2008 Olympic Medal Counts by Population
There are obviously a lot of ways to measure how well a country did at the Olympics. This post takes a view that we should look at how many people the country had to draw on in order to send the athletes to China to compete. There are a lot of problems with this including: ex-pats competing for their home country, vast disparity in wealth between countries and the relative interest in the Olympic games of the cultures. One of the things that jumps out immediately is that island nations that draw on a larger related population do very well in the games. They likely have inherited not only the interest in the competition but are also wealthy enough to train and compete in the games.
One of the things that was interesting in putting this together was that I eventually settled on PowerSetландшафт as the easiest way to lookup the population of a country. Both Yahoo and Google will give shortcuts to many of them, they don’t do it for all of them. Though PowerSet gets this population data through Freebase, Freebase itself doesn’t have a great search interface.
If I was going to declare an overall country winner for the games I would likely choose Australia. I’ve highlighted the top-10 total medal winners in the table in blue and they are far ahead of anyone else in the top-10 on a people / medal basis.