With a population of 1.3 billion, and on home turf, China's success at this Olympic Games is impressive but perhaps not surprising. So, in an effort to create a level playing field and for a bit of fun, an alternate medals table has been created online by Channel 4. By awarding each medal a value (three points for gold, two for silver and one for bronze) and then dividing each nation's total medal score by its population, a new world order is created.
While China may top the official medals table, they take a great leap backwards to a 64th-place finish in the population-weighted system. The US fare little better, in 41st. Jamaica, disadvantaged in the main contest by only being good at the "real" sports, take first place, ahead of Slovenia (whose proficiency with weapons through the ages pays off with a gold in the hammer throw and a silver in the men's laser) and Bahrain (who may have only won one gold medal, but have a population twice that of Aldershot).
Other rankings on the site ( www.c4news.com) include a table that factors in each nation's GDP (surprisingly led by the North Koreans), a table dependant on human rights (unsurprisingly not led by North Korea), and a table showing "US Ordering", in which competing countries are ranked by total medals won. This is the method that the US media have adopted. Currently – in fact, for a while now – that medals chart is topped by the US.