Tag Archives: olympics

Olympic Medals Table Per Capita

13 Aug

Don’t you hate it that the medals table just lists the number of medals without addressing how much bigger some countries are than others? No? Well I do. How impressive is it that China dominates when they have 1.4 billion people to fish from?

Because the populations of countries competing for medals at the Olympics are so drastically different, I’ve recalculated the final medals table to take into account population sizes. The gold, silver, and bronze columns on the right tell you how many medals the top 20 countries would have won if their populations were 1 billion people (actual medals are on the left).

Now, of course if there were a billion Jamaicans, there would surely still only be one Usain Bolt, not forty, and the USA and China still have to find and develop their medal-winning athletes. Bangladesh and India also have about a billion inhabitants each, and they didn’t win enough enough precious metal between them to re-plate a single Taj-Mahal doorknob.

Nevertheless, congrats to Jamaica, New Zealand, and Hungary for winning gold, silver, and bronze in the most medals per capita competition. Great Britain missed out on a podium place, but won an overwhelming majority of actual medals of the nations in the top 10. Hard luck, Team GB, on missing out on this the more coveted prize, but getting third in real life must go some way to easing the pain. An astonishing achievement.


Wedlock and Mandible

1 Jul

We’re a little over half-way through the World Cup proceedings, and I have completely missed the opportunity to rail on our mascot.

mascot zakumi

Zakumi the FIFA WC mascot

South Africa is ‘safari’ country, and we punt the Big Five all the time, so it is fitting that our mascot, Zakumi, should be some kind of big cat. I think he’s meant to be a humanoid leopardy thing. It’s hard to tell, because the much-vaunted AFRICAN World Cup has borrowed it’s aesthetic from Japanese anime. Obviously. Why would you not?

And when you come to the stadia, you will be eating American Mc-Cardboard TM and drinking breathtakingly overpriced Budweiser or Coke, and that’s about it. [I thought democracy was about choice?]

“Democracy: now on sale to the highest bidder!”

Our opening ceremony also featured one or two bad imitations of American Hip-hop, and I think one genuine bad American Hip-hopper. African-American Africans. That’s us.

Even Shakira’s WC song ‘This is time for Africa’, or whatever it is, features a distinctively Indian dance move at the chorus, which I suppose is meant to capture the average American’s grasp of world geography.

Oh well. Except for when he’s really badly animated (i.e. most of the time), Zakumi is pretty cute.

It could be much worse. It could be London 2012.

The Olympic Logo, which is just MTV circa 1987, apparently causes seisures, not (as far as I can tell) because it flashes too much, but just because the brain can’t handle that much ugliness at once without stroking out. The logo isn’t the only issue. Their Olympic mascots, known as Wenlock and Mandeville, have also received mixed reviews. While they haven’t just ripped off anime, my problem is that they appear to have ripped off Nickelodeon’s Plankton:

They were allegedly designed at unusually low cost, which — while commendable on one level — really shows.