Monday, August 25, 2008

Former USSR Would Have Dominated the Olypmics

If the former Soviet Union had not broken up, it would have dominated the medal count in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. If the USSR did not shatter into 15 different countries in the early 1990s, their medal count in Beijing would be staggering. As you can see in the chart below, the countries that made up the former Soviet Union won an amazing 171 medals. They did not win more gold medals than China, but their total medal haul was nearly 50% more than the next-place finisher — the United States!

HT: Sera Jones

11 Comments:

At 8/25/2008 5:48 AM, Anonymous Archinvestor said...

And what about the European Union ?
USSR, US & China are way behind us.
France (40) + GB (47) + Deutschland (41) + Italy (28) + Netherlands (16) = 172 > 171 (USSR).
And that's just 5 countries out of 27.

 
At 8/25/2008 7:42 AM, Anonymous Frank said...

Not necessarily. The combined USSR would have had fewer slots in many events so some of the medal winners might not have even been able to participate. E.g., suppose each country can enter 2 divers--the combined USSR gets 2 the fragmented one gets 32 (there were 16 soviet "republics" iirc). Supppose the US were split in half--it's entirely possible that the two basketball teams would both bring home medals.

Same would go for the EU.

 
At 8/25/2008 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the current countries that made up the former british empire would probably have beat even the former ussr and perhaps the eu too.

i think the point is that total-medal counts are heavily determined by where political lines are drawn, which can sometimes be relatively arbitrary.

 
At 8/25/2008 9:24 AM, Anonymous Oh Come On! said...

What an incredibly misleading statement - thanks for clearing it up, Frank. You might as well have said the World would have swept the Olympics if they were allowed to compete together. While someone else derived this flawed logic, you passed it on and this post only serves to discredit you.

 
At 8/25/2008 12:51 PM, Anonymous GW South said...

I came to post exactly what Frank said - you only get three athletes in most individual events, so by grouping all 16 countries of the USSR together, you give them 48. Pretty misleading.

 
At 8/25/2008 2:59 PM, Anonymous Success Professor said...

Frank, thanks for getting that right! It also goes for team sports. Where in sports like handball and water polo you may have several teams competing from former Soviet republics, the USSR would have only received one.

 
At 8/25/2008 3:44 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Maybe the American Olympic Committee should split in two, and in London we can send an East Coast team and a West Cost team, huh?
This way, USA could win all 6 medals in the 400m, not only 3! :-)

 
At 8/25/2008 4:40 PM, Blogger Marko said...

This seems like a convenient place to vent this: I think each U.S. State should have a seat at the U.N. There, I said it. Would solve alot of problems. I haven't heard anyone else calling for that, but they probably have. If not, then I want to call it the "Marko Doctrine". Or maybe "The Marko Protocol".

 
At 8/25/2008 4:43 PM, Blogger Marko said...

More on point, the former Yugoslavia would have done much better as well.

 
At 8/26/2008 10:19 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> More on point, the former Yugoslavia would have done much better as well.

Ah, but would the former Nazi Germany have done well?

LOL.

It's all speculation, so it's kind of silly to worry about it.

 
At 8/26/2008 1:55 PM, Blogger bruce said...

I think there are too many variables to be able to speculate as to how the former USSR would have done in the Beijing Olympics. Would the former USSR have been able to produce the same athletes as the individual countries have, would some of those athlete been forbidden from competing due to political concerns, or maybe the USSR, if it still existed, would not let any of their athletes out of the country for fear they would all defect.

 

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