I was comparing Olympic medal counts today. Of course, we all know that the US has the most, followed by Germany, then Norway.
Feeling all proud about that, fellow Americans? Don't be. Adjust it for population first.
I grabbed the medal counts from the official site on Wednesday afternoon. They may have, of course, changed by then.
If you just look at the medal counts for the top ten countries, the good old USA looks pretty good. But if you take the population of each country and divide it by the medal counts, you get, basically the number of people in each country per medal. Which is a much truer look at how well countries are doing. And if we do that with the top ten, how do things look? Like this:
Wow! The USA gets its ass handed to it, doesn't it? Dead last out of the top ten. I'm guessing that if I included even more smaller countries, we would continue to plummet quite a ways.
The right-most column tells the real story. It's the ratio of how many more people each country needs to win each medal, compared to Norway.
Even second place Austria needs nearly three times as many folks than Norway for each medal it wins.
But look at the USA. We need over 40 times the people than Norway does for each of our medals. We need 11,874,808 people for each medal! That's nearly two and half Norways alone.
Man, we suck at this! And Norway fucking rocks!
Here's the same info as a graph, for the visually-oriented:
And all this doesn't even take into account the Norwegian Curling team's pants.
Not sure if total population is the best metric. There are large swaths of America which aren't climatically conducive to winter sports. Numbers comparing populations living in winter climates per country would be more interesting to me. I imagine the US would still be 10th but with a tighter margin!
Like only needing 30x the number of people? :)
Even compared to other alpine-ish countries, Norway is kicking major ass.
Don't forget about Pancho tomorrow!
Have I ever forgotten a scheduled meal? :P
How many boxes of oatmeal should we grab? I always enjoy the looks I get when I buy it in bulk.
I worked out the rankings using all 27 medalling countries. US comes in 22nd. Dead last is China with something like 280 million people per medal.
As if I didn't have enough reason to be jealous of Norwegians already...
I'm not sure this metric makes sense. I don't follow the Olympics much, but this analysis assumes that every country can enter a number of athletes proportional to its population. I suspect this isn't the case... This is further supported by the fact that the population is inversely proportional (roughly) to ratio to norway.
Dammit! How dare you bring actual knowledge and common sense into this conversation?
That is a really good point. Both conceptually as well as considering that there are a finite number of medals available, so the US numerically can't win 100x the number the Norwegians do.
But, while each country has the same maximum team size, the US still had a much larger pool from which to draw to build that team. It should still be able to build an Olympics team that is far better than the Norsk team.
In other news, I bought 6 boxes of oatmeal.