republic: 33 medals, 3.1.
- Romania: 62 medals, 3.1.
- Great Britain: 180 medals, 2.6.
- Germany: 190 medals, 2.3.
- Kazakhstan: 41 medals, 2.3.
- South Korea: 117 medals, 2.3.
By comparison, the United States has a medal-to-one-million-population rate of 1.3. Good, but only 47th on the list.
I think the last two lists are surprising and fascinating. I had no idea. And I actually stumped my wife for once, which if you know my wife, is pretty amazing.
Next post, who are the biggest losers? What is the largest country with zero medals? The answer may surprise you.