Politics

If you become involved in the political process, you can help to determine the shape of the world you live in, both locally and globally.

If you don’t, someone else will do it – and you may not like the result.

 

The Other Olympics Medals Chart

ATHENS, 2004

The athletes have competed, the winners have rejoiced, and the anthems have been played. The big countries have won lots of medals, and the smaller countries have won fewer, with their results displayed in the Olympic Medals Chart for all to see.

But is the Chart really fair? What kind of justice is it, when the USA, with 293 million people, has 1,000 times more people to choose from than tiny Bahamas, with just 300,000 people?

If we take population into account, and rank the athletic achievements of the nations by how many medals they win for every million people, a very different table emerges. Here are the new "Medals per Population" winning nations:

gold - Bahamas bahamas

silver - Australia australia

bronze - Cuba cuba

These nations are followed by Estonia, Slovenia, Jamaica, Latvia and Hungary. The traditional big medal winners come in lower: Russia is 26th, the USA 40th, and China 70th.

It is fascinating how consistent the results are compared to Sydney, when the Bahamas came 1st, Australia 4th and Cuba 6th. In Sydney, Russia came in 30th, USA 46th, and China 75th.

But is population alone a good measure of national athletic performance? What about the amount of money that a nation can devote to its athletes? I don’t have the statistics for athletics budgets for each nation, so the next best is GDP. When we rank the nations by how many billion dollars of GDP are needed to generate each medal, the results are even more interesting. (See Table B).

Here are the new "Medals per GDP" winners:

gold - Cuba cuba

silver - Jamaica jamaica

bronze - Bahamas bahamas

They are followed by Georgia, Eritrea, Belarus and North Korea. Russia comes in 29th, China 66th and the USA 68th. Clearly, money is not the answer. If money was the secret to athletic success, the USA, with close to the world’s highest GDP per person, would surely come in the top 8 nations, not the bottom 8, as it does. In Cuba, you need $1.17 billion of GDP to win a medal. In the USA, you need 100 times more per medal, at $106 billion.

So what is the secret of athletic success, on the medal podium? First, it helps to be a small nation. The smaller nations have proportionately much more success than the big ones. Do the athletes of smaller nations generate a bigger "cheer factor", and take more pride in their country than the athletes of the big nations, where the power and distance of the government takes the edge off national joy? Who knows? If the athletic achievements of the world’s nations are to be compared, we should score for the acievements of every athlete who entered the Games, not just the medal winners.

So ponder these charts, and enjoy!

Guy Dauncey (Victoria, Canada)
www.earthfuture.com
and Bill Briner (Australia)
www.justpeaceqld.org

 TABLE A: Athens 2004 Olympic Medal-Winning Nations Ranked by "Million People per Medal"

COUNTRY

Medals

Population

Million people per Medal

Rank A

 

(Rank in 2000)

Bahamas

2

299,697

0.15

1

(1)

Australia

49

19,913,144

0.41

2

(4)

Cuba

27

11,308,764

0.42

3

(6)

Estonia

3

1,341,664

0.45

4

(8)

Slovenia

4

2,011,473

0.50

5

(24)

Jamaica

5

2,713,130

0.54

6

(5)

Latvia

4

2,306,306

0.58

7

(---)

Hungary

17

10,032,375

0.59

8

(10)

Bulgaria

12

7,517,973

0.63

9

(11)

Greece

16

10,647,529

0.67

10

(19)

Denmark

8

5,413,392

0.68

11

(22)

Belarus

15

10,310,520

0.69

12

(12)

Netherlands

22

16,318,199

0.74

13

(13)

Norway

6

4,574,560

0.76

14

(7)

New Zealand

5

3,993,817

0.80

15

(23)

Slovakia

6

5,423,567

0.90

16

(25)

Croatia

5

4,496,869

0.89

17

(38)

Trinidad and Tobago

1

1,096,585

1.10

18

(9)

Austria

7

8,174,762

1.17

19

(44)

