In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China came in a close second after the U.S. in the medals count — placing first, second or third in 100 events vs. the Americans’ 110.
London 2012, though, might well be the games where China overtakes Uncle Sam. Medal, after medal, after medal, the People’s Republic has been dominating the charts since day one — and unsurprisingly so.
As our graphic shows, population and GDP are propelling China to the top of the podium. It’s been a slow climb for the past 14 years. Below, we’ve charted the U.S. and China’s shares of the world economy (the blue and red columns), their share of the world’s population (the blue and red shaded areas) and the total number of medals won in each of the past seven Olympics (the blue and red lines).
Click on the image below to see the full-size version of the graphic and marvel at the athletic rise of Asia’s biggest powerhouse!