Global Games, Regional Sports – Vancouver 2010

I previously posted a project I worked on for the London 2012 Olympics. Well, I did some digging around and I managed to find data for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, so I wrangled it into the format I had previously used, made some tweaks, and republished my Global Games, Regional Sports analysis, but this time with different data. Does that make this some kind of data-remix?

Please find the result here:

Sample Insights

  • Biathlon and Cross Country Skiing both move together towards Northern Europe when switching from participants to medals. Due to similarities in the sports, we would expect them to be linked.
  • Skeleton is most southern in participants due largely to Kiwi competitors, but as they don’t win medals it rockets up to the top when switching to medals.
  • Four of six ice hockey medals won by Canada and the United States move that sport far to the west. A bad Olympics for European Ice Hockey


Vancouver 2010 Medals by Athlete -
Participants from Contextures Blog via, thank you for manually scraping, compiling, and publishing
Latitude and Longitude of Capitals – Mix of sources, primarily Wikipedia

New Project: Global Games, Regional Sports – London 2012

Today I am publishing a project that I have been working on over the last couple of weeks during the 2012 Summer Olympics here in London. The essential question I asked was: If you calculate the weighted geographical midpoint of each sport at the Olympics, do you get an interesting result? I think the answer is yes, and I built a visualisation to support exploring it.

Please find the visualisation here:

Sample Insights

  • Any east/west or north/south participation bias is emphasised in the medal results. For example, a sport that has more eastern participants will have proportionally even more eastern medals. Examples: Badminton, Table Tennis, Archery. There are a few exceptions including Boxing with southern participants and northern winners.
  • Athletics have an incredibly wide range of participants and much narrower set of winners, dominated by the United States, pulling the medals point to the West
  • Football and Hockey are quite southern sports. At least in the case of Football this is a result of low European participation
  • Very few sports have proportionally more southern winners than participants. Of the 32 sports, only six move south when switching from participants to medals: Beach Volleyball, Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Sailing, Volleyball, Water Polo. This is due in part to the dominance of the United States and China in the games, but is true more generally as more northern countries tend to lead the medals table.
  • A lot of sports land where my intuition puts them: Northwestern European tennis, European handball, New world Beach Volleyball
  • Some surprises to me: Judo and Taekwondo are surprisingly central. Fencing appears European as well as east-Asian. Surprisingly international: Basketball. Probably not all surprises for all people.


2012 Olympic Medals by Country by Sport -, scraped manually.
All London 2012 athletes and medal data - for participants data, thank you The Guardian
Latitude and Longitude of Capitals – Mix of sources, primarily Wikipedia


This visualisation uses D3.js (, a JavaScript framework for SVG. Note that this then requires Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, or IE9. Note that IE8 is explicitly excluded from this list.