Olympic Math

I know everyone is all a twitter about this Olympic bizness happening these days.  I know this because Twitter says so.  The Trending Topics are all “Olympics this, Gold Medal that”…

Actually, I just checked to make sure my facts were accurate, and the current Trending Topics include Justin Beiber, Tiger Woods (who’s that?), and #JaebumIsInMyHeart and I don’t know what that means, so I guess I’m not as hip and relevant as I thought I was.

Anyway, you know about the Olympics, right?  Good.  I was beginning to think I was making the whole thing up in my head.

As any good, overly competitive person, I was busying myself by coming up with a spin on the medal count to work it so that Canada was in first place.  I was thinking outside of the box.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m ecstatic with the success Canada has had thus far.  We’ve gotten our first gold on home soil out of the way and tacked on two more.  We’re currently in 4th place in the medal standings.  And that’s just great.

And I’m absolutely not taking anything away from the individual medalists, no matter what nationality.  Every athlete should be proud of themselves and every person from their home countries should be proud of them.

There.  I shouldn’t get any hate mail now.

But you know what irks me?  Lots of things.  But you know what irks me, specific to the topic at hand?  Two words – Per.  Capita.  Canada may be gigantic, area-wise, but the majority of that area is unpopulated or very, very scarcely populated.  We’re the second largest country in the world, but we’re way down at 37th for population.  China is #1, India #2, and the U.S. is #3.  We’re 37th. 

What does this have to do with the Olympics?  Well, for reasons of comparison, let’s look at Canada v. the U.S., shall we?  Canada has a population of 33,487,208.  The U.S. has 307,212,123.  That’s nearly ten times the amount of people living here.  That means the States has nearly ten times the amount of athletes to pick from when determining their Olympic team. 

They have more athletes to choose from, more companies willing to sponsor them, more facilities available to accommodate their training, etc.

A non-Canadian example – there are no curling clubs in France.  That means the French team have no where within their own country to train.  They may not have won last night, but the fact that they were there competing with the Canadian men (who always do well) and not looking like buffoons?  They deserve some sort of participation ribbon for that.

Back to Per Capita.  I did some mathemagic in my head, gazintas* if you will, and here’s what my ultra-competetive brain came up with:

China currently has 1 medal for every 334,653,242 people.

The U.S. has 1 for every 17,067,340.

Germany, who is in second, has 1 for every 7,484,524.

And Canada?  With it’s 4th place-earning 7 medals, is 1 for every 4,783,887. 

And we’re tied with France with 7 medals, but France is 1 for every 9,151,113, so that means we are for sure beating France.

Of the top 6 countries in the standings, the only one we’re not beating, if we’re going to do this based on per capita, is Norway.  Currently Norway is sitting in 3rd place with 8 medals, but Norway is a tiny, tiny country; 115th on the list.  So, it has 1 medal for every 582,567.  That’s very impressive according to my math.

Aaaaaanyway, the whole point of this was to prove, scientifically and emphatically, that despite what the official medal standings say, Canada is wicked awesome.  Not just as an amazing country to live in, but as a breeding ground for Olympic competitors.  We’re not first, but I’m a polite Canadian and can admit defeat when faced with it.  And I didn’t do the math for every country who has medalled because I hate math and only do as little as possible.  I was just proving a point, which I think I did.

Point being: Much like O’Doyle, Canada Rules.

Dude. Dress first, beer second. You end up regretting things in the morning. Like painting your entire body red and forgetting to wear clothes.


* Gazintas is one of my dad’s sayings. 

Ga•zin•ta – [Gah-zin-tah] – noun

1. (used with a singular verb) the systematic treatment of magnitude, relationships between figures and forms, and relations between quantities expressedsymbolically.

2. (used with a singular or plural verb) mathematical procedures, operations, or properties.

Usage – “Two gazinta four, twice.” “I’m not sure how much that will cost with the tax.  Let me do the gazintas.”

Thanks, Dad.  You’re always filled with gems.


11 thoughts on “Olympic Math

  1. You are BRILLIANT! I never thought about our winnings based on a per capita equation! And yet again, we learn something new from you – Gizinta, going to try and use that in a sentence this weekend.

    • Here’s an simple way to ease “gazinta” into your regular vocabulary: Anytime you have to think really hard about something, math-related or not, scrunch up your face and say “Gotta do the gazintas.” And then mutter something about carrying the one…

  2. You are such a loyal, dedicated, devoted, smartypants CANADIAN!!! You’re awesome! I never would have thought of all that! You should somehow point this info out to the powers that be in the Olympic world. GO CANADA!!

  3. While watching the opening ceremonies with my 11 and 10 year olds, I went through a similar excercise with them on the number of athletes and the population of countries. I was impressed that we had almost as many athletes as the US — that without the population and financial support we had that much elite talent. I’ll have to mention the math you did as an extension of that for them.

    At the time I write this Norway is up to 10 medals — pretty darn impressive.

  4. I was telling my husband about your Olympic Math and being a math guy he was quite impressed, he suggested you send it to all the papers so that we can continue to say “Own the Podium” – well maybe not after that awful (well more than usual awful) hockey game last night.

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