Another Olympics has come and gone so it is once again time to take a look at who “won” the Games by several different metrics. Per my previous posts, I continue to use a weighted scoring system to tally up Olympic medals by country. This year I once again tracked not just the medal counts but also economic and demographic metrics for each country – you can see my full spreadsheet here.
The USA was the clear victor in medal scores, winning in every category: golds, silvers, bronzes, total medals, and weighted medal score. The top performers by weighted medal score were:
351 – USA
304 – China
207 – ROC (Russia)
195 – Great Britain
194 – Japan
Japan went from a weighted medal count of 37 in 2008 to displace Germany in the top 5 this year for the first time – how gratifying for the host country! Meanwhile Russia continues to hold a top spot despite technically being banned from competition this year for doping . . . it’s kind of hard to take any of their athletes seriously as clean competitors at this point.
The leaders in these summer Olympics are all large countries; the leaderboard changes quite a bit when normalized by population (or by GDP). The top performers by weighted medal score per million citizens were:
12.00 – New Zealand
9.50 – Slovenia
9.00 – Jamaica
6.50 – Croatia
5.88 – Netherlands
Kudos to these countries for high performance despite having small athletic talent pools.
It was a fun Olympics to watch this year – full of surprises, records, and inspiring performances. Moreover, it was the first Olympics I have been able to watch with my kid, which made it all the more fun! Due to the COVID delay, the Winter Olympics are now only months away and the next Summer Olympics just around the corner – we can’t wait!