Everyone seems pleased as punch over the United States’ 121 medals at the Rio Olympics, a national record for a non-boycotted Games. I’m not. Because on the list I’m looking at right now, the Americans are sitting at a thoroughly mediocre 43rd in the medal standings. Behind Russia. Behind Qatar and Kosovo. Behind Canada.
And everyone on this list is looking up at Grenada, once again your 2016 Olympic medal champion in medals per capita.
The tiny, nutmeg-producing island nation in the Lesser Antilles — population 106,825, or about the same size as Green Bay, Wis. — took home all of one medal: Kirani James’s silver in the men’s 400-meter dash. But that was good enough to take home the per-capital medal title for the second straight Summer Olympics (James won gold in the 400 in London four years ago, as well). The Grenadians edged out the Bahamas, which won two medals, one for every 194,009 people.
Your top five medals-per-capita, based on the list at MedalsPerCapita.com:
1. Grenada: 1 medal, 106,825 people per medal.
2. Bahamas: 2 medals, 194,009 people per medal.
3. Jamaica: 11 medals, 247,812 people per medal.
4. New Zealand: 18 medals, 255,316 people per medal.
5. Denmark: 15 medals, 378,400 people per medal.
The United States took home one medal for every 2,656,353 citizens, good enough only for 43rd (one spot directly below Russia and one ahead of Spain). India, a nation of 1.3 billion people, finished last with just two medals, or one for every 655,525,263 people.
MedalsPerCapita.com also tabulates a number of other metrics, including one that seems a little more telling: weighted medals per 100 athletes. This combines a scoring system devised by the New York Times in 2008 (four points for each gold medal, two points for each silver, one point for each bronze) with overall national-team size. Your winner: Tajikistan, which sent all of seven athletes to the games and took home one gold (Dilshod Nazarov in the men’s hammer throw) for a weighted-medals-per-100-athletes number of 57. The United States finished second in this metric, with 53 weighted medals per 100 athletes, followed by Kosovo and Jordan in a tie for third (one gold medal for eight athletes each) and Azerbaijan in fifth.
Pulling up the rear: Portugal, which brought home a lone bronze medal out of its 92 total athletes. Here’s to you, Telma Monteiro. Your third-place finish in women’s 57-kilogram judo inspired a nation.