The 30th Olympiad ended on Sunday with a spectacular closing ceremony and a record number of medals for the host country. Team GB won 29 gold medals, 17 silver medals and 19 bronze medals - the most medals won by Great Britain for more than 100 years, putting them first amongst all European countries and third (by gold medals count) behind the United States and China. The Games, however, could be said to belong to just one man – Usain Bolt – who proclaimed that he was a ‘living legend’ and dividing opinion. But that would be to forget David Rudisha who broke the 800m world record; or Michael Phelps who became the most decorated Olympian ever; double gold winner Mo Farah in the 5,000m and 10,000m, or indeed Sir Chris Hoy, who picked up his 6th gold medal in cycling.
The following table shows an overview of the countries that won 7 or more gold medals and 10 or more silver and bronze medals in this summer’s London 2012 Olympic Games.
Figure 1: Top countries in London Olympics
From the figure above, one can easily spot two main clusters of countries: the first cluster comprises the four teams that did exceptionally well such as USA (US), China (CN), Great Britain (GB) and Russia (RU) while the second one consists the rest of the teams including amongst others those of Germany (DE), Japan (JP), Australia (AU), South Korea (KR), France (FR), Italy (IT), Hungary (HU) and Kazakhstan (KZ).
Let us now examine how diverse in sports the teams that have won the most medals are. Figure 2 shows the top sports for USA.
Figure 2: Top USA sports
As can be seen from the figure above, the USA did extremely well in Swimming (30 medals in total half of which were gold, 9 silver and 6 bronze) and Athletics (9 gold, 13 silver, 7 bronze; 29 in total) and less well in Gymnastics (3 gold; 6 in total), Tennis and Shooting (3 gold; 4 in total).
Figure 3 displays the sports in which China did very well in.
Figure 3: Top China sports
China has a big diversity in sports as they did very well not only in water sports such as Diving (6 gold, 3 silver; 10 in total) and Swimming (5 gold, 3 bronze; 10 in total) but also in Badminton and Weightlifting (5 gold in each; 8 and 7 respectively in total); Gymnastics artistic (4 gold, 3 silver; 8 in total); shooting (3 bronze; 7 in total); table tennis (4 gold; 6 in total) as well as in athletics (5 bronze; 6 in total).
Figure 4: Top GB sports
Team GB (Figure 4) did extremely well in Track Cycling and Rowing (7 and 4 gold respectively; 9 in each sport in total); Athletics (4 gold; 6 in total); Equestrian (3 gold; 5 in total) and Sailing (4 silver; 5 in total).
As for Russia, the 4th of the top teams (Figure 5), they did extremely well in Athletics (8 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze; 18 in total); Wrestling (4 gold, 5 bronze; 11 in total); Gymnastics (3 silver, 4 bronze; 8 in total); Weightlifting (5 silver; 6 in total) and Judo (3 gold; 5 in total).
Figure 5: Top Russia sports
From the above we may conclude that in general, the Americans and the British are very good at Swimming, Athletics, Cycling and Rowing while the Chinese and Russians are good in a wider range of sports including Gymnastics, Tennis, Badminton, Wrestling and Weightlifting as well as Athletics and Swimming. It is this diversity in the range of sports that sees all four countries perform well in the medals table. The United States topped the total medals table with 104 total medals whilst Great Britain, who came 4th, took home 65 total medals - the next best competitor was Germany with 44 total medals.
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