Fri, September 20, 2013

Number-crunching Canada's Olympic medal count

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Sprinter Donovan Bailey helped power Canada to its best-ever showing at a non-boycotted Summer Games, when our athletes won 22 medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Entering the London Games, Canadian Olympic officials had a clearly stated goal: They wanted the country to finish among the Top 12 in total medals.

With mere hours to go, it’s looking good.

Including Saturday morning’s bronze-medal win by Mark de Jonge in the men’s K-1 200M final, Canada holds sole possession of 12th place among the 51 nations that have at least one medal.

They’re hanging on to that spot, just ahead of Hungary (16) and Ukraine (15). And they’re breathing down the neck of the Netherlands (19).

Of course, with a few events left before Sunday’s Closing Ceremony, any of those countries can move up or down. Canada, for example, is eyeing a 4x100-metre medal Saturday — though that’s far from guaranteed.

BEST GAMES EVER

Our best-ever Summer Games showing: 44 medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Games (though the Communist boycott renders the results less than legitimate)

Best non-boycott Summer showing: Atlanta in 1996, 22 medals (three gold, 11 silver, eight bronze)

Second-best showing: Beijing in 2008, with 18 medals (three gold, nine silver, six bronze). The London Games have tied that total as of Saturday.

Worst Summer Games showing: Disastrous 1960 Rome Games, when we won just one medal (a silver in men’s eights rowing)

All-time Summer Olympic medal haul: Canada is in 17th place with 260 (one behind Poland). The U.S. leads the world with 2,296.

 

WE’RE NO. 12! WE’RE NO. 12!

Canada has averaged roughly 16 medals over the past four Summer Games (Beijing, Athens, Sydney and Atlanta). Here’s who was in 12th spot in each of those:

Beijing 2008: Cuba (24 medals)

Athens 2004: Ukraine (23 medals)

Sydney 2000: South Korea & Great Britain (tied at 28)

Atlanta 1996: Hungary (21 medals; Canada was 11th with 22)

 

GOOD AS GOLD

There are different ways to gauge a country’s success at an Olympic Games, and one popular method is whichever nation has the most gold medals is ranked No. 1. Well, it’s a popular method in countries not called Canada.

Here’s our gold-medal totals at recent Games:

Beijing 2008: three golds (19th place)

Athens 2004: three golds (21st place)

Sydney 2000: three golds (24th place)

Atlanta 1996: three golds (21st place)

IN CONTEXT

Eighteen medals in London would be a solid showing for Canada. But against the heavy hitters, it’s an embarrassment. As of Saturday, the Americans’ gold medals alone (44) was more than twice our total haul.

The U.S. has 95 medals in London, best in the world. But the U.S. also has 10 times as many people as Canada. According to medalspercapita.com, Canada has one medal per 1.9 million people — 33rd in the world. The Americans have one medal for every 3.3 million (44th place).

So, technically, we’re better than America. (But nowhere near Grenada, the island nation of 110,00 whose one medal puts it first in the per-capita ranking.