Georgia

4

4,693,892

1.17

20

(20)

Romania

19

22,355,551

1.18

21

(21)

Lithuania

3

3,607,899

1.20

22

(14)

Czech Rep

8

10,246,178

1.28

23

(26)

Sweden

7

8,986,400

1.28

24

(15)

Switzerland

5

7,450,867

1.49

25

(18)

Russia

92

143,782,338

1.56

26

(30)

Azerbaijan

5

7,868,385

1.57

27

(43)

Korea, South

30

48,598,175

1.62

28

(32)

Germany

48

82,424,609

1.72

29

(28)

Italy

32

58,057,477

1.81

30

(31)

France

33

60,424,213

1.83

31

(29)

Kazakhstan

8

15,143,704

1.89

32

(42)

Great Britain

30

60,270,708

2.01

33

(37)

Ukraine

23

47,732,079

2.07

34

(39)

Spain

19

40,280,780

2.12

35

(50)

United Arab Emirates

1

2,523,915

2.52

36

(---)

Finland

2

5,214,512

2.60

37

(27)

Canada

12

32,507,874

2.71

38

(41)

Mongolia

1

2,751,314

2.75

39

(---)

United States

103

293,027,571

2.85

40

(46)

Israel

2

6,199,008

3.10

41

(57)

Japan

37

127,333,002

3.44

42

(61)

Belgium

3

10,348,276

3.45

43

(36)

Portugal

3

10,524,145

3.51

44

(55)

Poland

10

38,626,349

3.86

45

(45)

Ireland

1

3,969,558

3.97

46

(51)

Zimbabwe

3

12,671,860

4.22

47

(---)

Korea, North

5

22,697,553

4.39

48

(56)

Eritrea

1

4,447,307

4.40

49

(---)

Taiwan

5

22,749,838

4.55

50

(53)

Kenya

7

32,021,856

4.57

51

(52)

Chile

3

15,823,957

5.27

52

(67)

Uzbekistan

5

26,410,416

5.28

53

(59)

Serbia and Montenegro

2

10,825,900

5.41

54

(49)

Paraguay

1

6,191,386

6.20

55

(---)

Argentina

6

39,144,753

6.52

56

(64)

Turkey

10

68,893,918

6.90

57

(70)

Hong Kong

1

6,855,125

6.90

58

(---)

South Africa

6

42,718,530

7.12

59

(63)

Thailand

8

64,865,523

8.12

60

(74)

Dominican Republic

1

8,833,634

8.83

61

(---)

Ethiopia

7

67,851,281

9.69

62

(62)

Morocco

3

32,209,101

10.74

63

(58)

Iran

6

69,018,924

11.50

64

(69)

Venezuela

2

25,017,387

12.50

65

(---)

Egypt

5

76,117,421

15.20

66

(---)

Cameroon

1

16,063,678

16.06

67

(68)

Syria

1

18,016,874

18.01

68

(---)

Brazil

10

184,101,109

18.40

69

(66)

China

63

1,298,847,624

20.60

70

(75)

Mexico

4

104,959,594

26.24

71

(71)

Colombia

1

42,310,775

42.30

72

(77)

Indonesia

4

238,452,952

59.60

73

(76)

Nigeria

2

137,253,133

68.62

74

(78)

India

1

1,065,070,607

1065

75

(80)

 TABLE B: Athens 2004 Olympic Medal-Winning Nations Ranked by "$ Billion GDP per Medal"

COUNTRY

Medals

GDP
$ Billion

$ Billion per Medal

Rank

 

(Rank in 2000)

Cuba

27

$31.6

1.17

1

(2)

Jamaica

5

$10.2

2.04

2

(3)

Bahamas

2

$5.1

2.55

3

(7)

Georgia

4

$12.2

3.05

4

(4)

Eritrea

1

$3.3

3.30

5

(--)

Belarus

15

$61.9

4.13

6

(9)

Korea, North

5

$22.8

4.56

7

(18)

