Analysis of Summer Olympics Medal Winners (1896-2012)

Svetlana Molkova

Mateo Rodríguez Quijada

*Corresponding author: Mateo Rodríguez Quijada

Original Language

Cite this article

Molkova, S., & Rodríguez Quijada, M. (2017). Analysis of Summer Olympics Medal Winners (1896-2012). Apunts. Educación Física y Deportes, 129, 9-25.



The Olympics are one of the most closely watched sporting events held all over the planet, and winning an Olympic medal is the top aspiration in an athlete’s career. This study analyses the medallists in the modern Summer Olympics (1896-2012), and special attention is paid to their sex and home country. Throughout the study, 14 670 Olympic medallists from 140 countries who competed in 52 athletic specialities during 27 Olympics are analysed. According to the results, the USA is the country with the highest number of Olympic medal-winning athletes, followed by the USSR and Great Britain. In terms of the continent of the medallists’ home country, Europe is the home to the largest number of medal-winners, followed by North and Central America and Asia. By sport, Europe is the continent with the largest number of medallists in all sports, followed by North and Central America in individual and cooperative sports, and by Asia in oppositional and cooperative-oppositional sports. With regard to sex, women’s participation in the Olympics was scant until the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, and despite their considerable increase in subsequent Olympics, the number of female medallists on the podiums has never reached the number of male athletes.

Keywords: continent, Medal, Olympic Games, Olympics, Olympism, Sex.

ISSN: 1577-4015

Received: February 17, 2016

Accepted: October 3, 2016

Published: July 01, 2017