New map depicts Olympic medal table as you’ve never seen it before.

Maps showing competing countries from across the globe swelling in relation to their Olympic medal hauls have been created by a researcher from the University of Sheffield.

World map of medal distributionBloating Great Britain beyond recognition, the overall medal map – which represents the total medals received at the London games – sees the UK dwarf Western Europe after Team GB’s 29 gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze medals.

The colourful maps offer an alternative way of viewing the medal count of Team GB, and the other 204 countries’ medal taking part in this year’s games.

Dr Benjamin Hennig, of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Geography and an expert in social and spatial inequalities, created the maps.

Dr Hennig said: “From a global perspective, the legacy of the games is often measured in sporting success – however great the ‘spirit’ of the Olympics is emphasised. So it comes as little surprise that the medal tables are revisited over and over again.

“But despite an extraordinary performance of the host nation and some disappointments in other parts of the world, the overall picture of Olympic success stories is of little surprise. Olympic inequalities already started with an imbalance of participating athletes from around the world which hardly reflects the global population distribution.
“The wealthier parts of the world tend to have the larger teams, with Europe dominating the stage by far. At the other end of the scale are countries such as Bhutan, and others, with only two athletes.

“That pattern is carried forward to the winner’s podium, where in large the wealthier parts of the world are represented, even if some great exceptions have made quite some headlines. The map shows the final medal tables in Worldmapper-style cartograms, with the main map representing the total medal count, and the smaller inset map splitting these numbers into separate maps of gold, silver and bronze medals, each resizing a country according to the number of medals that it has received.”