Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympic medals per capita: Cuba kicked butt


The 2008 summer Olympics is old news by now, but I'd like to point out that Cuba had the second-highest number of medals per capita when compared to the top 12 medal winners.

Of the top 12 finishers, only Australia had more medals per capita.

Cuba's performance is impressive when considering that it competed against much wealthier nations. The Caribbean nation is a world power when it comes to sports, despite some of the defections that have hurt some Cuban teams, including boxing.

Below is a quick, rough and decidedly unscientific calculation, but you get the idea. The lower the population per medal, the higher the number of medals per capita.

Country                 Pop                    Medals    Pop per medal

1 U.S.                301 million        110       2,736,363
2 China           1.321 billion         100        13,210,000
3 Russia            141 million          72         1,958,333
4 Britain             60 million         47         1,276,595
5 Australia           20 million         46           434,782
6 Germany           82 million         41          2,000,000
7 France              61 million         40          1,525,000
8 S. Korea           49 million          31          1,580,645
Italy                 58 million          28          2,071,428
10 Ukraine         46 million           27        1,703,703
11 Japan           127 million           25        5,080,000
12 Cuba             12 million 24         458,333

The LA Times did a much more scientific analysis that compared all of the competing nations, not just the top 12. It showed that the Bahamas finished first in medals per capita. Cuba was eighth in the world and the United States was 46th.

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