Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Heat Maps

Today I've been playing with Google Spreadsheets' Heat Map gadget and the Olympic Gold Medal table. For the tables below I looked at the 15 countries with the most gold medals in this Olympics as of 11am GMT today.

The first heat map is based on the number of golds won by each country:

heat map of gold medals

As you can see when you look purely at the number of gold medals won by each country China and the USA are a long way ahead of the rest of the field.

However things change very quickly when you look at the number of gold medals divided by a country's population.

This heat map is based on the number of gold medals divided by the country's population:

heat map based on population

When you look at gold medals as a percentage of population China suddenly is bottom and the USA 12th of the 15. Slovakia followed by Australia and then Great Britain now head the table.

Finally this heat map is based on the number of gold medals divided by the country's GDP:

heat map of gold medals by GDP

When we look at the gold medals divided by a country's GDP China jumps up the table again, coming third behind the Ukraine in first place and Romania in second. The USA comes in 12th of of the fifteen countries when you examine the tables in this way.

If Michael Phelps were a country he would currently lie joint sixth in the gold medal table and top the population table. I don't know Phelps' GDP but fully support the idea of him becoming a country in his own right.

The data for the gold medals was taken at around 11am GMT 17th August. The population and GDP data was taken from Wikipedia.


Ouseful has created a Google Spreadsheet of the medal table using a ‘live’ feed for the data. The table includes four heat maps for gold, silver, bronze and total medals.



Peter le Roux said...

Thanks for this. Surely Zimbabwe's Gold medal/GDP ratio should be pretty high? I know you only looked at the 15 highest medal winners but it would be interesting to see- according to Wikipedia it's either USD $28.098 billion or USD $6.186 billion.

Keir Clarke said...

Zimbabwe has one gold and an economy in meltdown so would probably top the golds/GDP.

Anonymous said...

Why not one more map: medals per capita per gdp to equalise for both population and wealth?

Keir Clarke said...

Good idea - I might do a fuller analysis after the Olympics finish - including more countries and capita per gdp.

Zhiqiang said...

Using gold metals per gdb is more reasonable. Hope for that.

Tony Hirst said...

Hi Keir

I've just had a quick go at pulling together a 'live' version of the medal heat map (which i thought was a really neat idea:-)

Unknown said...

I'd like to see a heat map showing the country of residence/school/training related to medals. Seems like many foreign athletes live and train in the US, thereby benefiting from the GDP of that country indirectly.

Anonymous said...

If Phelps was a country, he wouldn't have medals in relay...

Anonymous said...

Hi. I was wondering how you copied the map from google docs? I'm trying to copy the heat map I created in google docs and paste it into excel for my own use, but I can't figure it out. Help?

Keir Clarke said...

I think I just took a screen shot of it and posted it as an image.