Mo’ Athletes, Mo’ Medals?

Sochi 2014 Olympic Medal Count

Excel, Adobe Illustrator

Do more athletes mean more medals?

This project shows the Olympic medals won by each country in the 2014 Winter Games and how they measure up to the total number of athletes that competed. The goal was to show a different story than just who came out on top by presenting it in a fun (but very accurate) way.

You don’t need the most athletes to win medals, you just need the best ones.


  1. I like it Steve nice work.

    You should add one more encompassing circle representing the relative size of country’s population.


  2. Oh and I like how clean and minimalist the visualization is!

    • Actually the argument for medal shainrg is much stronger. Unlike income, medal count truly is a zero sum game. When one athlete wins, another loses. The same is not true for income. Your earning does not diminish what I can earn.

  3. Nice approach. It’s also good to know that it takes a hockey team of 23 athletes to win one place in the medal ranking (if any). Out of the 220 Canadian athletes for example, 46 were hockey players.

  4. We could levy modest taxes like a doallr (or euro) or two per ticket sold at professional events in the dominating nations and give the money to the amateur associations in the nations with the fewest to zero medals. I am not sure that it would make much difference.The desire to compete is individual, not national, only that some nations make this more possible than others. Of course state subsidies for athletes also brings some complexity to the analysis. In truth, all athletes are “subsidized” by family, friends, equipment makers, etc. Also, the presence of true professionals, such as the NBA basketball players, also must be taken into account.Still, if you want to socialize or communize or syndicalize the Olympics you can… though the risk of “Harrison Bergeron” is very real when you take from those who can to enable those who cannot.

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