At least that’s according to one method for crunching the numbers that’s being promoted by a New Zealand government agency. Since last Thursday, Statistics New Zealand has been posting daily online updates of its “medal strike rate” — the number of gold medals won relative to each country’s population.
On the traditional medal table, China finished ahead after 10 days of competition with 31 golds, while the U.S. was running a close second with 29.
But factor in population, and the U.S. drops to a middle-of-the-pack 23rd, winning one gold medal for every 11 million residents. China, the world’s most populous nation, drops to 36th, with one gold for every 43 million. Among larger nations, Olympic hosts Britain leads, with its 18 golds representing one for every 3.4 million residents.