UK Population vs Olympic Significance at London 2012 london olympics

Today, on Thursday 2nd August 2012 Team GB are ranking 11th best in the world with 2 Gold, 3 Silver and 4 Bronze medals. Team GB are 11th best out of 204 other countries taking part.

Yesterday I was thinking about how well Team GB are doing and how amazing it is that such a small nation are up there with epic sized countries like China and the USA. It got me thinking about infographics.I found these this morning on Creative Review: and decided to make my own, demonstrating our popularity vs our significance upon the London 2012 Olympic Games.

I redrew the Olympic logo then scaled each ring up from the centre point.

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  • Chris

    I’ve been thinking about this to and a simple population v medal haul comparison doesn’t provide a full or fair picture of sporting achievement at the Olympics.

    Population, how many people live and are eligible to represent each nation provides your pool of talent, natural talent. In that respect you would expect #1 China then #2 India with a combined population of 1/3 of all the humans on Earth. China currently sit top yet India have 1 medal and lie joint 41st…so obviously that doesn’t stack up.

    For a really fair comparison you need population + £ investment to determine a fair average on who has the best sportsmen in the world. Investment covers all those facilities, equipment, science and technology behind each sport and most importantly allowing athletes to focus full time on their training and preparation without having to do something trivial like ‘work’. A couple of examples on where investment and training programmes can make a difference..

    Australia – pop. 22mio yet with their Australian Institute of Sport and high quality facilities they churn out world class atheletes over and over, especially in swimming (although they aren’t doing so well in London 2012).

    GB – we are world leaders (due to massive investment) in the cycling sports with cutting edge technology and training and that is reflected in our medal haul in Beijing and so far this year (including the Tour de France).

    The wane of countries – during the Cold War sports events such as the Olympics were seen as great tools for some political oneupmanship between the USA and Soviet Union. Post Soviet Union and yes the countries have split so a smaller pool of talent but the Russian Federation appear to be winning fewer and fewer medals (lack of investment from a not so prosperous and stable nation?) And where are India?

    Another small point to think about is different countries have their own ‘national’ or favourite sports and this will be reflected in the quality of athletes and how seriously they take each sport. Asians are dominant in table tennis and badminton. USA go for swimming and the track and field. GB like sports where we can sit down such as cycling and rowing. Cuba and their boxers etc etc etc so again if 90% of your population want to play one sport it doesn’t really matter how many people you have because you still get the same number of entrants for your ‘favourite’ sports.

    If you can graph that I’ll be impressed 😛

  • admin

    Thanks for your comment. So in order to make it fair, we’re looking at four sets of data: Population, Investment Pro Rata and some stats on National Favourites vs Global Ranking. Does that sound fair?

  • admin

    “As the incredible cost of the Olympics has spiralled out of control, there isn’t anyone left in Britain who hasn’t wondered whether it’s all worth it. However, a new study by a group of economists has come to a definitive conclusion: it is – because it’s going to win us a record 57 medals.

    So how can this be true?
    The researchers from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have forecast that Team GB will pick up this record-winning haul of medals – behind table-topping China with 102, the US with 100 and Russia with 71.

    The research, reported in the Daily Mail, started with past performance, but also factored in politics, economics, demographics and cultural information. The fact that we are the host nation was apparently a huge factor in the assessment of the likely medal win.

    This is partly due to the fact that athletes will be competing in the conditions they are used to, and partly as they have a home team behind them.

    However, the sheer ton of money poured into the Olympic process is said to make a big difference too. The researchers told the newspaper: “The respective host country has increased chances of success and athletes of the future host country profit from the early expansion of athletic support in their home country when preparing for their own role as host.”

    It seems, therefore, that you can buy Olympic success, and no-one could argue that we haven’t been spending enough in order to do so.

    So why just the 57? Why can’t we finish ahead of China, Russia and the US? Apparently it seems you can’t argue with demographics: there are just too many people in China and Russia. And for the US, spending an insane amount of cash on sport is in the DNA – we’re just newcomers to the idea.

    Not alone
    And while this sounds slightly like a wild stab in the dark, the team used their methodology to check whether they would have got their predictions right in the previous two summer Olympics. In Beijing they would have been 96.9% right and in Athens 97.4% correct.”

    Predicted top ten for medals
    1. China (102)
    2. United States (100)
    3. Russia (71)
    4. UK (57)
    5. Australia (43)
    6. France (39)
    7. Germany (36)
    8. South Korea (31)
    9. Cuba (29)
    10. Brazil (28)

    Article from AOL Money (

  • Chris

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