Welcome back to IAT coverage of the world's spectacular festival of archaic European sporting events and other oddly chosen athletic contests! It has certainly been causing a buzz, and indeed much of the talk at my own office this Friday was about whether "China had passed us" -- "us" being the IAT's country of publication, the United States of America -- or whether "we had passed China." Either my colleagues were misinformed or the tide of battle has changed radically in the last few days, for at this point in the show "we" are crushing "China" (by which I take it people mean "The People's Republic of China, not including Hong Kong") but are not really in the serious running "ourselves."
Let's take a look at the real state of play, shall we? As of early afternoon on Sunday, here's....
The Overall Top 25
#25 Canada (10 medals): One medal per 3,487,060 citizens!So to begin with, lets take our hats off to the plucky Kiwis, Slovenians, and Danes, all of who have so far managed to stay an event ahead of the mighty Australian athletic juggernaut.
#24 Kazakhstan (5): One per 3,346,800
#23 Azerbaijan (3): One per 3,078,367
#22 France (24): One per 2,722,917
#21 Norway (2): One per 2,512,900
#20 South Korea (20): One per 2,429,000
#19 Romania (8): One per 2,380,367
#18 Sweden (4): One per 2,373,778
#17 Cuba (5): One per 2,249,585
#16 Croatia (2): One per 2,145,306
#15: Czech Republic: (5): One per 2,100,841
#14: Netherlands (8): One per 2,092,009
#13: Moldova (2): One per 1,779,750
#12: United Kingdom (36): One per 1,729,500 **Home field advantage**
#11: Qatar (1): One per 1,699,435
#10: Armenia (2): One per 1,634,250
#9: Lithuania (2): One per 1,593,850
#8: Hungary (7): One per 1,423,143
#7: Mongolia (2): One per 1,422,000
#6: Slovakia (4): One per 1,361,331
#5: Belarus (7): One per 1,351,214
#4: Australia (20): One per 1,134,157
#3: Denmark (8): One per 698,095
#2: Slovenia (3): One per 685,933
#1: New Zealand (7): One per 633,441
"But," you might be saying, "a simple per capita ranking lets small countries sneak in with just a few medals." This is of course true, but it is an unfortunate point to raise, as if taken seriously it would effectively exclude more than half the countries of the world from meaningful Olympic participation. But to humor you, let's create an elite club:
The Top 10 -- 10 Medal Minimum
Now, this is likely to be a volitile ranking, as not only will countries on the list continue to try to increase their medal/population ratios, but countries that are currently a few medals down (New Zealand? Denmark? Romania?) may well be able to claw their way into the club. As of right now, here's the top ten:
#10 United States (56) -- One medal per 5,607,107 citizens
#9 Japan (26) -- One medal per 4,905,000 citizens
#8 Italy (14) -- One medal per 4,343,809 citizens
#7 Russia (35) -- One medal per 4,089,057 citizens
#6 Germany (22) -- One medal per 3,720,864 citizens
#5 Canada (10) -- One medal per 3,487,060 citizens
#4 France (24) -- One medal per 2,722,917 citizens
#3 South Korea (20) -- One medal per 2,429,000 citizens
#2 United Kingdom (36) -- One medal per 1,729,500 citizens
**Home field advantage**
#1 Australia (20) -- One medal per 1,134,157 citizensAs so often in international athletics, we are forced once again to respect Australia's domination of the field to date.
One additional country, China, has won more than 10 medals. However, its per capita medal count is less than a fifth of that even of the United States, and it is unlikely to become really competitive.
The Large Countries
Odds are, you are reading this report from one of the world's ten largest countries. If so, let's take a look at how your home team is doing relative to the other giants.
1. China -- Currently in 47th place, with 1 medal per 22,087,705 citizens.
2. India -- A chronic underperformer, India is in 60th place, "last place" among countries with medals... but still, of course, ahead of around 150 countries that don't have any medals at all.
3. The United States of America -- in 37th place, holding its own with a medal for every 5,607,107 people.
4. Indonesia -- Safely ahead of India with a medal for every 118,820,663 people, but still only in 59th place.
5. Brazil -- with a medal for every 27,482,357 folks, Brazil is in 51st Place.
8. Bangladesh -- Whoopsie, these three giants have failed to net a single medal between them. This is no doubt a keen embarassment for their ambassadors to Australia.
9. Russia -- With 4,089,057 people per medal, Russia fares the best among the "Big Ten..."
10. Japan -- ...but with a medal per 4,905,000, it's Nippon at Russia's heels!
All very exciting! I encourage you to stay tuned to the IAT for continuing sensible coverage of the Olympic scorecard!