LONDON OLYMPICS — Once again, the United States, China and, to a lesser degree, Russia, are battling to become the nation with the biggest haul of Olympic medals. That is no surprise: their teams have the best resources – training facilities and so on – to produce athletes like Michael Phelps and a raft of Michael Jordan-like badminton and table tennis players.
What is perhaps more compelling are the nations that carry their weight in medals, like Slovenia. The Slovenes have won four medals: gold in judo, silver in track and field and bronze in rowing and shooting. With a population of 2.06 million people, that works out to one medal per 514,385 residents, the best per-capita medal rate among the 59 countries that have won at least one medal through Sunday.
New Zealand (seven medals, or one per 633,231 residents), Jamaica (four medals, or one per 676,456 residents) and Denmark and Australia round out the top five.
The Chinese had the most total medals (61 so far), but on a per-capita basis, they ranked 48th, or one medal per 22,087,704 residents. That put them ahead of Mexico (five medals) and behind Spain (three medals).
The United States ranked 36th (60 medals, or one per 5,223,033 people), ahead of Greece (two medals) and behind Singapore (one medal).
The biggest laggard was India, which has just three medals and a population of 1.24 billion, or one medal per 413,830,653 people. The next nearest nation was Indonesia, which has won two medals, or one per 118,820,663 people.
- Umesh Shanmugam
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