Olympic Medal Count: How Countries Fared at Tokyo 2020
Every four years, the Summer Olympics brings together thousands of athletes from around the world to compete in a global arena of sportsmanship and athletic excellence.
Tokyo hosted the 2020 Summer Olympics from July 24 to August 9, 2021, marking the second time Japan has hosted the Summer Olympics. The country was first given the honor back in 1964 becoming the first Asian nation to host the Olympic Games.
Even in this most challenging of climates where the games had to be pushed by a year, nothing stopped the athletes from exceeding their limits and breaking long-held records.
The Final 2020 Olympic Medal Count
In a complete show of dominance, the U.S. won the most medals at the Olympics, raking in 113 total with 39 gold medals. The U.S. beat out China to claim the top spot by a single gold medal. China finished the games with an impressive 88 medals in total. The host country Japan comes in at third with 27 gold medals and a total of 58 medals.
Here is the final Olympic medal count for each country that participated in the Tokyo Olympic Games:
|4||🇬🇧 Great Britain||22||21||22||65|
|5||🇷🇺 ROC (Russia)||20||28||23||71|
|13||🇳🇿 New Zealand||07||06||07||20|
|16||🇰🇷 South Korea||06||04||10||20|
|18||🇨🇿 Czech Republic||04||04||03||11|
|34||🇹🇼 Chinese Taipei (Taiwan)||02||04||06||12|
|49||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||01||02||03||06|
|52||🇿🇦 South Africa||01||02||00||03|
|63||🇵🇷 Puerto Rico||01||00||00||01|
|68||🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||00||03||02||05|
|72||🇸🇲 San Marino||00||01||02||03|
|77||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||00||01||00||01|
|77||🇲🇰 North Macedonia||00||01||00||01|
|86||🇧🇫 Burkina Faso||00||00||01||01|
|86||🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire||00||00||01||01|
|86||🇲🇩 Republic of Moldova||00||00||01||01|
Of course, countries with larger populations have an inherent advantage, so it’s also interesting to look at the top countries by population per medal. By this measure, the European microstate of San Marino comes out on top. This was San Marino’s first ever medal showing at an Olympic Games. Turkmenistan and Burkina Faso also won medals for the first time at Tokyo 2020.
Here’s a look at the top 15 countries by population per Olympic medal:
|Country (population)||Olympic Medals in 2020||Population per medal|
|San Marino (33,931)||3||11,310|
|New Zealand (4,822,233)||20||241,112|
Among countries with a slightly larger population, the Netherlands and Australia had strong showings.
Other Facts and Figures About the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Despite a year-long delay and a slew of challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, this unprecedented Olympic Games went ahead. Here are 12 interesting things to note about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:
1. The Olympic Torch
The Olympic Torch Relay traveled through all 47 of Japan’s prefectures over 121 days. It involved 10,500 torchbearers, who ultimately arrived at Japan’s Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
2. The Stadiums
40 venues in and around the city of Tokyo hosted 33 Olympic Sports and 22 Paralympic Sports events. The two main areas were the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone.
3. Cost of the Games
The Tokyo Olympics were the most expensive Olympics on record. According to officials, the budget for the Games was $15.4 billion. On the other hand, Japanese government auditors have claimed the total spending topped $20 billion.
This is almost three times the original forecast of around $7.4 billion when Tokyo put together its bid for the Olympics. The postponement of the Games cost the country close to $2 billion, after initial speculation that the cost could be as high as $6 billion.
4. IOC Refugee Olympic Team
29 athletes qualified as part of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Rio 2016 was the first time that an IOC refugee team had made an appearance at the Olympic games.
5. Age is Just a Number
Syrian table tennis player Hend Zaza and Japanese skateboarder Kokona Hiraki were the youngest athletes in Tokyo at 12 years old, while Australian equestrian Mary Hanna was the oldest at 66 years old.
6. Self Service Medalling
Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics put their medals around their own necks to protect against spreading COVID-19. After being presented medals on a tray, the athletes picked it up and medalled themselves. There would also be no handshakes or hugs at the podiums.
