Random.
Who Really Won the Olympics?

Medal Tally Per Capita

So the real winners are: The Bahamas? Yes, the tiny country may only have won 2 medals (a gold and a bronze) but divide them up into equal parts between the population of the islands and they'd have the most metal to put on the mantel piece when the dust has settled on this year's Back to the Future Olympics in Athens.

Sure you can probably find this elsewhere on the web but it's fun to figure it out for yourself. Of course the US won the most medals (blah, blah, blah we won't go into the economics of why) but what if you take the populations of the participating countries into consideration? A quick Excel spreadsheet later and the answers are here: Who Really Won the Olympics?

Looking at the highlights of the table here we see some more surprises. The Bahamas are followed by Australia, Cuba, Estonia and Slovenia in the value-for-money stakes. Jamaica also did very well when looking at the results this way, of course here in the UK we've always known the Jamaicans are great athletes. Our shared heritage has meant many West Indians settle here in Britain with a lot to offer in both athletics and football.

Hosts Greece see little change in their ranking using the per Capita method moving from 15th to 10th. Around the 29th to 35th positions we see the largest European countries including Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain and Spain, who all perform badly when viewing the medal tallies in this way.

The US and Japan, usually great athletic powerhouses, do not look so powerful in the new table - both slip dozens of positions.

There are some surprises at the bottom of the table too. Bringing up the rear are countries who, for economic reasons alone, one would not expect to rank well in either versions of the table: Mexico, Colombia, Indonesia and Nigeria. Brazil's dominance of the world's favourite sport - football  unfortunately does not transfer to athletics with only 18 medals to share amongst a population of  184 million. The wooden spoon goes to India with a single silver medal to share between a sixth of the world's population. However, the country whose medal tally is second, is almost bottom when looked at per Capita: China, who although winning 63 medals, has to divide those between 20% of the world's population.

(c) A. C 2004

Highlights: Olympic Medals 2004 Per Capita

Per Capita Rank Medal Rank Rank Increase Country Medals
152+51Bahamas2
24+2Australia49
311+8Cuba27
465+61Estonia3
564+59Slovenia4
634+28Jamaica5
~~~~~
1015+5Greece16
~~~~~
296-23Germany48
308-22Italy32
317-24France33
3240+8Kazakhstan8
3310-23Great Britain30
3412-22Ukraine23
3520-15Spain19
~~~~~
401-39United States103
425-37Japan37
~~~~~
6918-51Brazil10
702-68China63
7160-11Mexico4
7271-1Colombia1
7348-25Indonesia4
7469-5Nigeria2
7566-9India1

Full Table: Olympic Medals 2004 Per Capita

PC Rank Medal Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total

Population

Medals per Million Capita
152Bahamas1012299,6976.67
24Australia1716164919,913,1442.46
311Cuba97112711,308,7642.39
465Estonia01231,341,6642.24
564Slovenia01342,011,4731.99
634Jamaica21252,713,1301.84
759Latvia04042,306,3061.73
813Hungary8631710,032,3751.69
933Bulgaria219127,517,9731.6
1015Greece6641610,647,5291.5
1137Denmark20685,413,3921.48
1226Belarus2671510,310,5201.45
1317Netherlands4992216,318,1991.35
1416Norway50164,574,5601.31
1524New Zealand32053,993,8171.25
1644Croatia12254,496,8691.11
1729Slovakia22265,423,5671.11
1871Trinidad and Tobago00111,096,5850.91
1927Austria24178,174,7620.86
2032Georgia22044,693,8920.85
2114Romania8561922,355,5510.85
2245Lithuania12033,607,8990.83
2342Czech Republic134810,246,1780.78
2419Sweden41278,986,4000.78
2546Switzerland11357,450,8670.67
263Russia27273892143,782,3380.64
2750Azerbaijan10457,868,3850.64
289South Korea91293048,598,1750.62
296Germany1416184882,424,6090.58
308Italy1011113258,057,4770.55
317France119133360,424,2130.55
3240Kazakhstan143815,143,7040.53
3310Great Britain99123060,270,7080.5
3412Ukraine9592347,732,0790.48
3520Spain31151940,280,7800.47
3654United Arab Emirates10012,523,9150.4
3762Finland02025,214,5120.38
3821Canada3631232,507,8740.37
3971Mongolia00112,751,3140.36
401United States353929103293,027,5710.35
4152Israel10126,199,0080.32
425Japan1691237127,333,0020.29
4351Belgium102310,348,2760.29
4461Portugal021310,524,1450.29
4523Poland3251038,626,3490.26
4654Ireland10013,969,5580.25
4749Zimbabwe111312,671,8600.24
4871Eritrea00114,447,3070.22
4958North Korea041522,697,5530.22
5031Taiwan221522,749,8380.22
5141Kenya142732,021,8560.22
5239Chile201315,823,9570.19
5334Uzbekistan212526,410,4160.19
5462Serbia and Montenegro020210,825,9000.18
5566Paraguay01016,191,3680.16
5638Argentina204639,144,7530.15
5766Hong Kong01016,855,1250.15
5822Turkey3341068,893,9180.15
5943South Africa132642,718,5300.14
6025Thailand314864,865,5230.12
6154Dominican Republic10018,833,6340.11
6228Ethiopia232767,851,2810.1
6336Morocco210332,209,1010.09
6429Iran222669,018,9240.09
6569Venezuela002225,017,3870.08
6646Egypt113576,117,4210.07
6754Cameroon100116,063,6780.06
6871Syria001118,016,8740.06
6918Brazil43310184,101,1090.05
702China321714631,298,847,6240.05
7160Mexico0314104,959,5940.04
7271Colombia001142,310,7750.02
7348Indonesia1124238,452,9520.02
7469Nigeria0022137,253,1330.01
7566India01011,065,070,607<0.01

Population Figures are July 2004 estimates, source: CIA Worldbook.

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