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.

A world map depicting countries in relation to how many many medals they received at the Olympics

Bloating 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.

Olympic facts:

Six students and alumni from University of Sheffield took part in the Olympic with another due to take part in the Paralympic games.

Jessica Ennis, who graduated with a degree in Pyschology from the University of Sheffield in 2007, won gold in the Heptathlon to set a British and Commonwealth record.

Professors Nigel Dunnett and James Hitchmough from the Department of Landscape designed the Olympic gardens.

Psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters, a lecturer in medicine at the University, was sports psychologist to Wiggins; Sir Chris Hoy, and Victoria Pendleton.

“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.”

Dr Hennig will also be revealing the results of the 2012 Paralympic Games which begin on Wednesday 29 August 2012, and end Sunday 9 September 2012.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, and 2007).

These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world. The University’s research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.


For further information please contact:

Paul Mannion
Media relations officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 9851