The 2018 Winter Games Through A Data Lens

Though the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics have ended, we’re still mulling over all the things that happened on the Korean peninsula. As the first ever Winter Games hosted by South Korea, it can be checked off with a hearty hooray. Let’s quickly recap on the main highlights:

  • Athletes from South and North Korea marched under one flag at the opening ceremony. This can be regarded as a diplomatic breakthrough, considering the intensifying rhetoric of nuclear war between the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

  • Russian athletes were banned from taking part in the Winter Games under their country’s flag (that’s after the state-sponsored doping scandal at the Sochi Games in 2014) and competed as neutrals (Olympic athletes from Russia, OAR).

  • Norway, a country that has a population of 5.2 million people, has won more medals in the Winter Games than any other nation since the introduction of Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France, in 1924. They got away with 329 medals in total.

  • The 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang hosted a record number of athletes (2,925) from 92 countries, making it the biggest Winter Games ever.

  • Four new sports debuted in the Winter Olympics this year: big air for snowboarding, team event for alpine skiing, mass start for speed skating and mixed doubles for curling.

  • Norway’s Marit Bjorgen, the 37-year-old cross-country skier, created history by becoming the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time with five medals this year, taking her overall tally to an impressive 15.

  • Ester Ledecka, the multi-talented 22-year-old Check athlete, has taken the sports world by surprise and become the first woman and the fifth athlete in the Winter Olympics history to win in two sports at one Games and the first in unrelated events. Ledecka, dubbed the ‘queen of the Games’, won a gold medal in the skiing super G on borrowed skis and later added another gold in her preferred snowboarding parallel giant slalom.

Data stories from the 2018 Winter Olympics

Naturally, where there is data, there's a need for visualisations. Looking at all the data stories from the 2018 Winter Olympics, we thought it could be the perfect excuse to pull out all the big dataviz guns and give the boring data tables a snazzy makeover. We hope you'll love looking at them as much as we loved creating them!

Vizlib Bar Chart: Performance of host nations

When it comes to breaking own records, no one knows the effect of 'home sweet home' better than the Olympic host nations. Not only did South Korea enter the biggest athlete team at Winter Olympics this year, they have also recorded their best medal tally (17) in the Winter Olympics history.

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Vizlib Bar Chart: Number of Olympic Events since 1928

With 102 events at which athletes competed for medals, the 23rd Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang is the most eventful Winter Games in history.

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Vizlib Pie Chart: A Look at Gender Equality in the 2018 Winter Olympics

Only 13 women, all of whom were figure skaters, competed at the first Olympic Games in Chamonix in 1924. Fast-forward a hundred years, and the situation is incomparable. A record 1,242 female athletes have competed across all seven winter sports at Pyeongchang 2018.

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Vizlib Bar Chart: How Nations Compared to their Projected Medals Counts

Data analysts got it wrong this time. While Germany was recognised as a favourite to top the medal table this year, Norway finished with 39, making this the country's best Winter Games.

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Vizlib Table: The Winter Olympics Index (1924-2018)

Beijing, the capital of China, was selected as the host city of the 24th Winter Olympic Games in 2022.

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Vizlib Scatter Chart: Country Population Size vs Number of Medals

Norway's Olympic team has demonstrated that population size isn't everything. The smallest nation of the top 5, Norway got away with a total tally of 329 medals in total. The 'no jerks allowed' philosophy might be the secret sauce that other nations are lacking.

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