The Alternative Olympic Scoreboards

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.

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The final medal count of the 2016 Rio Olympics courtesy of Google

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.

Alternative Olympics medal table

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.

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Every country’s count adjusted for the same population

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.

Every country’s count adjusted for the same GDP

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.

Mapping the Rio Olympics

It’s Olympic time again and the London games feel like they were just yesterday. 4 years have past since the last meet of the sporting elite and we’re more connected geographically than ever.

Gold might be on your mind. Gold medals are certainly on the mind of many athletes from all corners of the world. In the United States, 554 athletes should up to test their mettle and win Olympic glory.

The following maps are interesting representations of the the 2016 Olympic Games


USA Today – Rio Olympics interactive: Where are Team USA athletes from?


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“Where are Team USA athletes from?”


This map classifies the United States into 6 seperate classes depending on how many athletes each state sent to the Olympic Games. Published in USA Today, this interactive map sheds some light on what parts of the country our athletes like to call home.

We can see the Olympic bulwark of California dominated the amount of Olympians sent. The usual suspects; New York, Florida, Texas, and Chicago, the large population centers of the United States, are well represented. Interesting to note is the inclusion of the “WW” designation on the map. These are athletes that are competeing on the behalf of Team USA without actually residing in the country.


Google Trends – Explore realtime Google trends as the Olympic torch travels across Brazil


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The route of the Rio 2016 Olympic torch in Brazil


Google Trends is a great source for data and since day 1 of the Olympics they’ve been highlighting interesting data patterns. This particular compilation of geographic data represents the path the Olympic torch traveled before it arrived in Rio de Janeiro to ceremonially start the Olympic games. The route took over 3 months.

It would be interesting to see how much of the Brazilian population lives with twenty, fifty, and one hundred miles of the torch. The route should bring the festivities to as many people as possible as geographically possible. This type of analysis could be easily done with GIS software.