Five for Friday: Olympic Medals

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The 2012 Summer Olympics may have come and gone, but our memories and the excitement still linger. This Five for Friday comes from Jessica Shea, editor of our family and kid content. Happy Friday everyone!

Olympics Blog 1.jpg

I love the Olympics…the competition, the heart-warming
stories, and even the heart-wrenching losses. Just the spectacle of it all amazes me. 

During the games, I was engrossed in the saga of the Fab Five (oh,
McKayla and her scowl) and all the personalities on the swimming team. (Are
there any other 17 year olds as sweet and humble as Missy Franklin?) But as the Olympics came to an end, my attention shifted to the medal count. 

YesI realized during the closing ceremony–the U.S. came out on top with 104 medals. China earned second with 88 medals and host country Great Britain placed third with 65.

But I wondered, what would happen to the medal standings if you consider not just the final medal count, but rather the number of medals won in relation to the country’s population? Who would have won? The site Medals Per Capita answers that very question and even has some cool interactive maps. 

For this Five for Friday, I thought we’d take a look at the five most interesting things I learned. 

Olympics Blog 2.jpeg

1. Which country wins according to capita? Drumroll, please…Grenada! The island nation nabbed only one medal in the games, but with a population of 110,821 people, it has the highest medal to people ratio. Two other Caribbean countries rounded out the top three: Jamaica and Trinidad.

2. India, the second most populous country in the world, scored only six medals. Since the country has a population of more than 1 billion people, it comes in last in medals per capita.

3. When you consider its 104 medals in relation to a population of more than 300 million people, the U.S. comes in at 49th. 

4. For me, Kazakhstan was a shocker. This nation came in 12th in the standard medal count by making it to the medal podium 13 times. But for medals per capita, it ranks 30th.

5. Only one country is in the top 10 when you consider both, the overall medals won and medals per capita. Congrats to Hungary for capturing this honor. I might even go so far as to bill these the Hunger Hungary Games.

Congratulations to all of the athletes who participated in the games this summer! You inspired, entertained, and moved all of us here at National Geographic.   

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