So, who’s winning?

18 08 2008

In an idle moment today, waiting for a plumber that never came, I decided to see just how the number of Olympic gold medals stack up, based on the populations of the respective countries. I only did the gold medal tally (‘cos no-one really cares about who came 2nd or 3rd, right? 😉 ), and only the top five gold medal countries as at 10am Monday August 18, Australian Western Standard Time. (NOTE: Population stats for these countries are taken from http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/idb/summaries.html)

Here’s what I got:

  1. China – 35 gold. Population 1,330,000,000. 1 gold for every 38m people.
  2. United States – 19 gold. Population 303,000,000. 1 gold for every 15.95m people.
  3. Great Britain – 11 gold. Population 82,000,000. 1 gold for every 7.45m people.
  4. Germany – 9 gold. Population 61,000,000. 1 gold for every 6.77m people.
  5. Australia – 8 gold. Population 21,000,000. 1 gold for every 2.65m people.

Taking Australia’s ratio: If [country] was averaging 1 gold for every 2.65m people, they should have [number] golds by now:

  • China – 501
  • US – 114
  • GB – 31
  • Germany – 23
  • Australia – 8

Puts a different spin on it, huh? 😉

Update 25 August 2008:

With the final gold medal results known, here’s how the first table pans out:

  1. China – 51 gold. Population 1,330,000,000. 1 gold for every 26.1m people.
  2. United States – 36 gold. Population 303,000,000. 1 gold for every 8.4m people.
  3. Russia – 23 gold. Population 141,000,000. 1 gold for every 6.1m people.
  4. Great Britain – 19 gold. Population 82,000,000. 1 gold for every 4.3m people.
  5. Germany – 16 gold. Population 61,000,000. 1 gold for every 3.8m people.
  6. Australia – 14 gold. Population 21,000,000. 1 gold for every 1.5m people.

And Jamaica came 13th in the gold medal tally, with 3. With a population of just 2.9m people, that’s 1 gold for every 0.9m people. Actually, it’s 3 gold for just one man—the unbelievable Usain Bolt.


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