Dataviz: Winter Olympic medal count by population and wealth

So, Russia won the most medals and Olympic golds in Sochi, topping #2 Norway. But that's like saying New York City has more restaurants than San Francisco. Of course it does; the Big Apple has 10 times the population of San Fran. Likewise, one would expect large countries like the U.S. and Russia to do reasonably well; what's interesting is when smaller countries rack up a high medal count relative to their size. In other words, it's often more interesting to look at rates than raw numbers; otherwise, you often end up simply plotting population heat maps, as this oft-cited xkcd comic so aptly point out.

The folks at Tableau decided to take a look at medal counts by population and wealth, and here's what they found. Turns out Norway was the big winner in medals per population, while tiny Slovenia took the top spot in medals per GDP. Given that both those countries have a fairly high proportion of ski-friendly mountains per square mile, that makes sense. Perhaps the next visualization for Winter Olympic medals needs to include proportion of Winter-Olympic-friendly terrain. 


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