Who really won the most gold medals at London 2012 Olympics?

Project Description

Who really won Gold at the London Olympics?

The bubble map above shows the number of Gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic games, shown in proportion to the population of the winning country.

We needed two data sets to do this, the breakdown of Olympic gold medals by country and their respective populations.

We then merged the data into one spreadsheet, calculated the proportion, and then loaded it into the Mapsdata site for visualization.  The graphic gives a much better view of the data than the bar chart or tables offered by alternatives.

How we got the data

We used the official London 2012 website to get the data on which countries had won the medals.

Unfortunately the data is not available in a spreadsheet but we simply copied and pasted the data into a spreadsheet.

Over time, we hope more and more organisations will offer their data for download so the community can then do more with it.  For the timebeing, however, the copy-and-paste function will do.

The World Bank is an excellent resource for structured data and an authority in global demographics. They have loads of open data sets and thankfully population is just one of them.

We downloaded the spreadsheet as an Excel file which saved us time as we didn’t have to structure the data.


How we structured the data

This was a pretty simple data set and required minutes of work to prepare for visualization.

We simply merged the two spreadsheets to join the number of gold medals won in each country respective to that country’s population.

We then adjusted the data to see how the medal count would look if it was representative of population and not just the number of medals won. For example, was China really so successful given the size of its population?

To do this, we divided the number of gold medals by the population and then muliplied by 100 million. This gives us an adjusted figure for each country.

Download Data


The result when adjusted by population

Congratulations to Grenada, Bahamas, Jamaica, New Zealand and Hungary, the respective top five when the results are adjusted by population.

The result without population

The final visualization shows how the Gold medals were distributed by country, without any adjustment for demographics. Try downloading the data and seeing what you can do with it. Perhaps you could adjust it by GDP, or some health data. We’re always interested to hear success stories.



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