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Map depicts Olympic medal table as you’ve never seen it before

17 August 2012

Bloating Great Britain beyond recognition, the overall medal map – which represents the total medals received at the London games – sees the UK dwarf Western Europe.

Dr Hennig's Olympic Medal maps
Dr Hennig's Olympic Medal maps

Dr Benjamin Hennig, of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Geography and an expert in social and spatial inequalities, created the maps. “From a global perspective, the legacy of the games is often measured in sporting success – however great the ‘spirit’ of the Olympics is emphasised," he says. "So it comes as little surprise that the medal tables are revisited over and over again.

“But despite an extraordinary performance of the host nation and some disappointments in other parts of the world, the overall picture of Olympic success stories is of little surprise.

"Olympic inequalities already started with an imbalance of participating athletes from around the world which hardly reflects the global population distribution.

The University of Sheffield, of course, did have some involvement in the recent Games. Six students and alumni took part, with another due to take part in the Paralympic games. Jessica Ennis, who graduated with a degree in Pyschology from the University of Sheffield in 2007, won gold in the Heptathlon to set a British and Commonwealth record.

Professors Nigel Dunnett and James Hitchmough from the Department of Landscape, designed the Olympic gardens. Psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters, a lecturer in medicine at the University, was sports psychologist to Wiggins; Sir Chris Hoy, and Victoria Pendleton.

“The wealthier parts of the world tend to have the larger teams, with Europe dominating the stage by far," Dr Hennig continues. "At the other end of the scale are countries such as Bhutan, and others, with only two athletes.

“That pattern is carried forward to the winner’s podium, where in large the wealthier parts of the world are represented, even if some great exceptions have made quite some headlines. The map shows the final medal tables in Worldmapper-style cartograms, with the main map representing the total medal count, and the smaller inset map splitting these numbers into separate maps of gold, silver and bronze medals, each resizing a country according to the number of medals that it has received.”

Dr Hennig will also be revealing the results of the 2012 Paralympic Games which begin on Wednesday 29 August 2012, and end Sunday 9 September 2012.

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