Friday, August 03, 2012

Geopolitics and Olympic medals

by Salman Hameed

The olympics section of the New York Times has a sliding bar that shows countries with medals since the start of modern olympics in 1896. Of course, the number of countries (and the number of countries that participate) has increased over the past century. But what is cool about the sliding bar is that it gives you a bit of a taste of the state of geopolitics at the larger level.

For example, here is the result from the 1936 Berlin olympics - a few years before the start of World War II. We can already see some of the key players in the war:

Here are the medals from the 1988 Seoul olympics. We see a bi-polar world - especially if you also include East-Germany in the communist block. But that was all about to change.

And this from the 2008 Beijing olympics - and we can see the rise of a new power from the east:

Nothing very profound here. I was just having fun with the time-line, and you can checkout the sliding bar yourself


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