Olympic Medal Comparison
280 million population, 408 medals.
1st in medal table 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2nd 1992.
Hosting the games in Atlanta, 1996, saw a drop in their Total Medals
and Medal Share even though they topped the medal table, up from 2 nd
After Atlanta in 1996 they saw a further drop in Total Medals and Medal
Share at Sydney, 2000, while they maintained their 1st place overall.
Athens, 2004, saw a bounce back. Increased Medal Share, Total
Medals and retained 1st overall for the 3rd games running.
Medal ratio of 1:686000 people.
19 million population, 175 medals.
Steady improvement in terms of Position in the medal table since
Barcelona, 1992, where they finished 10th. 7th in 1996, 4th in 2000 and
4th in 2004.
Biggest impact on performance in hosting the games with nearly a 28%
increase in Medal Share (out of the 3 featured host nations).
Shows that they maintained their improved medal position from hosting
the games in 2000 to Athens in 2004.
In real terms though, they have dropped their Medal Share by nearly
16% since hosting the games.
Medal ratio of 1:109000 people.
10 million population, 39 medals.
Improved in all areas - Medals Won, Medal Share and Position in
medal Table over the 12 years 1992 to hosting the games in 2004.
Smallest nation featured with the smallest number of Total Medals and
Hosting the games bought an increase in Medal Share from 1.44 to
1.77 a rise of 22.67%.
Best medal to population ratio of 1:26000 people.
1.1 billion population, 226 medals.
Although China initially dropped in terms of total medals won and
Medal Share they maintained their 4th place overall Position in the
medal table from 1992-1996.
From 1996 onwards there has been a steady increase in medal share
of around 6.5%.
If China’s Medal Share increases by 25% in 2008, as seen by Australia
and Greece in there hosting games, they will close the gap on the USA
to within 20 medals and possibly challenge for 1st place.
China have the poorest medal to population ratio of 1:48000000
59 million population, 93 medals.
A very similar medal ratio to USA of 1:634000 people.
Great Britain dropped 30% in terms of Medal Share from 1992 to
Atlanta in 1996. This was seen clearly as their Total Medals fell from 20
to 15 as did their Position in the medal table from 13th to 36th.
Bounced back up to 10th in the medal table in Sydney, 2000, with a
near 70% increase in Medal Share reflected by their Total Medals up to
This increasing trend followed on to Athens, 2004, where total medals
rose to 30 and Medal Share nearly 7% to above 3.3%.
If this steady rate increases to Beijing, Great Britain can expect to take
3.5% of all medals in 2008.
In 2012 Great Britain can expect a 25% increase in Medal Share taking
their Medal share to 4.4%. This considering the hosting nation
successes of Australia in 2000 and Greece in 2004.
The research shows that hosting games brings greater medal success. Even
in the case of the USA in 1996, they dropped their Medal Share and Total
Medals but managed to move up to 1st in the medal table. This could have
been down to the smaller nations becoming more successful over the larger
nations and the increase in athletes by nearly a thousand on the previous
games in 1992.
The other featured nations show clear advantages of hosting a games in
terms of medal success with the average increase in Medal Share going up
The after effects of a games are less clear. In the case of USA, their Medal
Share continued to fall in 2000 but had a revival in 2004 where it jumped
nearly 5%. This could suggest that hosting a games has more long-term
effect. For instance an 12 year old American child inspired by the Atlanta
games in 1996 would need eight years training to compete at that level
therefore USA wouldn’t reap the rewards of hosting a games until 2004 in
terms of medals.
The effects of the Sydney games in terms of inspired performance should be
seen at the Beijing games, 2008, if the Atlanta statistics and conclusions are
All medal to population ratios are over the period 1992-1996. All populations
are approximate and are taken from www.earthtrends.wri.org