The Medal Count of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

After the 2018 PyoengChang Olympic Winter Games, I already felt urged to do my very own medal count of the event: I wanted to see which is the most versatile country in the Olympic programme. One motivation was that the Netherlands were quite high in the medal count – but practically got all their medals from Speed Skating. I overall enjoyed this analysis and felt urged to do the same thing for the Toyko 2020 Olympics in 2021 again. Knowing that there are much more events in Summer Games. Thus, this posting meant more work – and also a certain increased potential for mistakes. Tried my best to avoid them.


The Medal Count – What I did

The idea is simple: I do a medal count like it is familiar to you. However, in every sports, you can at most win one medal of each category. This is unfair, as the IOC lists a bunch of cycling sports, but gathers all track and field disciplines as Athletics. But that’s what life is about. If a country won gold in BMX Freestyle and Mountainbiking, they will be counted as two golden ones in my tally – a golden medal in 100 meter sprint plus another one in hammer throw will only count as one. The idea is to identify countries which are very versatile and win medals in very different sports. I honestly did not expect too many movements in Summer Games in contrast to winter games. But let’s see.

According to the Toyko 2020 website, the list of sports is as follows:

  • 3×3 Basketball
  • Archery
  • Artistic Gymnastics
  • Artistic Swimming
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Baseball / Softball
  • Basketball
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Boxing
  • Canoe Slalom
  • Canoe Sprint
  • Cycling BMX Freestyle
  • Cycling BMX Racing
  • Cycling Mountain Bike
  • Cycling Road
  • Cycling Track
  • Diving
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Football / Soccer
  • Golf
  • Handball
  • Hockey
  • Judo
  • Karate
  • Marathon Swimming
  • Modern Pentathlon
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics
  • Rowing
  • Rugby (Sevens)
  • Sailing
  • Shooting
  • Skateboarding
  • Sport Climbing
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Taekwondo
  • Tennis
  • Trampoline Gymnastics
  • Triathlon
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

That’s in total a list of 46 sports. This also means that in the leaderboard, you may at most have 46 golden medals – compared to 339 disciplines in fact competed in in Tokyo.


The Medal Count – The Table

Here is my alternative medal count, determined as described above:

Rank Country G S B
1 United States of America (USA) 16 13 14
2 China (CHN) 14 14 9
3 Great Britain (GBR) 11 11 17
4 Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 10 15 10
5 Japan (JPN) 10 13 13
6 Germany (GER) 8 9 9
7 France (FRA) 7 8 8
8 Netherlands (NED) 7 7 9
9 Brazil (BRA) 7 4 5
10 Italy (ITA) 6 7 13
11 Australia (AUS) 6 5 13
12 Canada (CAN) 6 4 7
13 Hungary (HUN) 4 6 6
14 Czech Republic (CZE) 4 4 3
15 Spain (ESP) 3 7 5

In contrast to the Winter Olympic 2018 edition of this posting, there is not too much movement on the top. Australia crashed out of the Top 10 in my count (from an official IOC placement at 6th in their leaderboard). But there are also countries like Brazil or South Korea, who just did not make it into the cut of Top 15, but feel to have a really nice, widespread talent. Japan drops out of the Top 3 – some of the reasons you see below. The USA lead my personal medal table as the IOC one.


Another Ranking – At Least one Medal in a Sports

I just has been curious and use my data for some other analysis. In this medal tally, I just counted the sports in which a country got at least one medal. If you got ten golden medals and five silver ones in Athletics, this still counts as one – like another country which just did a Bronze medal there. Like all my analysis, it is a bit unbalanced – but ain’t that another nice way to find the most widely talented country / NOC?

Rank Country Sports with Medal
1 United States (USA) 26
2 Great Britain (GBR) 22
3 Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 19
4 Australia (AUS) 18
4 China (CHN) 18
4 Italy (ITA) 18
7 Japan (JPN) 18
8 France (FRA) 16
9 Germany (GER) 15
10 Spain (ESP) 14

I like this table – even though it gives slightly different messages. Australia, for example, looks much better here than in my main table above. The table also suggests a stronger concentration of talent on the Chinese side, for example. On the other hand you see that no team / country is super-dominant. Even the USA just had medals in 26/46 sports, i.e. “just” in 56% of them.


Full House – All Medals in a Sports

My final anaylsis is more´about total dominance. You only get a count per sports in here, if you made all three medals, gold, silver and bronze (regardless of the exact number of medals – so two golden, two silver and three bronze medals in Swimming still count as one).

Rank County “Full House” Sports
1 Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 6
2 Great Britain (GBR) 5
2 Japan (JPN) 5
4 China (CHN) 4
4 Netherlands (NED) 4
4 United States (USA) 4
7 Canada (CAN) 2
7 France (FRA) 2
7 Hungary (HUN() 2

There are ten more countries with one “Medal Full House”. You might not take too much away from this table, but I still feel it to be impressive that Russia gets all three type of medals in six sports (namely Artistic Gymnastics, Boxing, Fencing, Shooting, Swimming and Taekwondo). Russia, by the way just had two meals in Athletics – where this ROC thing majorly started.


Title picture: Tokyo 2020 logo, copyrighted by the IOC.


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