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Summer Olympic Medal Tables


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The following table of the top four Summer Olympic Medal winners by nationality is based on the tables compiled in, The Complete Book of the Olympics (London: Aurum Press, 2008), along with additional detail on Beijing 2008. We have reproduced the top four nations for each Summer Olympics since 1896, including the out-of-sequence event in Athens in 1906. The Games are altogether on a different scale in the thirtieth Olympiad leading up to London 2012: at Athens in 1896 only around 245 competitors participated, from 14 nations; in Beijing in 2008, 10,560 athletes from 201 nations were represented at the event. Actual medals began to be awarded from 1904, so the tables allocate them retrospectively to those who finished first, second, or third at the 1896 and 1900 Games.

In the first four Games, competitors entered as individuals, not as selected members of national teams, and Wallechinsky and Loucky note the difficulty of establishing definitively the national profiles. But the pattern of domination is clear: apart from 1906, 1908, and 1936 when France, Great Britain, and Germany respectively topped the medal tables, only three nations have held that position—the USA, 16 times; the Soviet Union, 7 times, and China, for the first time in 2008. The Olympic medal table as presented here is based on the primacy of the gold medal, not the accumulated total medal haul at a Games. To look at the relative positions of the dominant nations, and other nations to break into the top four, is to see the workings of global politics on the sporting stage. Asking where, when, and how these positions were achieved are fascinating and challenging questions, at the heart of an interdisciplinary sports studies, and so these tables are included as an Appendix to invite the sports studies scholar to ask such questions about the one sporting phenomenon that provides a platform for the whole world.

Key to abbreviations

Medals

G gold medals

S silver medals

B bronze medals

Nations

AUS Australia

BEL Belgium

BUL Bulgaria

CAN Canada

CHN China

CUB Cuba

FIN Finland

FRA France

GBR Great Britain and Northern Ireland

GDR East Germany (German Democratic Republic, 1952–88)

GER Germany; West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany, 1952–88)

GRE Greece

HUN Hungary

ITA Italy

JPN Japan

KOR Korea

ROM Romania

RUS Russia

SOV Soviet Union (Unified Team, 1992)

SWE Sweden

USA United States of America

Medals tables

1896Athens

G S B

USA 11 7 2

GRE 10 16 19

GER 6 5 2

FRA 5 4 2

1900Paris

G S B

USA 21 14 15

FRA 18 27 21

GBR 12 9 7

BEL 3 3 1

1904St Louis

G S B

USA 67 72 75

GER 4 4 4

CAN 4 1 1

CUB 3 0 0

1906Athens

G S B

FRA 15 9 16

USA 12 6 6

GRE 8 13 12

GBR 8 11 5

1908London

G S B

GBR 56 51 39

USA 23 12 12

SWE 8 6 11

FRA 5 5 9

1912Stockholm

G S B

USA 25 18 20

SWE 23 24 17

GBR 10 15 16

FIN 9 8 9

1920Antwerp

G S B

USA 41 27 27

SWE 19 20 25

FIN 15 10 9

GBR 14 15 13

1924Paris

G S B

USA 45 27 27

FIN 14 13 10

FRA 13 15 10

GBR 9 13 12

1928Amsterdam

G S B

USA 22 18 16

GER 10 7 14

FIN 8 8 9

SWE 7 6 12

1932Los Angeles

G S B

USA 41 32 30

ITA 12 12 12

FRA 10 5 4

SWE 9 5 9

1936Berlin

G S B

GER 33 26 30

USA 24 20 12

HUN 10 1 5

ITA 8 9 5

1948London

G S B

USA 38 27 19

SWE 16 11 17

FRA 10 6 13

HUN 10 5 12

1952Helsinki

G S B

USA 40 19 17

SOV 22 30 19

HUN 16 10 16

SWE 12 13 10

1956Melbourne

G S B

SOV 37 29 32

USA 32 25 17

AUS 13 8 14

HUN 9 10 7

1960Rome

G S B

SOV 43 29 31

USA 34 21 16

ITA 13 10 13

GER 12 19 11

1964Tokyo

G S B

USA 36 26 28

SOV 30 31 35

JPN 16 5 8

GER 10 22 8

1968Mexico City

G S B

USA 45 28 34

SOV 29 32 30

JPN 11 7 7

HUN 10 10 12

1972Munich

G S B

SOV 50 27 22

USA 33 31 30

GDR 20 23 23

GER 13 11 16

1976Montreal

G S B

SOV 49 41 35

GDR 40 25 25

USA 34 35 25

GER 10 12 17

1980Moscow

G S B

SOV 80 69 46

GDR 47 37 42

BUL 8 16 17

CUB 8 7 5

1984Los Angeles

G S B

USA 83 61 30

ROM 20 16 17

GER 17 19 23

CHN 15 8 9

1988Seoul

G S B

SOV 55 31 46

GDR 37 35 30

USA 36 31 27

KOR 12 10 11

1992Barcelona

G S B

SOV 45 38 28

USA 37 34 37

GER 33 21 28

CHN 16 22 16

1996Atlanta

G S B

USA 44 32 25

RUS 26 21 16

GER 20 18 27

CHN 16 22 12

2000Sydney

G S B

USA 38 24 32

RUS 32 28 28

CHN 28 16 15

AUS 16 25 17

2004Athens

G S B

USA 36 39 27

CHN 32 17 14

RUS 27 27 38

AUS 17 16 16

2008Beijing

G S B

CHN 51 21 28

USA 36 38 36

RUS 23 21 28

GBR 19 13 15

From A Dictionary of Sports Studies in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.



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