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Olympics:  PHL is 3rd most populous nation without a medal; tiny Grenada tops gold to population ratio

August 8, 2012 4:32pm
As of August 8, China and the United States of America are, as expected, on top of the 2012 Olympic medal tally. These two countries will likely finish first and second in the tally, like they did at the Beijing Olympics four years ago. Two of the most populous countries in the world, China and the US both have large pools of athletes from which emerge their gold medallists. 

But tiny countries have defied the population odds. An alternative way of judging success in the Olympics is the gold medal/population ratio of the country. With runner Kirali James winning the men’s 400m race, Grenada tops this list with one gold medal for approximately 100,000 residents. This is incidentally the entire population of country.
         
     5 gold-winning countries with the best ratios
1) Grenada – 1 gold for every 105,000 individuals
2) Jamaica – 1 gold for every 1,352,913 individuals
3) New Zealand – 1 gold for every1,478,143  individuals
4) Slovenia – 1 gold for every 2,057,920  individuals
5) Croatia – 1 gold for every 2,145,306 individuals
 
Boasting a population of over 1.3 billion people, China tops the list in gold medal count and population. But in terms of the population to gold medal ratio, China ranks in the bottom half of the list. Among all the countries with gold medals, Japan, Brazil, and Nigeria have the worst population to gold medal ratio.

For the countries that have won more than ten gold medals, host nation Great Britain and South Korea have the smallest populations at approximately 62 and 58 million residents, respectively.
 
The most populous country not to win an Olympic gold yet in the 2012 London Olympics is India. With a population of over 1 billion people, the Indians have only produced one silver and two bronze medals. Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, has also failed to produce a gold medal.
 
This way of evaluating a nation's Olympic success highlights smaller countries that have produced great athletes, and the importance of sports programs in identifying and training athletes from relatively small pools. 
 
Croatia, New Zealand, and Slovenia are all countries with less than five million people that have produced gold medals in this year’s Olympic Games. But among all smaller nations, it is Jamaica that has caused the biggest stir in the Olympics thus far.
         
   5 gold medal-winning countries with the worst ratios
1) Brazil – 1 gold for every 96,188,248 individuals
2) Japan – 1 gold for every 63,765,000 individuals
3) Spain – 1 gold for every 46,163,116 individuals
4) Kenya – 1 gold for every 42,749,000 individuals
5) Ethipoia – 1 gold for every 42,160,493 individuals

This island nation of less than three million inhabitants has produced two golds, a silver, and a bronze. Jamaica has produced the fastest men and women in the planet. Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake finished first and second in the men’s 100m race while Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell-Brown finished first and third in the women’s 100m race.
 
This ranking also shows which countries are grossly underperforming in the Olympics. The Philippines is third on the list of the most populous nations that have yet to win any medal in the 2012 London Olympics. Pakistan and Bangladesh top the list with approximately 180 and 150 million residents, respectively, while the Philippines has over 90 million.

Thus, while the size of the population could be a large factor in Olympic success, such as in the case of China, a country’s athletic program is still the biggest factor.
 
The phenomenal success of Manny Pacquiao shows that the Philippines can produce world-class athletes. But it will take an enormous effort by government to develop potential gold medal winners among athletes chosen from the entire population, and not wait for a flukish talent to emerge.  - AMD/HS, GMA News



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