BrokenTV's Infuriatingly Right-On Olympic Update

  • 8/17/2008 08:41:00 pm
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones

We weren't going to be doing anything about the Olympics. Partly because we're either sleeping or at work when most of it is happening, partly because we're pathetically liberal and the whole event is taking place in an oppressive regime. But then again, the eighty billionth Olympiad does present an exciting array of numbers for us to turn into tables and graphs, and if we use arithmetic to calculate once and for all which country is the best (with a handicap system in place, obv), then maybe, just maybe, we'll end all wars forever.

Tricky one. But! We can always assuage our guilt by preceding each set of figures with a fun fact or three about the Chinese Government, courtesy of Amnesty International. Here goes:


  • The death penalty and the conditions on death row in China are an affront to human dignity! No PlayStations and trips to the theatre for rascals over there!

  • No one sentenced to death receives a fair trial in accordance with international human rights standards! But hey, what if you had to give a retrial to someone already executed - just imagine what damage a zombie Barry George would do, then multiply it by several million!

  • Around 68 crimes can be punishable by death in China, including non-violent offences like tax fraud, embezzling, taking bribes and some drug crimes! We'll bet Lester Piggott is glad he never took part in the Hebai Province Derby in the 1980s and then decided to live there!

("Curses! We were hoping no-one was going to mention that! Grr!" - The Chinese Government)

So, morality footprint offset, on we go with the figures. We've taken the medal table as it stands, and considered the relative populations of each competing nation (or pretend nation, in the case of 'Chinese Taipei'). Each medal collected is then given a score as follows:

Gold: Each gold medal divided by the total population, then multiplied by 800,000.
Silver: Each silver medal divided by the total population, then multiplied by 400,000.
Bronze: Each bronze medal divided by the total population, then multiplied by 200,000.

Each multiplication introduced to make the figures at least show up on our notional scoring radar. With this in mind, which is the best country? Great Britain is doing very well (though not for some reason, the UK - are Northern Irish athletes banned or something?) with a relatively small population, will they be near the top or our seasonally adjusted table? The Aussies always do remarkably well for a people who like to sit back, drink beer and scoff flame-grilled sausages in large amounts, how will they fare? Have the Pitcairn Islands picked up a jammy bronze that will propel them to the summit of our sporting league? Well, Photoshop has just loaded, so let's take a look at the figures. The second set of figures from the left are each country's standing in the proper medal table.

And there you go. Thanks to the fastest man in the history of the world ever, Jamaica sit atop the pile at the moment, with a population less than that of Wales* and still getting two golds and a brace of silvers. Slovenia can consider itself the sporting kings of Europe, with the Aussies in third. Great Britain is still doing pretty well, being above other major nations such as France, Italy, Germany, the USA and China. Indeed, the Chinese are languishing in 51st place in our table.

(*Idle curiosity has caused us to work out where Wales - population 3,004,600 - would be in this table after the golds for Nicole Cook and Tom James, and Tom Lucy's silver. The answer is: third best in the entire world, with a score of 0.666. Cymru am byth, indeed.)

But, we can tell you're asking, what does all that look like in graph form? Oh, you. Taking the top forty nations, it looks like the following .png file -

And there you go. No, we're not putting the correct flag colours on each bar. Tsk. More Olympic number crunching and fun facts about disgraceful human rights records next time, chums!

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