The success of Team GB reaching second place in the Rio Olympic got me curious. I wanted to put it in perspective, in multiple perspectives in fact.
First, how far did Team GB came.
36 in 1996 ! Yes it looks like something happened but still, they were 10+ from the last 70 years ! So getting number 2 is a massive achievement.
We can also see just how consistent the US have been. Americans often like to say it’s the greatest country on Earth, from an Olympic perspective they may be right.
It has been a record breaking in term of number of medals for France. Looking for some context I was interested in the overall number of medals won during the games. It’s growing fast ! Looking at it this way, we should have a record every year…
As always, once you start digging, you get more questions than answers. So how dominant was the most dominant country each games? Here is the percentage of medal won by the winning country:
The 1904 games may not have been the most exciting ones with USA wining as much as 85% of all the medals. I guess Saint Louis was too far for everybody else to join… But overall happy to see the trend, looks like more and more countries are getting better and better results.
In my quest for context, I was interested to look at a rank that takes into account some characteristics of the countries. Life expectancy didn’t move enough, and is quite close for each top 20 countries. But looking at number of medals per capita gets a very different story:
With this metric Team GB and France are doing well, but Jamaica and New-Zealand are the team to beat !
Unfortunately I only found a data set for population since 1960, so it reduces the time window, happy to redo the chart if anyone has a link with the info from 1896.