London 2012 Olympics — Medals vs GDP and population

August 25, 2012

(This article was first published on Tony's bubble universe » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

It’s already midnight. I’m sitting near my bed. And before going to bed, I’ll type my last post on London 2012 Olympics. Olympic games are not only individual competitions, but also the reflections of countries’ strength. This is one reason why Olympics data is worthy to study. Researches have indicated that the performance of one country in Olympic Games is related to it’s population, GDP, even area (actually I don’t believe the last one). Here, I would like to bring their relationship into a motion chart (see the following snapshot; click here for the motion chart).

If you look into the chart, there will be a lot of interesting findings. Although I’m not a expert,  I’d like to say that the total population matters the most, as countries at the toppest of medal lists tends to be big countries. Also the GDP has its impact, but not as much as the population. And it seems the country location also affect the Olympic performance. For instance, Australia has a better performance than Canada, which is similar in population and GDP with Australia. 

To this end, Olympic Games are fun to watch, and also fun for data mining. This could be the reason why there are so many people digging into the relationships between Olympic performance and GDP or population.


Note: GDP and population date were retrieved from the World Bank API using the code provided in the googleVis package demo. As 2012 data is yet available, the 2011 data is used instead.

This is my 7th post on London 2012 Olympics. In the end, I’d like to thank Markus Gesmann and Diego de Castillo for their wonderful googleVis package, which has encouraged me to explore this unknown territory.

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