Kenya

7

$33.1

4.73

8

(20)

Bulgaria

12

$57.1

4.76

9

(6)

Mongolia

1

$4.9

4.90

10

(---)

Azerbaijan

5

$26.3

5.26

11

(13)

Estonia

3

$17.4

5.80

12

(5)

Latvia

4

$23.8

5.95

13

(---)

Ethiopia

7

$48.5

6.90

14

(1)

Zimbabwe

3

$24.03

8.00

15

(---)

Romania

19

$154.4

8.12

16

(11)

Hungary

17

$139.7

8.22

17

(14)

Uzbekistan

5

$44.1

8.80

18

(36)

Slovenia

4

$36.9

9.20

19

(29)

Croatia

5

$47.1

9.42

20

(32)

Trinidad and Tobago

1

$10.6

10.6

21

(15)

Ukraine

23

$256.5

11.2

22

(16)

Australia

49

$570.3

11.64

23

(23)

Serbia and Montenegro

2

$24.01

12.0

24

(21)

Slovakia

6

$72.3

12.05

25

(26)

Kazakhstan

8

$105.3

13.2

26

(25)

Greece

16

$212.2

13.3

27

(31)

Lithuania

3

$40.2

13.4

28

(12)

Russia

92

$1,287

14.0

29

(22)

New Zealand

5

$85.3

17.1

30

(39)

Czech Rep

8

$160.5

20.1

31

(37)

Denmark

8

$167.7

20.96

32

(42)

Netherlands

22

$461.4

20.97

33

(35)

Cameroon

1

$27.6

27.6

34

(49)

Paraguay

1

$28.0

28.0

35

(---)

Korea, South

30

$855.3

28.5

36

(45)

Norway

6

$171.6

28.6

37

(30)

Sweden

7

$238.1

34.0

38

(38)

Austria

7

$245.5

35.1

39

(61)

Poland

10

$426.7

42.7

40

(40)

Morocco

3

$128.3

42.8

41

(43)

Turkey

10

$455.3

45.5

42

(72)

Spain

19

$885.5

46.6

43

(60)

Germany

48

$2,271

47.3

44

(50)

Thailand

8

$475.7

47.6

45

(74)

Switzerland

5

$239.8

48.0

46

(44)

Italy

32

$1,552

48.5

47

(51)

France

33

$1,654

50.1

48

(52)

Chile

3

$154.6

51.5

49

(78)

Dominican Republic

1

$52.16

52.2

50

(---)

Nigeria

2

$110.8

55.4

51

(53)

Great Britain

30

$1,664

55.5

52

(55)

United Arab Emirates

1

$57.7

57.7

53

(---)

Syria

1

$58.0

58.0

54

(---)

Venezuela

2

$117.9

58.9

55

(---)

Egypt

5

$294.3

58.9

56

(---)

Israel

2

$120.6

60.3

57

(73)

Portugal

3

$182.3

60.8

58

(64)

Finland

2

$141.7

70.8

59

(46)

Argentina

6

$432.7

72.1

60

(68)

South Africa

6

$456.7

76.1

61

(59)

Iran

6

$477.8

79.6

62

(67)

Canada

12

$957.7

79.8

63

(58)

Japan

37

$3,567

96.4

64

(77)

Belgium

3

$298.2

99.4

65

(56)

China

63

$6,449

102.4

66

(66)

Taiwan

5

$528.6

105.7

67

(62)

United States

103

$10,980

106.6

68

(70)

Ireland

1

$117.0

117.0

69

(63)

Brazil

10

$1379

137.9

70

(65)

Indonesia

4

$758.1

189.5

71

(71)

Hong Kong

1

$212.2

212.0

72

(---)

Mexico

4

$942.2

235.6

73

(76)

Colombia

1

$262.5

262.5

74

(79)

India

1

$3,022

3022

75

(80)

Back to Top

Source of data: www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook

In 2000, 80 countries won medals. In 2004, 75 countries won medals.

August 2004
www.earthfuture.com