are the winter olympics for the rich?

Below are 165 of the world's countries that participated in the Summer and Winter Olympics at least one time between 1992 and 2012. Fewer countries participate in the Winter Olympics, and even fewer poor countries — none of the poorest — win medals.

Won medals

Richest countries

Poorest countries

Each dot represents a country that participated in the Summer and Winter Olympics since 1990.

Altogether, there were 165 countries and 69,000 participants.

46 of them are high-income countries.

31 of them are low-income countries.

Countries from all income levels go to the Olympics and win medals.

165 countries

56,500 participants

46 high-income countries.

31 low-income countries.

86 countries

12,500 participants

39 high-income countries.

6 low-income countries.

The Summer Olympics attracts nearly twice as many participating countries than the Winter Olympics.

87% won medals


69% won medals


While some low-income countries consistently medal in summer events, not one has medalled in a winter event since 1990.

Low-income countries are less likely to medal, especially in the Winter Olympics.

See the full interactive

SOURCE: World Bank, Sports Reference, "Economic Prediction of Medal Wins at the 2014 Winter Olympics," by Madeleine Andreff and Wladimir Andreff. GRAPHIC: Kennedy Elliott and Ted Mellnik - The Washington Post. Published Feb. 6, 2014.

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