Number of Teams Winning a Medal

In the early days of Olympic games, much of the world was a part of European colonies and the number of teams winning Olympic medals reflects this. Before the First World War, the maximal number of teams with a medal was 20. In the interwar period, the number grew to 32. Olympic games started becoming more diverse after the Second World War and especially after the end of colonialism. In London 2012, the number of teams winning a medal grew to 85.

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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.