U.S. Olympic medal count lagging based on population
I was amazed and delighted by the performances of so many American athletes in their respective competitions (although not in public for some) during the Rio Olympics. While we led the medal count, I’ve always wondered how we compare with other nations after adjusting for population differences.
So I did some brief calculations on the 10 countries with the most medals and discovered that Australia and Great Britain led the way, with 3.7 and 3.3 medals per million people between the ages of 15 and 39 years old. (The patterns reported here also hold if one uses total population.) The next tier contains France (2.1), Canada (1.9) and Germany (1.8). The United States lags behind at 1.1 medal per million people ages 15 to 39, close to those of Japan, South Korea and Russia (all at 1.2). China trails at 0.14 medals per million population.
There are many factors that could contribute to these differences. I wonder if the U.S. Olympic Committee ever studies what Australia and Great Britain, which earned 3 times more medals than us per capita, along with several other countries, might be doing better than us?