|2||27||23||17||67||GB & NI (65m)|
|8||9||3||9||21||S. Korea (51m)|
Everyone’s raving about how well the GB team has done in the Olympics, but it’s a big country, both by population and level of development. It should do well. Playing with the table from the BBC Olympics website can show up the results on a different light. The UK population is 65 million – but, in fact, that only ranks 21st in the world; China comes top with 1.3 billion, followed by India, the US (324 million), Indonesia and Brazil (the host nation, which came in 13th by gold medals).
So, to come 2nd in Rio is really good by Britain’s population size. But, in terms of population, who are the runaway successes? Well, Jamaica is the one, whether by golds per head of population or overall medals, it’s first or second. Of course, Jamaica has Usain Bolt so it comes to mind as a small country that’s done well. But its great rival in the medals per head of population stakes was a surprise to me. Australia? No. Hungary? It’s up there, at number 4. It turns out that Croatia and New Zealand (that’ll makes the Aussies wince!) join Jamaica in the top three, whether by golds or total medals.
|Rank by golds||Country||Population||Gold||Silver||Bronze||Total||Golds/100m pop|
By golds/head, Britain (7th, 65m pop.) is the only big country (in my definition, population over 50 million); and again is the only big representative (7th) in terms of total medals/head. It seems Britain has been able to do in Olympic terms what it does so successfully with mobile phone chips, books, jet engines and Formula 1 cars.
|Rank by golds||Country||Population (m)||Gold||Silver||Bronze||Total||Medals/100m pop|
Another potential measure is GDP per head – gross domestic product or the amount of goods a nation makes every year divided by its population. Here, the top five nations are Qatar, Luxembourg, Macau, Liechtenstein and Bermuda. All no-hopers at Rio – you’d have thought being rich would help you be good at sport because you can pay for the kit and training, but it looks like it just makes you lazy. The only top 10 medal country near the top by GDP is Australia (14th by GDP, 10th in Rio). The US comes in at 19 (1 at Rio); Germany 28 (5 at Rio), Britain at 39 (2 at Rio), New Zealand at 49, Croatia 83 and Jamaica 140. So there again, Jamaica, Croatia, Britain, New Zealand and Croatia are all punching well above their GDP weight.
One surprising statistic concerns the county of Yorkshire in England. It has a population of 5.4 million people, but Olympic athletes from there have won 5 golds and 14 medals overall at Rio (5/5/4). That would place Yorkshire 17th in the overall Olympics medals table, just below Jamaica but ahead of Croatia and New Zealand. In terms of golds/head (95), it would displace New Zealand in third place, and by medals/head (265) it would displace Croatia to take third place again. At the London Olympics, it would have come an incredible 12th had it been a separate country!
China is the massive loser given that it is such a massive country, but then it is down at 113 in GDP/head – but still well ahead of Jamaica.
So, there it is – the real Olympic stars are Jamaica, Croatia and New Zealand, with Britain the star among the big states.
|bygolds||Country||pop (m)||gold||silver||bronze||total||gold/100m pop||medals/100m pop|