Before I just jump right into Olympic stats, I wanted to talk about Guor Marial.
I came across this story about one man, a man without a passport and without a country, competing in the Olympics. Because of his special circumstances, he is running under the Olympic flag. I didn’t know the Olympics could do that. What an awesome opportunity for someone like Guor Marial.
Guor Marial escaped a Sudan child labor camp as a young child of eight and came to the U.S. Since then, Marial’s home of South Sudan has declared independence. However, because he has been a permanent resident in the United States, but not a citizen, he did not qualify for either country. Marial did not want to represent Sudan, where 28 members of his family members had been killed and he was kidnapped and forced to work in a labor camp, until he escaped. The country of South Sudan has only been independent for a year and has not established an Olympic committee. So the IOC gave permission to him to run in the Olympics under the Olympic flag.
In his first running of the marathon, Guor Marial qualified for the Olympics. Since being accepted, he has worked harder and runs even faster than before. This man shows that when you work towards your goal, you can achieve great things.
Now for some stats on the Olympics
Countries making their first Olympic appearance:
While Saudi Arabia is not new to the Olympics, the fact that they will have women competing is a first! Saudi Arabia appointed two women to its team, Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani, a judo competitor, and Sarah Attar, an 800-meter runner. This will be the first time that every Olympic team has a woman.
The IOC has made a push to end gender discrimination among its countries. Saudi Arabia was the last country to allow women to compete. Qatar and Bruni did not send women to the Beijing games in 2008, but had already appointed women to their teams. Shooter Bahiya Al-Hamad is one of four Qatari women going to London. Not only is this Qatar’s first time sending women to the Olympics, but Bahiya Al-Hamad will also be carrying the Qatar flag in the ceremony.
Countries with the most athletes
The top three countries are Great Britain, the United States, and China. Great Britain will have 542. The United States will be sending 530 athletes. We actually have more women competing this year than men: out of the 530 participants, 269 are women. Go ladies! China will have 369 athletes.
Countries with Medals
There are 204 countries with Olympic committees that compete in the Olympic games. The countries with the most medals are:
- The United States has 2549
- Soviet Union has 1204 (Who gets those medal counts? Do they go to the countries that the athletes originated from?)
- Germany has 1099
- Great Britain has 737
- France has 703
- Italy has 628
- Sweden has 604
When you compare those totals to the fact that 18 countries have earned one Olympic medal, the difference is staggering. 80 countries competing after the 2010 Winter Olympics have yet to bring home an Olympic medal for their country. One of our Persephone Women to Watch, Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi, may bring home her country’s first Olympic medal! Go Malaysia.