With the end of the 31st Olympiad, another chapter is closed in the book of international sporting. While the games primary function is international bonding and celebrating sport and athleticism, the resulting medal tally draws quite a bit of attention.
The above table is the medal count you’re probably familiar with. The countries are listed in descending order by number of golds with silver medals acting as a tie-breaker and bronze functioning as a tie-breaker for silver counts.
Google Trends set up a medal count that takes the differing demographics of the participating countries and ranks them according to their performance under these alternative metrics.
You might here some people throwing around the “per capita” line of reasoning when considering the medal count. This takes into account the population of countries and contrasts that with the medal count.
According to this ranking the Bahamas is the winner of the “per capita Olympics”. With a total of 1 gold and a population of 377,374, the Bahamas gold count would be fifty times as much if the count was adjusted for population. Jamaica also makes an appearance in this particular top 10 list. With a larger population, you will naturally have a larger pool of athletes. Some will argue that this gives countries with large populations like the United States, China, and Russia a talent advantage.
In this metric, the count is adjusted for every countries GDP, gross domestic product. This is the capacity of a country to produce goods and capital. We can see that Fiji’s 1 gold goes a long way in this metric. Fiji’s GDP annually is $3.855 billion dollars. With the relatively smaller pool of money, the nation will have relatively less to spend on facilities and sporting programs compared to the >$17 trillion-dollar GDP of the United States. The collegiate sports programs are a large part of fielding the United State’s Olympic athletes and without these resources and capital, the argument of value per medal can be made. Kosovo makes an interesting appearance at the 11th position in this graph.
Other metrics on the sites include adjusting the count for Google search volume per country, the amount of fans, and a healthy eating metric. These are new ways to interpret demographics and public data to provide different perspectives on the results of the games.