Where the Rich and Elite Meet to Compete

Paul Farhi in the Washington Post:

AllsportcoomberrunoneAs always, the biggest delegations, and the big winners, will come from a familiar pool. In the history of the winter competition, dating from its inception in 1924, competitors from only six countries — the Soviet Union/Russia, Germany (East, West and combined), Norway, the United States, Austria and Finland, in that order — have won almost two-thirds of all the medals awarded. Only 17 countries have ever amassed more than 10 medals during the past 19 winter Olympiads. Only 38 countries have won even one medal.

This had turned the Winter Olympics into a remarkably insular competition. The Czech Republic (and Czechoslovakia before it) has won more medals than China, home to about one-fifth of humanity. Norway, a nation with a population smaller than metropolitan Washington, has won three times as many winter medals as the nations of Asia, Latin and South America, Australia and Polynesia, the Middle East and the Caribbean Basin combined.

More here.