The Olympics In Review

August 15, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Now that the Olympics are done and dusted who came out on top? Who disappointed? More populated countries should do better since they have more people who could potentially be star athletes. Richer countries should also do better since they can spend more on facilities and training. Using a country’s GDP and population numbers then, a list of expected medals per country can be created and compared with the actual medal count. Charlotte McDonald reports:

  • Former members of the Soviet Union exceeded expectations. This is likely because of the strong sporting infrastructure left over from the days of communism.
  • Small or low-income countries with a lot of depth in track and field events such as Jamaica and Kenya also did well.
  • The US, UK and China did better than expected – and it shows – they dominated the medal tables.
  • Countries with large populations and relatively large GDPs did badly if their per capita GDP was low. India, Indonesia and Mexico fall into this category.
  • Countries with high income but no sporting tradition did poorly. They include Saudi Arabia and Israel.
  • Countries that focus on the Winter Olympics such as Austria and Switzerland also underperformed.
  • The countries whose success surprised all experts were Iran, Jamaica, and New Zealand.
  • Those who did unexpectedly poorly included Germany, Brazil, and Romania.

The entire article has much more details and full tables. The examples presented here are just a selection of those discussed here.

Source: BBC