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Showing posts from August, 2012

Medals Per Million

By now, you've seen the final medal count at the London Olympics, and no doubt felt a stirring of national pride.American athletes took home 104 total gold, silver and bronze medals, comfortably ahead of China (87), Russia (82), Great Britain (65), Germany (44), Japan (38), Australia (35), France (34), South Korea (28) and Italy (28).

Does that mean that we Americans--so often accused of being a nation of couch potatoes--are the most athletic people in the world?Total medal count is one way to measure, but it may not be the best.Another measurement would take into account the relative number of medals compared to a country's total population: Olympic medals per capita, or (to avoid many decimal places) the number of medals each nation took home per million people in its population.

Medals per million gives us a very different ranking.By this measure, citizens of the Caribbean island of Granada are by far the most athletic, with 9.5 Olympic medals per million citizens, followed b…