The New York Times comes out with another great interactive graphic, this time it’s a visual history of the number of medals won by each country at the summer olympics, dating back to 1896. Using a rough layout of a map of the world, the size of each circle represents the total number of medals. Hover over a circle and it pops up the specific number of golds, silvers and bronzes. Drag the timeline slider at the top and you can dynamically see how they change over time.
You can see, for example, the rising dominance of the Soviet Union and East Germany culminating in massive wins in 1980, aided no doubt by the USA’s boycotting of those games. Then China appears out of nowhere at the 1984 Los Angeles games, culminating in its 100 medals (including 51 golds) this year as host.
Actually until I saw this graphic I hadn’t realized Britain, my birth country, had done so well. At 47 medals that’s pretty darn good for a country with twenty times smaller population than China.