Olympic Medal Count Per Capita: Norway Wins

In related news, China still leads the world in population with India a close second.

“It was my understanding that there would be no math.”

– Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford on Saturday Night Live

I am a dual citizen: USA and Finland. I enjoy watching the Olympics. But when the USA faces Finland, I generally root for Finland. Why? The USA has a population of 304 million, Finland 5.3 million (about the same as Minnesota). And I typically root for the underdog.

This is why “medal counts” have always rubbed me the wrong way. Is it really unexpected that the world’s most populous nations win the most medals? What is interesting to me is medals per capital.

Based on population-adjusted medal counts, Norway was the clear winner of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Finland finished 6th, Canada 8th, USA 20th, China 26th (last).

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total Medals Population, Millions Medals Per Million Rank, Total Medals Rank, Population Rank, Medals Per Millions
Norway 9 8 6 23 4.77 4.82 4 22 1
Austria 4 6 6 16 8.34 1.92 5 18 2
Slovenia 0 2 1 3 2.04 1.47 18 25 3
Sweden 5 2 4 11 9.22 1.19 8 17 4
Switzerland 6 0 3 9 7.63 1.18 11 19 5
Finland 0 1 4 5 5.31 0.94 15 21 6
Latvia 0 2 0 2 2.27 0.88 23 24 7
Canada 14 7 5 26 33.3 0.78 3 11 8
Estonia 0 1 0 1 1.34 0.75 24 26 9
Croatia 0 2 1 3 4.43 0.68 18 23 10
Czech Republic 2 0 4 6 10.4 0.58 13 15 11
Slovakia 1 1 1 3 5.41 0.55 18 20 12
Netherlands 4 1 3 8 16.4 0.49 12 13 13
Germany 10 13 7 30 82.1 0.37 2 5 14
Belarus 1 1 1 3 9.68 0.31 18 16 15
South Korea 6 6 2 14 48.6 0.29 7 9 16
France 2 3 6 11 62 0.18 8 6 17
Poland 1 3 2 6 38.1 0.16 13 10 18
Australia 2 1 0 3 21.4 0.14 18 12 19
United States 9 15 13 37 304 0.12 1 2 20
Russia 3 5 7 15 142 0.11 6 3 21
Italy 1 1 3 5 59.9 0.08 15 8 22
Kazakhstan 0 1 0 1 15.7 0.06 24 14 23
Japan 0 3 2 5 128 0.04 15 4 24
Great Britain 1 0 0 1 61.4 0.02 24 7 25
China 5 2 4 11 1326 0.01 8 1 26

But, like Chevy Chase as President Ford, most people don’t want to be confused with math.

One Reply to “Olympic Medal Count Per Capita: Norway Wins”

  1. It has been suggested by http://twitter.com/eachmorning/status/9882522069 that my logic is flawed:

    .@ErikJHeels Hmmm – I think your logic is flawed: You treat gold, silver & bronze as equiv – a huge hole. Try 3,2,1 pts resp. & recalc.

    Actually, it’s not http://twitter.com/ErikJHeels/status/9885728172:

    @eachmorning I’m using the same “logic” that the Olympic committee uses: http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-medals/

    But if you calculated weighted medal counts (3 points for gold, 2 for silver, 1 for bronze), the standings are nearly identical, and Norway still wins in a landslide:

    Country Gold Silver Bronze Total Weighted Medals Population, Millions Weighted Medals Per Million Rank, Total Weighted Medals Rank, Population Rank, Weighted Medals Per Millions
    Norway 9 8 6 49 4.77 10.27 4 22 1
    Austria 4 6 6 30 8.34 3.6 6 18 2
    Switzerland 6 0 3 21 7.63 2.75 10 19 3
    Sweden 5 2 4 23 9.22 2.49 8 17 4
    Slovenia 0 2 1 5 2.04 2.45 21 25 5
    Canada 14 7 5 61 33.3 1.83 3 11 6
    Latvia 0 2 0 4 2.27 1.76 23 24 7
    Estonia 0 1 0 2 1.34 1.49 25 26 8
    Finland 0 1 4 6 5.31 1.13 18 21 9
    Croatia 0 2 1 5 4.43 1.13 21 23 10
    Slovakia 1 1 1 6 5.41 1.11 18 20 11
    Netherlands 4 1 3 17 16.4 1.04 12 13 12
    Czech Republic 2 0 4 10 10.4 0.96 14 15 13
    Germany 10 13 7 63 82.1 0.77 2 5 14
    South Korea 6 6 2 32 48.6 0.66 5 9 15
    Belarus 1 1 1 6 9.68 0.62 18 16 16
    Australia 2 1 0 8 21.4 0.37 15 12 17
    France 2 3 6 18 62 0.29 11 6 18
    Poland 1 3 2 11 38.1 0.29 13 10 19
    United States 9 15 13 70 304 0.23 1 2 20
    Russia 3 5 7 26 142 0.18 7 3 21
    Italy 1 1 3 8 59.9 0.13 15 8 22
    Kazakhstan 0 1 0 2 15.7 0.13 25 14 23
    Japan 0 3 2 8 128 0.06 15 4 24
    Great Britain 1 0 0 3 61.4 0.05 24 7 25
    China 5 2 4 23 1326 0.02 8 1 26

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