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Shock news - Jamaica tops Rio Olympics medal table with China and USA at the bottom.

Jamaica tops the gold medal table, Uzbekistan enters the top ten and China and USA fall to the bottom.

Analysis of the top 21 gold medal winning countries by reveals that once the gold medal places are re-adjusted in order to take into account the relative economic size of each country then Jamaica becomes the surprise winner and the USA and China falls to the bottom of the table.

It seems that money cannot buy you success at the Olympics.

Economist, Nick Langston-Able (Associate Lecturer at a leading UK university) analysed the gold medal results and compared them to the GDP of each country (GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product and is a standard measure of a country's economic size as it measures the output of all goods and services over a year).

The surprise result sees Jamaica as the most successful country in comparison to its economic size with Croatia in second place and Kenya coming in third.  Uzbekistan becomes a surprise entrant in at number eight in the table.

The large economies of USA and China find themselves at the bottom of the table with Team GB finishing in the number 12 spot.

Economist, Nick Langston-Able who carried out the research commented:

"Jamaica has a relatively small GDP and would not be regarded as a rich country but it has put in an excellent performance despite this.

"In terms of economic size, the UK is over 200 times bigger than Jamaica but only achieved three and a half times as many gold medals.

"The economy of the USA is over 1200 times bigger than Jamaica but the USA's medal haul does not reflect that.

"The relatively poorest country on the list is Jamaica and they have done brilliantly coming top of this revised medal table.

"Team GB have come a creditable tenth, just beneath Netherlands.

"It seems that perhaps money can't buy you success."

Countries with relatively large GDPs which did not even make it into the top 21 included India, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey.

Here are the full results of the top 21 gold medal winning countries when adjusted for GDP:

CountryGold MedalsGDP (billions of dollars)GDP per medal (billions of dollars)
New Zealand417444
South Korea91378153

Further analysis has also been done looking at gold medal performance in comparison to the size of each country's population.   See here.

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