Thursday, August 9, 2012

Olympic Glory by Country

Just like wealth, murders, and taxes, here is the real medal count by country.

Adding to 'Stories from the Olympics', Slovenia had the early lead. “I’m a little worried about Jamaica,” said the Slovenian Olympic representative at the time. And his concerns were justified.

But he should have been more worried about Grenada. Kirani James won the gold medal in the men’s 400-meter dash, quickly placing his country at the top of the medal list. At 19, James has been setting records since he was 14 years old. Grenada may be hard to catch.

The U.S. is struggling to pass Puerto Rico, but is well ahead of China.

No one caught Grenada. Congratulations! Country of Champion(s)!

The U.S. did pass Puerto Rico, but finished in the middle of the pack—exactly in the middle to be precise. We placed 40th out of 80 countries. So, while we can't wear our 'Slightly above mediocre' Olympic T-shirts, we are the most average in all the world. It kind of feels right considering our pride as the world's melting pot, and the vote of confidence it gives to the fairness of our immigration policies.

Just when I thought the Olympics were over they bring out rhythmic gymnastics. I guess we have to wait until Sunday to find out if the U.S. is the most average nation. They are currently falling behind.

Final UPDATE: 
Peter's right. I wondered why the number of teams went from 80 to 82 and now 85. So any country that wins a medal is above average. Although we probably should calculate the average number of people it takes to win a medal based on the 2012 results. I'm not going to do it, but it would probably be between 2 and 3 million. (Note that Myk calculated medals per world population as one out of about 7 million.) So it would not be unreasonable to discount those countries with populations less than what is expected to win a medal. Anyway, the U.S. did very well. It would not be wrong to break out those "Slightly above mediocre" T-Shirts. We wouldn't even need the "slightly".

You know when you go to Long Beach Island, you always feel more athletic. There is a reason for that. Unbelievably, the top five Olympic medal winning countries are all islands! Four of the five are in the Caribbean! The other is New Zealand.

The second best athletes are in eastern Europe.  Slovenia, Hungary, Georgia, Lithuania, Estonia, Croatia, and Belarus are all in the top 20.

I was trying to come up with stats on whether athletes come from the leisure class or the destitute. Rich countries did reasonably well, while Qatar, which reportedly has the highest per capita income came in 20th. Extreme poverty, like in practically everything else, is not helpful. Only two of the 20 poorest countries in the world (Ethiopia and Afghanistan) were medal winners.


Big Myk said...

I don't see anyone catching Grenada. By my calculations, number two Jamaica has a population about 25 times the size of Grenada's. Therefore, Jamaica would need 25 medals to top Grenada for the coveted first place in the MPC standings. I don't think that, with just a few days left in the Olympics, Jamaica can do it.

I think we have to credit Grenada with a really gutsy and strategically brilliant performance.

The victory is even more impressive when you consider that Grenada has never even placed in this competition before.

Peter H of Lebo said...

You do know that there is far more than 80 countries in the Olympics, 207 in fact. So, USA will be far above average since more than half of the nations do not even achieve a medal.

Big Myk said...

Actually, a good point. That makes U.S. final MPC standing of 49th in the top quarter of all countries participating in the Olympics.

But it makes Grenada's achievement even that much more amazing. Due to some ties, the total number of medals awarded at the 2012 was 962. The total population of the world is estimated at 7,032,000,000. That means, over all, the medals per world population was one out of 7,309,771 people. Grenada was awarded medals per population at a rate of 66 times the world average: a truly astounding accomplishment.

Big Myk said...
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