USA comes in #45 in per capita medal scramble
I was traveling through Europe during the Olympic Games and enjoyed watching events from overseas. Now home, I was watching the exciting closing ceremonies and thinking (as I did four years ago) how other countries might view the "medal count" differently.
All my life I've marveled at how great the American Olympic Team did compared to the rest of the world. I imagine that, like me, the spirits of most Americans soar to see us on top of the medal count. But then, one year, as I raved at how dominant our team was, my Dutch friend told me — not too gently — that Americans have a lot of medals...but, per capita, the Dutch have three times as many. Thanks to this nudge, before I gloat, I now do the arithmetic for the summer games to see things two ways — total medals (yea USA!) and medals per capita (yea Bahamas!). Check this out:
Congrats to the Bahamians — they won six medals per million people (18 times the USA's rate). And to get things into a larger population pool (where a single superstar can't mess up the standings), congrats to Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Cuba, and Armenia (each with a medal for every two million or so people...six times the USA's production).
Among those nations, special honors to Cuba and Armenia. (Where would it be if per capita income was a factor?) China? Great games (and I don't care about the piddling gripes of media predisposed to find something wrong with the Beijing games)...but only 100 medals for over a billion people (and with the home-court advantage). We Americans whooped you (with four times the per capita medals).
So America, wave the flag and be proud. We did great. On a per capita basis, our athletes cleaned the Chinese, nearly kept up with the Russians, and are right up there with Austria and Romania.