7. A Focus on Sustainability
To promote sustainability, this year’s Olympics repurposed a number of the venues used in the 1964 Games. Moreover, the podiums, uniforms, medals, and even the beds at the Olympic Village were all made from recycled materials.
While Japan is not the first to make Olympic medals from recycled materials, it is the first time that citizens of a host country proactively donated their electronic devices as materials for the medals.
8. Inclusion and Diversity
This year, the Games nearly reached gender parity. According to the IOC, of the almost 11,000 Olympic athletes in Tokyo, nearly 49% were women, marking the first “gender-balanced” games in its history. Nearly 85 years after the canoe sprint made its Olympic debut, the women’s sprint event was added to the Olympic games this year.
Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard from New Zealand was the first openly transgender woman competing in any event at the Olympics. She joined other elite athletes like footballer Quinn from Canada and U.S. cyclist Chelsea Wolfe to participate in this year’s games.
9. Mental Health Took Center Stage
Starting with four-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka withdrawing from the French Open over mental health concerns, the conversation about an athlete’s mental preparedness was as important as their physical one at the games.
After Simone Biles stepped away from the U.S. women’s gymnastics team in the all-around contest earlier last week, numerous athletes worldwide have continued to elevate conversations surrounding mental health, especially in competitive sports.
10. Splitting a Medal?
Olympic high jumpers Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy mutually decided to share the top spot in their event. The last time the gold medal was shared among two athletes at the Olympics was 113 years ago.
11. Hot New Events
Four sports made their Olympic debuts at the Tokyo Games: karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. Other sports added new disciplines, including men’s and women’s three-on-three basketball and the BMX freestyle event.
12. Tokyo’s Slick Olympic Technology
Humanoid Robots helped on the field for the first time, fetching hammers and javelins flung during field events and interacting with spectators. This was also the first time a host used facial recognition systems to provide athletes and officials venue access, helping to increase and speed up security.
Next Stop, Paris
The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place from 26 July to 11 August 2024. During those weeks, Paris will be at the center of the sporting world. The IOC is keen to set a new standard for inclusive, gender-balanced and youth-centered games.
The next Olympics are expected to see even more athlete and spectator participation—hopefully, one where they likely won’t have to work around COVID-19 restrictions. With numerous new sports added in Tokyo’s Olympic Games, we might even see breakdancing in the Paris version of events. Here’s to the next four years.
10 Travel Destinations for Post-Pandemic Life
Excited to get back to travelling the world? This infographic highlights the 10 most popular tourist destinations.
10 Travel Destinations for Post-Pandemic Life
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization formally classified the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. The resulting travel bans decimated the tourism industry, and international air travel initially fell by as much as 98%.
Almost two years later, travel is finally back on the table, though there are many restrictions to consider. Regardless, a survey conducted in September 2021 found that, as things revert to normalcy, 82% of Americans are looking forward to international travel more than anything else.
To give inspiration for your next vacation (whenever that may be), this infographic lists the 10 most visited countries in 2019, as well as three of their top attractions according to Google Maps.
Here were the 10 most popular travel destinations in 2019, measured by their number of international arrivals.
|Country||Number of international arrivals in 2019 (millions)|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||39.4|
*Estimate | Source: World Bank
France was the most popular travel destination by a significant margin, and it’s easy to see why. The country is home to many of the world’s most renowned sights, including the Arc de Triomphe and Louvre Museum.
The Arc de Triomphe was built in the early 1800s, and honors those who died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. In 1944, Allied soldiers marched through the monument after Paris was liberated from the Nazis.
The Louvre Museum, on the other hand, is often recognized by its giant glass pyramid. The museum houses over 480,000 works of art, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Art isn’t the only thing that France has to offer. The country has a reputation for culinary excellence, and is home to 632 Michelin-starred restaurants, the most out of any country. Japan comes in at second, with 413.
While You’re There…
After seeing the sights in Paris, you may want to consider a visit to Spain. The country is the southern neighbor of France and is known for its beautiful villages and beaches.
One of its most impressive sights is the Sagrada Familia, a massive 440,000 square feet church which began construction in 1882, and is still being worked on today (139 years in the making). The video below shows the structure’s striking evolution.
