But is it fair to lump all the EU nations together?
Some of them collect many more medals per capita
than others. They might complain about the dilution
of their efforts.
Anyway, what would happen if the EU participated as
a single entity? Presumably
its gold count would further increase, while the silver and
bronze counts would decrease:
Even more gold for EU as single entity?
In numerous team competitions (such as football and 4x100m relays etc) the
EU currently cannot simply form a
superb team by assembling the best athletes from all EU states.
Instead various sub-optimal EU teams compete against
each other, and often a non-EU team wins in the end,
although it couldn't expect to beat the EU all star team.
On the other hand, the best teams
do not always win. The EU currently
sends more teams than a unified EU would send.
This increases the chances that some second rate EU
team wins gold just by accident.
How often does this happen?
To summarize, it is not quite clear
to which extent the above EU gold count (which simply sums up
those of individual EU states) overestimates or underestimates
the hypothetical gold count of a unified EU.
But less silver & bronze!
Usually there is only one team per nation and team competition,
and while there also is just one gold medal,
EU teams currently can in principle capture the silver and bronze as well,
which is usually impossible for single nations.
Finally it must be mentioned that the IOC "does not
officially recognize national medal totals, nor recommend
using one way of assigning medals by country over another.
The original Olympic charter forbade a medal count that
included a ranking per country"
(read more). All medal counts published
by the media are inofficial; so is the one above.