Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Geography of Summer Olympics Medal Winners

In a few weeks London will host the 2012 Summer Olympics.  This event will reinforce Europe's hold on being the primary host of the Summer Olympic games.

Like my 2010 post about the geography of Winter Olympics medal winners, I decided to take a look at Summer Olympics medal winners.  The trends are analyzed below the winners table:



Gold Silver Bronze Total
USA 929 729 638 2296
USSR 395 319 296 1010
UK 207 255 253 715
Germany 191 217 240 648
France 191 212 233 636
Italy 191 157 174 522
Sweden 142 160 173 475
Hungary 159 141 159 459
Australia 131 137 164 432
East Germany 153 129 127 409
PR China 163 117 105 385
Japan 123 112 126 361
Russia 108 97 112 317
Finland 101 83 115 299
Romania 86 89 117 292
Poland 62 80 119 261
Canada 58 94 108 260
Netherlands 71 79 96 246
West Germany 56 74 98 228
South Korea 68 74 73 215
Bulgaria 51 84 77 212
Cuba 67 64 63 194
Switzerland 45 70 66 181
Denmark 41 63 66 170
Norway 54 48 42 144
Czechoslovakia 49 49 45 143
Belgium 37 51 51 139
Spain 34 49 30 113
Unified Team 45 38 29 112
Greece 30 42 36 108
Ukraine 28 22 46 96
Brazil 20 25 46 91
Yugoslavia 28 31 31 90
New Zealand 36 15 35 86
Austria 18 33 35 86
Turkey 37 23 22 82
Kenya 22 29 24 75
South Africa 20 24 26 70
Argentina 17 23 26 66
Belarus 10 19 35 64
Jamaica 13 25 17 55
Mexico 12 18 25 55
Iran 11 15 22 48
North Korea 10 12 19 41
Kazakhstan 9 16 14 39
Ethiopia 18 6 14 38
Czech Republic 10 12 11 33
Estonia 9 8 14 31
Indonesia 6 9 10 25
Egypt 7 7 10 24
Nigeria 2 9 12 23
Ireland 8 7 8 23
Portugal 4 7 11 22
Morocco 6 5 10 21
Thailand 7 4 10 21
India 9 4 7 20
Slovakia 7 8 5 20
Mongolia 2 7 10 19
Republic of China 2 6 11 19
Georgia 5 2 11 18
Uzbekistan 4 5 8 17
Croatia 3 6 8 17
Latvia 2 11 4 17
Azerbaijan 4 3 9 16
Lithuania 4 4 8 16
Slovenia 3 5 7 15
Algeria 4 2 8 14
Trinidad and Tobago 1 5 8 14
Chile 2 7 4 13
Australasia 3 4 5 12
Colombia 1 3 7 11
Venezuela 1 2 8 11
Bahamas 4 2 4 10
Uruguay 2 2 6 10
Pakistan 3 3 4 10
Armenia 1 1 7 9
Philippines 0 2 7 9
Russian Empire 1 4 3 8
Zimbabwe 3 4 1 8
Tunisia 2 2 3 7
Israel 1 1 5 7
Uganda 1 3 2 6
Puerto Rico 0 1 5 6
Moldova 0 2 3 5
Cameroon 3 1 1 5
Iceland 0 2 2 4
Costa Rica 1 1 2 4
Peru 1 3 0 4
Dominican Rep 2 1 1 4
Malaysia 0 2 2 4
Bohemia (AH Empire) 0 1 3 4
Nambia 0 4 0 4
Lebanon 0 2 2 4
Ghana 0 1 3 4
Serbia 0 1 2 3
Panama 1 0 2 3
Syria 1 1 1 3
Krygyzstan 0 1 2 3
Haiti 0 1 1 2
British West Indies 0 0 2 2
Serbia and Montenegro 0 2 0 2
Ecuador 1 1 0 2
Suriname 1 0 1 2
Mozambique 1 0 1 2
Luxembourg 1 1 0 2
Hong Kong 1 1 0 2
Zambia 0 1 1 2
Vietnam 0 2 0 2
Sri Lanka 0 2 0 2
Singapore 0 2 0 2
Tanzania 0 2 0 2
Qatar 0 0 2 2
Tajikistan 0 1 1 2
Eritrea 0 0 1 1
Guyana 0 0 1 1
Iraq 0 0 1 1
Kuwait 0 0 1 1
Nigeria 0 0 1 1
Netherlands Antilles 0 1 0 1
UAE 1 0 0 1
Djibouti 0 0 1 1
Ivory Coast 0 1 0 1
Bermuda 0 0 1 1
Barbados 0 0 1 1
US Virgin Islands 0 1 0 1
Sudan 0 1 0 1
Togo 0 0 1 1
Burundi 1 0 0 1
Paraguay 0 1 0 1
Afghanistan 0 0 1 1
Macedonia 0 0 1 1
Senegal 0 1 0 1

Like the Winter Olympics, the Summer Olympic results are hardly cosmopolitan.
  • Despite only having ten percent of the world's population, Europe has won 60% of all medals.  This is mostly due to European sports being played at the Olympics.
  • The United States and Canada have won 18% of all medals.  This is despite the United States' individual dominance of the game.
  • Asia, having 55% of the world's total population, has won only 9.6% of all medals.
  • Africa has only received two percent of all medals.
  • Middle, South, and Caribbean Americas have won 2.5% of all medals.

However, things are changing.  Much of Europe's wins came during the Cold War-era which saw heavy use of steroids from countries like Poland, Romania, and Hungary.  These countries are lucky if they do well now as the Olympics have clamped down on steroid use.  Meanwhile, the People's Republic of China has only competed in the last eight Olympics but has managed to become the eleventh best overall, and will soon surpass the dead East Germany for medals.  Asia will grow along with the People's Republic in the medal count as these countries finally master European-made games.  Africa is also growing its medal count with the increasing number track and field games.

Due to the ability of warm weather around the world and the proliferation of summer sports, the Summer Olympics will become the world's gaming event as the Winter Olympics, with the presence of many mountain sports, will remain a European stronghold.

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