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Updated Olympics rankings

Last updated on 18 Sep 2017

I did this before, so I’m adding in the Winter Olympics figures to see who is the most successful per head of population… the results might surprise you, again…

This graph sorts by medal tally overall:


Blue is Gold medals per million head of population, green is all medals per million head of population. And I don’t care anyway – professional sports is a pyramid marketing scheme so far as I can see…

This graph sorts by gold medals:

olympic gold.png


  1. ckc (not kc) ckc (not kc)

    I see Norway is closely followed by “J#$%@&” and “A*&$%@””, with New Zealand just ahead of Submarine.

  2. Can. Not. Read. Too blurry.

    • hmm hmm

      Austria’s missing

  3. John Wilkins John Wilkins

    Got to go teach. I’ll fix it when I get time,…

  4. ckc (not kc) ckc (not kc)

    well, OK, if you gotta teach, you gotta teach, but knowing that India is again at the bottom of the heap (such as it is), it would be nice if the whole shebang could be weighted by “interest in sports/recognition of the long-term global importance of sports vis-a-vis other concerns (arts, music, eating…)”. Not that it wasn’t entertaining (apart from the cringeworthy closing ceremonies – nothing like a giant floating moose to represent the heights of human aspiration, I always say).

  5. John Wilkins John Wilkins

    Okay, I fixed the resolution. Anyone who wants to repost this graphic may do so as long as they credit me and link back to this post.

  6. ckc (not kc) ckc (not kc)

    Bharain and Panama for maximum efficiency!

  7. And I don’t care anyway – professional sports is a pyramid marketing scheme so far as I can see…

    If I were to point out that the Olympics are amateur sport…I would be (quite rightly) ridiculed for my naivete.

    • John Wilkins John Wilkins

      Exactly! Australia spends, on average around $16.7 million dollars for each gold medal won, in terms of training and other expenses for the Olympics. This was reported during the Beijing Olympics.

      • ckc (not kc) ckc (not kc)

        Canada found that you can “Own the Podium” (gold level) for a mere $8.4 million per in the winter games – you Aussies need more snow.

      • $230M per, if you count the cost of hosting the games (arguably valid, as that aspect is what inspired the “Own The Podium” jingoism — wouldn’t do for us to show poorly in our own igloo, would it?).

        (Can you tell I’m deeply cynical about the Olympics? And can think of much better things to do with 6 gigabucks?)

  8. WoDan WoDan

    What hmm said.
    It´s even worse: The chartmaker seems to have added Austrian and Australian medals, divided it by Austria´s population and assigned the result to Australia.
    According to my data Australia scored 2 gold and 1 silver; which gives about 0.09 resp. 0.13 per million of its 22 million inhabitants.
    Austria (pop. ~ 8.5 mill.) made 4 gold, 6 silver and 6 bronze or 0.48/1.9 per million.
    Combined: 4+2= 6 gold, 6/8 = 3/4 =.75 (what the chart reads for Australia.)
    (We) Austrians are used to a bit of Australia/Austria mixup, but that´s a new record. I suggest you check my numbers and correct the chart.

    Of course professional sports is part of the entertainment industry. (“panem et circenses”, nothing new about that)

    btw: Please check the data for (at least) Bahrain, Jamaica, Mongolia and New Zealand as well. The official website lists only 26 medal-winning nations, your chart about 40!

    • I added the winter Olympic medal tally to the summer Olympic medals. I would have thought that was obvious…

      Austria wasn’t listed because its medal tally in the summer Olympics was below a threshold that made it worth including. However, I am going to include all nations in a revision, if you’ll wait a few hours…

      • Okay, all included… the inclusion of some of the smaller countries changes the order at the top.

      • WoDan WoDan

        Sorry, didn´t update.
        No, it was not obvious

  9. WoDan WoDan

    Seems you added the Vancouver medals to the Beijing medals, which might appear strange to some people. Then most of what I said is wrong, except Austria is still missing.

    • John Wilkins John Wilkins

      Want to check again, more carefully this time?

      • WoDan WoDan

        Thanks. I´m sure you got it right now. Maybe I´m to winter-sports-obsessed. You know, it´s winter here and there´s even some snow left in my garden.

  10. Have you not missed out a gold medal for cultural achievment for Australia? Should put them up the ranking a bit.

    Was realy rather amusing. Not sure why. But funny.

  11. p.s This Sporting life, two extremly interesting books by Mr Sport. Will be reading them with some interest. Thanks.

  12. Gargamel Gargamel

    I wonder how a graph of medals/latitude would look like. How do Bahamians and Jamaicans practice winter sports anyway?

    • John Wilkins John Wilkins

      You didn’t see “Cool Runnings”?

  13. One more graph I’d like to see:

    Winter Gold medals per square metre of snow

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