Monday, October 05, 2009

Geography of the Summer and Winter Olympics

First off, congratulations to Rio de Janeiro for winning the ability to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. This makes the XXXI Olympic Games the first one to be hosted in South America. This fact made Catholicgauze interested in other geographic breakdowns of the games.

Here is a breakdown of countries that have hosted the games, as well as continental, hemispherical, and cultural breakdowns from 1896 to 2016:

Countries and Frequency of Hosting the Summer Olympic Games

United States

4

United Kingdom

3

Australia

2

France

2

Germany

2

Greece

2

Belgium

1

Brazil

1

Canada

1

China

1

Finland

1

Italy

1

Japan

1

Mexico

1

Netherlands

1

South Korea

1

Spain

1

Sweden

1

USSR

1


List does not count the canceled 1916 Berlin, 1940 Tokyo/Helsinki, and 1944 London Games. Also, 1906 Athens Games not counted as well.

Continental, Hemispherical, and Cultural Realms

Europe

16

Western Hemisphere

7

Non-Europe/European Cultural Realm

3

Southern Hemisphere

2


*Non-European/European Cultural Realm are People's Republic of China, Japan, and South Korea

Just for fun I decided to look at the winter games, too:

Countries and Frequency of Hosting the Winter Olympic Games

US

4

France

3

Switzerland

2

Japan

2

Norway

2

Italy

2

Austria

2

Canada

2

Germany

1

Bosnia

1

Russia

1


Continental, Hemispherical, and Cultural Realms

Europe

14

Western Hemisphere

6

Non-Europe/European Cultural Realm

2

Southern Hemisphere

0


Two things are clear when looking at the statistical geography.

First, there have been no Winter Games in the Southern Hemisphere. While the Southern Hemisphere is warmer overall, there are areas in South America and Australia/New Zealand where the climate can support the games.

Second, Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia have yet to host the games at all. While the Middle East has its own problems that need to be solved before games can even be considered there, South Africa is hosting the World Cup and success here could prove that Africa is ready for hosting the games. As for Asia, India may one day join China and Japan in hosting games.

Until then, let us all unite in the spirit of competition (hey, what the?!) and may the best men and women win!



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