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Presenting the Perpetual Medal Count

How are each country’s Olympic athletes trending in World Championship and other competition? Glad you asked.

As it stands now, U.S. athletes are doing quite well, tracking a good bit ahead of how they finished in Rio 2016. So are Russian, Australian, Chinese and French athletes. British athletes, on the other hand, are falling rapidly.

pmc20170802

What does this mean?

Check out the Perpetual Medal Count, which adds up each country’s performance in Olympic events through all relevant World Championships. Each country starts with its medal count from the Rio Olympics, then gains or loses medals depending on how its athletes do in those events. In the chart above, the Rio medal count is on the left, and the Perpetual Medal Count on the right, with a plus/minus category at far right.

So if there’s been no relevant competition thus far (as in archery, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, mountain bike, road cycling, equestrian, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, women’s handball, judo, modern pentathlon, rowing, rugby sevens, sailing, shooting, tennis, some volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling, and — until next week — track and field), the medals are still in the hands in the countries that won them in 2016.

Here’s how things stack up in some of the events that have been contested so far:

Track cycling: A huge 10-medal loss for Great Britain, which dominated in Rio and barely missed a shutout in worlds. Australia gained four.

Diving: More losses for the USA (-3) and Britain (-2); big gain for Russia (+4).

Swimming: Believe it or not, the USA broke even — 33 medals in 2016, 33 medals in Olympic events (including open water) in 2017. Add the new Olympic events, and the USA gets two more. The other major countries also came close to matching their Rio totals.

And the new events throughout the Games give the USA a huge boost — 15 medals total, though it’s tough to tell whether the skateboarding competition for the Olympics will resemble any other competition.

This will be updated every couple of weeks while we still have a lot of World Championships going on, then more sporadically in 2018, then picking up again in 2019.

Next up: the winter version.

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