At a height of 172 meters, the Sagrada Familia is approximately 52 stories tall.
Another popular spot is Ibiza, an island off the coast of Spain that is famous for its robust nightlife scene. The island is frequently mentioned in pop culture—Netflix released an adventure/romance movie titled Ibiza in 2018, and the remix of Mike Posner’s song I Took a Pill in Ibiza has over 1.4 billion views on YouTube.
If you’re looking for something outside of Europe, consider Mexico or Thailand, which are the 7th and 8th most popular travel destinations. Both offer hot weather and an abundance of white sand beaches.
If you need even more convincing, check out these links:
- The 13 Best Beaches in Mexico
- The Best Resorts in Mexico: 2021 Reader’s Choice
- The Best Night Markets in Bangkok, Thailand
- The Best Rooftop Bars in Bangkok
Under normal circumstances, hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year by international tourists. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTCC), this spending accounted for an impressive 10.4% of global GDP in 2019.
Travel restrictions introduced in 2020 dealt a serious blow to the industry, reducing its share of global GDP to 5.5%, and wiping out an estimated 62 million jobs. While the WTCC believes these jobs could return by 2022, the emerging Omicron variant has already prompted many countries to tighten restrictions once again.
To avoid headaches in the future, make sure you fully understand the rules and restrictions of where you’re heading.
Which Values Children Should Be Encouraged to Learn, By Country
Which qualities do people think are most important for children to learn? The answer differs from country to country.
Many of the values we prioritize as adults were instilled in us during our childhood days.
They’re called our formative years for a reason—from when we’re born up until we’re about eight years old, our brains are easily molded and remain highly sensitive to external influences and environments. But depending on where you grew up, you may have been exposed to different values during your childhood compared to someone from another place.
These visualizations by Anders Sundell illustrate the most important values people think children should learn at home, across more than 80 different countries.
Sundell used data from the World Values Survey, an international survey that interviews hundreds of thousands of participants from across the globe. Respondents were asked to pick up to five qualities they believe are the most desirable for children to have:
- Good manners
- Hard work
- Feeling of responsibility
- Tolerance and respect for other people
- Thrift, saving money
- Determination and perseverance
- Religious faith
Sundell took the survey data and calculated the proportion of people in each country that selected each quality. From there, he took the top qualities and created three separate plot graphs to show the contrast between them.
Let’s look at the importance that countries placed on different values, including (1) independence and obedience, (2) unselfishness and religious faith, and (3) hard work and imagination.
1. Independence vs Obedience
Nordic countries value independence greatly, and find obedience to be a less important quality to instill in children.
View the full-size infographic
Other available data also supports that adults in Nordic countries value independence. According to Eurostat, the most common age to leave home in Sweden is between 17 and 18—nearly a decade sooner than the average age across the EU (26 years old).
Denmark’s average age to leave home is also below the European average, at 21 years old.
On the other end of the spectrum, countries like Iraq and Egypt believe obedience is much more important for children to learn.
2. Unselfishness vs Religious Faith
Bangladesh, Egypt, and Jordan all place a strong emphasis on faith, and fall on the far right of this graph.
View the full-size infographic
Islam is a strong influence in all three of these countries. In Bangladesh and Jordan, it’s the official state religion. And while Egypt is a secular country, a majority of citizens identify as Muslim—about 90% of the population.
Interestingly, places like the U.S. and Hong Kong fall right in the between, placing relatively equal importance on religion and unselfishness.
3. Hard Work vs Imagination
Left-leaning Nordic countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland think imagination is more important for children to learn than hard work.
View the full-size infographic
Interestingly, Japan also scored high for imagination, seeing it was a more important value to teach children than hard work. This is despite the fact that the country has an international reputation for being a hardworking country, where even taking an extended vacation can be frowned upon. Then again, Japan has a reputation for producing wildly creative works of art that are popular internationally (anime, for instance).
As expected, countries and cultures contain multitudes, and can often seem paradoxical and complex to those who try to codify them.
What qualities do you think are most important, and what countries surprised you with their placements?
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