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Where in the World are the Olympic Medals Going?

It is time again for my bi-monthly look at some sport other than baseball.  The other night on the news, I saw the top countries in the medal count at the Winter Olympics and noticed that no Scandinavian countries where on the list.  I thought remember them dominating Winter Olympics in the past. 

I went back and looked at all the previous Winter Olympics and looked at what percentage of medals were won were by various regions around the world.  Instead of using exact medal count, I weighted each medal (3 points for gold, 2 for silver and 1 for bronze).  I grouped the countries into the following regions:

  • Germany - I didn't know exactly how to handle the East and West German split with Eastern and Western Europe, so I kept them their own country
  • Soviet Union - The includes the previous Soviet Union and any country now that was previously part of it.
  • Eastern Europe - Countries that were part of the old Soviet Block counties
  • Western Europe
  • Northern Europe - Norway, Sweden, Finland
  • North America - United States and Canada
  • East Asia - North and South Korea, China and Japan
  • Rest of world - Interesting fact, the only countries not in the above groups to have won Winter Olympic Medals are Australia and New Zealand.

Here is a chart of percentage for each year.  The years are not evenly spaced, it is just the years that Olympics occurred.



  1. The Scandinavian counties have been decreasing in the medal count, but not much in my life time.  I must be imagining things again.
  2. North America and East Asia have been been increasing since 1988, while the Soviet Union has been decreasing.