Some further reading, for those of you who are sceptical about drawing any conclusions about Australia from the Olympics, other than the fickleness of national pride.
Dr James Connor, on “What price gold? Tallying up Olympic success“:
The cost of a gold medal is an extremely difficult thing to “price”. At its simplest, we can say that taxpayers paid (roughly) $588 million to the Australian Sports Commission for Olympic sport. Divide that by the likely number of gold (let’s be generous and say 12) and we get $49 million per bauble.
It’s easy to say that American athletes are better than other countries’ athletes, or that America just cares more about sports than the rest of the world. But that’s not true. It’s pretty much just that there are a fat load of medals available in swimming and track. And lucky for the USA, the pool and the track are likely to be Olympic staples for as long as the games exist.
…what if we tried to measure countries’ Olympic achievements without simply counting how many medals they bring home? What if we compared their athletes’ performance against the size of their economies and populations? …While the US garnered 0.02 medal points per billion dollars of GDP and 0.8 medal points for every 1 million Americans, Jamaica picked up 2.2 medal points per billion dollars of GDP and 11.9 medal points for every 1 million Jamaicans. Not bad.