Rio 2016 Part 1: The games

The Olympics has hit our screen. It’s time to number crunch the cost of hosting the games and the cost of a gold medal

Opening Ceremony:

Brazil gave us a lovely simplistic opening ceremony. However, it was much cheaper than those before it. Having cost about £4million compared the over £70 million that China spent, this was far more cost effective and simple. Although this money did irritate Brazilians who wanted it to be spent elsewhere.

Opening cost

The whole event:

There have been many questions about the Olympic village and many have predicted problems at a “budget Olympics”. China spent 10 times more in 2008, however much of that was transport and infrastructure in Beijing, leaving a positive long term legacy.


How to win a gold medal (as of 17/8/2016)

Having read that each GB Gold cost £5.5Million, I considered the top 10 countries to try and work out how they win medals. Firstly I considered the GDP per capita (or per person).


Yes, nine of the top ten in the medals table are in the top 100 GDP per capita, but there seems to be a weak correlation. So what about nominal GDP


This is far more accurate. All of the top 10 are in the 20 richest countries. The Olympics are either: A) An opportunity to show wealth, B) Just like this due to better resources, C) Both. How do Britain do compared to some of their rivals in terms of golds per GDP?

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While we lost to rivals Russia and Netherlands, having destroyed both USA & China, the real winners are Kosovo with 150 gold medals per £1billion GDP compared to GB’s 7 and China’s 1.5



Population is also clearly a big factor, however without India about, it is fair to say that GDP is the biggest factor. While this affects different sports with varying affects (Running requires less resources than Rowing), it does lead to major sporting inequality. To end, here is how we are doing in a table of medals based on population:


Damn it Holland, you beat us again…

-Swift Economist

See Also: Rio 2016 Part 2: Brazil


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