Olympics Medals Visualisation

Posted on 23 August 2012 by Mark Davies

I was listening to a discussion recently on the BBC regarding the London Olympics. The discussion centred around the view that when home nations do well there is a dip in future games.

The commentator was suggesting that while Team GB had exceeded expectations in London, this may not be sustained in the Rio games.

I thought I would check out the statememt and did a quick interactive visualisation of the number of medals won by each host nation since 1984. They may have a point, what do you think?

The Excel file is displayed by Josh Bryan in this screen recording and also available to download in the VPA Members Lounge.

Please discuss your thoughts and feel free to check out my previous blogs for Visualising Data with Excel,


8 Comments For This Post

  1. Jon Moore Says:

    Hi Mark

    knowing your approach to visualising the data and the levels of complexity you can expand this 1st process to, I would be really interested to see the further visualisation such as breakdown of medals per country and different sports, also to measure this against financial investment for each sports development this would be really usable data when It comes to national governing bodies planning their future investment to achieve perceived expectations. As a consultant advising NGB’s on their acquisition of performance analysis tools the investment needs to be affordable and sustainable, enabling it to cascade to the grassroots where all of the young athletes are able to access the level of coaching the performance analysis tool can enhance.



  2. Adam Cullinane Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks again for sharing your work, I found your previous blogs and resources around Visualising Analysis in Excel very informative. Being a dual platform user I have used both Excel and Numbers (iWorks) to create resources. I feel both possess differing strengths and weaknesses when trying to represent data in a manner easy to digest.

    Your ‘interactive visualisation’ approach is something I would like to incorporate into my work moving forward. Traditionally my focus has been around the selection of which graphs and/or graphics best display data, colour schemes (to highlight or portray levels of data against thresholds) and organisational layout/presentation (size, shape and location within any page or document). In isolation these aspects maybe viewed minimalistic, but together they all contribute to effective data visualisation. I am sure I am not alone in using these principals as the basis to my work?

    One thing is for sure, data visualisation is and will remain a fascinating area for discussion and exploration.


  3. Darrell Cobner Says:

    Hi Mark,

    A great mechanism to clearly represent the data in a palatable way. I look forward to learning more… thanks.

    Adam: I found this recent article a useful read.


    Data visualisation is certainly a complex balance of art and science.


  4. Mark Davies Says:

    Hi everyone
    Thanks for your comments.
    This was a relatively simple spreadsheet to do in Excel – a software that is commonly available. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a sales pitch for Excel, it does have it’s failings, but hopefully it shows what can be achieved.

    Actually my set up at home is Mac, (and I use Excel 2011 for Mac) and while I do use Numbers I don’t find as flexible. To be fair that might say more about me than the software. 🙂

    It would be interesting to see if a similar set up can be achieved in Numbers.
    Anyone fancy the challenge?


  5. Mark Davies Says:

    Hi Jon
    Yes indeed, in the aftermath of the Olympics many NGB will be undertaking reviews.
    In the main these will focus on ensuring funding streams, but the smart ones will be using the opportunity to audit their processes and procedures, to ensure efficient use of funds, resources and data.
    Collaboration will be key to cost effectiveness.
    The exercise will therefore be more about changing beliefs and cultures, and from my experience is far more challenging – but not impossible.


  6. Darren Lewis Says:

    Another cool visualisation Mark, I tried to apply some similar workflows and thought processes to a document for the forthcoming season which I created in iWorks Numbers. Interactive documents like this work really well with large data sets and multiple players/positions etc. thanks

  7. Hai-Binh Ly Says:

    Nice interactive ExCel spreadsheet Mark. This is just something else I need to learn how to do!

  8. Mark Davies Says:

    I took up my own challenge and created the interactive graph in Numbers, not too difficult in the end. I have loaded it to the Members Lounge for those interested in the logic behind the visualisation.


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