All sorts of cool things to track, here! Some of my favorite things to look for are:
- Blips of profound glory. Occasionally, nations with very low populations occasionally strike (Bermuda, Tonga, the Virgin Islands, and Granada). You could play divide-by-zero snob and try to discount that, but think about how cool that is! In 1976 Bermudans were well represented!
- Persistent Cinderellas. The Bahamas, and even Estonia, have consistently rocked despite their small populations. Well played.
- Conspicuous loss. Some countries have massive populations and even more massive medal deficits. Everybody has heard about how Michael Phelps has more medals than India -ever. This raises interesting questions of economic priorities and classes, sport recognition, and the non-linear relationship of huge populations to medals.
- Turnarounds. This is probably the most interesting part for me. Spain and South Korea paint clear pictures of improvement, while South Africa and Argentina show diminishing rates.
- Geopolitical shifts. Underpinning the whole graphic is the set of lifelines representing the births, mergers, and deaths of nation states, themselves. The Soviet Union appears mid-century and disappears just as abruptly. Not coincidentally, constituent states show a gap in that period. Entities like China have historical aliases (the Republic of China) that jump from one named political track to another. Fascinating. Actually, a similar but simpler graphic of only the lifelines of nation states would be awesome to see. Does anybody know where I can find that?
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