Olympic Medals Timeline

How has the geographical distribution of medals in Olympic games changed over the last century? In the first Olympic games in 1896, medals were awarded to 11 teams and all were either from Europe or from the United States. The number of teams with medals started growing rapidly after 1980 from 36 teams to 85 teams in 2012. The visualization tracks the number of medals awarded to different countries over time.

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As the visualization shows, the number of different countries winning medals in the Olympic games started growing rapidly after 1980. You can see this visualized in a separate chart. The visualization above is also easily adapted to show medals in different disciplines.

  • To see the timeline for a specific discipline, you can go to "options" and select disciplines you want to include in the first control. This lets you choose one or more disciplines. This will make the bubbles smaller - you can make them bigger by changing the size function in the code (change 0.5 to a bigger number between 0.5 and 2.0).

  • You can also edit the code to show not just specific disciplines, but individual events. For example, to see medals in long-distance running. To do this, you need to change 'by disciplines'.then on the second line to 'by sport' and then choose the sports you want to visualize. You can also use this to see only women Olympic medalists by using olympics.'by gender'.Women.data.

If you are interested in the project or you would like to collaborate on visualizing interesting data, drop us an email at tomas@tomasp.net, ping us on Twitter at @thegamma_net. All source code is available under Apache 2.0 license on GitHub.

Long-distance Running Medalists

This is a variation on the Olympic Medals Timeline visualization, showing the countries winning Olympic medal in long-distance running (marathon, 10k or 5km, men or women). You can see the dominance of the Flying Finns in 1920s and 1930s. Starting with 1960s, independent African countries start competing in Olympic games and Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes become dominant winners in 1980s and even more so in 1990s.

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Are you interested in other sports instead? This visualization is configured to let you easily pick other sports in athletics. Just click on "options" and pick short-distance running sports instead! If you want to experiment more, you can change 'by sports'.Athletics in the source code to another category and then choose whatever sports you want to see. For example, table tennis!