The original Olympic charter forbade medal counts
that include a ranking per country
(read more). But many media do publish
medal counts. All of them are inofficial - so is the present one.
The European entry is the sum of the gold counts of all EU members as of 2010.
Since Germany is the legal heir of the
German teams 1896-2010, we sum their gold counts.
Rare participations 1956-1988 explain the USSR's performance
(note that today's Russia is not the legal heir of the former USSR).
See also: 2004 medal count and
2008 gold count.
Even more gold for the EU as a single entity?
In the 20th century
nearly half of all gold medals went to Europe,
which is not surprising as it is home of most
world record holders and champions in Olympic disciplines.
But in team competitions (4 x 100m relays, football, etc.)
Europe cannot simply
form a superb team by assembling the best athletes of all EU nations.
Hence often some non-EU team wins, although it could not
expect to beat the EU all star team.
On the other hand, the EU nations currently
send more athletes than a unified EU would send.
Although the top-ranked favorites usually get the gold,
this increases the chances that some second rate EU
athlete wins gold just by accident in case all
favorites fail to deliver.
How often does this happen?
Could such occasional luck make a significant
difference in the overall gold count?
All time per capita rankings must take into
account historic census data 1896-2010, since nations
have grown at varying speeds. Per capita rankings
traditionally dominated by
East Germany (e.g., Summer 1980: 47 golds /
16 m people = 2.9 golds per million capita, 1988: 2.3 gpmc)
and Norway (e.g., Winter 1998: 10 golds / 5
m people = 2.0 gpmc; 2002: 2.6 gpmc) (but note that the number of golds per Games
has grown by 60% in the period 1980-2010).
In some Olympics very small countries
achieved even higher per capita values (notably Liechtenstein 1980: 2 golds /
0.033 m people = 60 gpmc; Bahamas 2000: 2 golds /
0.33 m people = 6 gpmc), but not on a
routine basis - in such cases there always was a single athlete
who contributed to all victories of his nation.
These outlier cases should be ignored as they are statistical flukes - many small
nations are taking part in many Games, hence one of them will eventually boast a gold medalist.
Note that most small nations usually have 0.0 gpmc; the values of the large
nations are clearly below 0.5 gpmc.
The Olympics as a European invention
are biased towards popular European sports.
An alternative bias towards, say, popular Asian sports would probably
yield a different picture.
J. Schmidhuber, 2010
2006 all time gold count
and the 2008 all time gold count).