It has been four years since the Queen of England and James Bond parachuted into the opening ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympics, sparking a two week Summer games that was celebrated as a spectacle worthy of the international stage. Starting Friday, Rio de Janiero will get its chance to shine after weeks of bad press and the threat of the Zika virus looming over the events.
But, when it all is said and done, many will likely focus on one thing in particular: Who won the most medals? As a refresher, here is a breakdown of what happened four years ago.
The United States Brought Home The Most Medals
This shouldn’t be that surprising, as the country tends to win big in the games. The U.S. was followed by China, Russia, the U.K. and Germany. Here are the totals:
The U.S.: 104 total medals, 46 gold medals, 29 silver medals, 29 bronze medals.
China: 88 total medals, 38 gold medals, 27 silver medals, 23 bronze medals.
Russia: 82 total medals, 24 gold medals, 26 silver medals, 32 bronze medals.
Great Britain: 65 total medals, 29 gold medals, 17 silver medals, 32 bronze medals.
Germany: 44 total medals, 11 gold medals, 19 silver medals, 14 bronze medals.
Does That Mean Team USA Was Actually The Best?
There are more ways to count medals than the overall number. So, was the Team USA medal count that great considering the country sent 530 athletes to the games? As it turns out, yes. When counting medals per athlete, the U.S. came in just behind Jamaica. None of the other top five medal earning countries made the top five medals per athlete list, below.
Jamaica: 0.5 medals per athlete.
The U.S.: 0.483 medals per athlete.
Montenegro: 0.42 medals per athlete.
Netherlands: 0.39 medals per athlete.
Trinidad and Tobago: 0.33 medals per athlete.
But, The U.S. Is Wealthy And Wealthy Nations Can Afford Better Training Facilities
This is true, and under this metric, the U.S. drops from the charts. When comparing a country’s gross domestic product to their medal count, several smaller countries show they were able to make the most with the least in 2012. The U.S., with a GDP of roughly $15.1 trillion at the time and 104 medals, was able to count one medal for every $145.1 billion in GDP. Here are the best performers:
Grenada: $800 million in GDP per medal.
Jamaica: $1.23 billion per medal.
Mongolia: $1.7 billion per medal.
Georgia: $2.06 billion per medal.
Kenya: $3.16 billion per medal.