Olympic Resources

Sure the U.S. leads the medal count. But if you take away our size and money, we're somewhere below Norway. The Daily Beast ranks the countries on pure talent to show who should really be bragging.

Thomas Kienzle / AP Photo,Thomas Kienzle

Thomas Kienzle / AP Photo

#1, Germany

Total medals: 26
Population: 82,329,758
GDP/Capita: $34,200
Financial Resources: Excellent
Winter Resources: Excellent

Notable Olympians: Maria Riesch, Alpine Skiing (Gold); Magdalena Neuner, Biathlon (Gold; Silver)

Roughly one-fourth the population of the U.S.—and almost as many medals. Germany spends a lot on its athletes, but it gets a big return on that investment.

Jin-man Lee / AP Photo

#2, Norway

Total medals: 19
Population: 4,660,539
GDP/Capita: $59,300
Financial Resources: Very good
Winter Resources: Excellent

Notable Olympians: Petter Northug, Jr., Cross-Country (Gold; Silver; Bronze); Oeystein Pettersen, Cross-Country (Gold)

Nineteen medals for a country with only slightly more people than the city of Los Angeles. Norway's performance—for all its wealthy and winter-friendly advantages—is staggering—it's fashion prowess, not so much.

Jim Young / AP Photo

#3, United States

Total medals: 31
Population: 307,212,123
GDP/Capita: $46,400
Financial Resources: Excellent
Winter Resources: Good

Notable Olympians: Bode Miller, Alpine Skiing (Gold; Silver; Bronze); Lindsey Vonn, Alpine Skiing (Gold; Bronze); Shaun White, Snowboarding (Gold)

Lindsey Vonn, the American team's skiing superstar, will face her next heated match with yet another injury (if she's able to at all). But perseverance and surprising victories, not to mention exorbitant numbers of corporate sponsorships, have been the United States' ticket to gold for about as long as the modern Winter Games have been around.

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#4, Canada

Total medals: 16
Population: 33,487,208
GDP/Capita: $38,400
Financial Resources: Excellent
Winter Resources: Excellent

Notable Olympians: Christine Nesbitt, Speedskating (Gold); Alexandre Bilodeau, Freestyle Skiing (Gold)

Remember when the Canadians were sweating their first gold medal last week? Big performance relative to population. Whether this proves a successful Winter Olympics, however, rests solely on whether their men's hockey team finishes Sunday with the gold around their necks.

Mark Baker / AP Photo

#5, South Korea

Total medals: 10
Population: 48,508,972
GDP/Capita: $27,700
Financial Resources: Very good
Winter Resources: Good

Notable Olympian: Mo Tae-Bum, Speedskating (Gold; Silver); Yu-Na Kim, Figure Skating

The kings and queens of the ice. South Korea's biggest star is arguably Yu-Na Kim, the country's figure-skating darling. Dubbed the most famous celebrity in South Korea, Kim is known for her flashy costumes, athletic grace and ironically calm demeanor, telling The New York Times, "I have been waiting for this for a really long time."

Gero Breloer / AP Photo

#6, Austria

Total medals: 12
Population: 8,210,281
GDP/Capita: $39,400
Financial Resources: Good
Winter Resources: Excellent

Notable Olympian: Andrea Fischbacher, Alpine Skiing (Gold)

Despite garnering a respectable number of medals, Austria has also been making headlines for its complaints about a rival. Upon hearing that Swiss skiers were using a new technology that effectively holds skis closer to the boot, Austrian officials unsuccessfully argued that Switzerland, which won the gold medal in the large hill ski jump, had enjoyed an unfair aerodynamic advantage.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

#7, Switzerland

Total medals: 8
Population: 7,604,467
GDP/Capita: $41,600
Financial Resources: Very good
Winter Resources: Excellent

Notable Olympian: Simon Ammann, Ski Jumping (Gold)

When Harry Potter clone Simon Ammann took home the gold for the men's large hill ski jump, he became the first person ever to take home four individual gold ski jumping medals.

Mark Baker / AP Photo

#8, Russia

Total medals: 13
Population: 140,041,247
GDP/Capita: $15,200
Financial Resources: Excellent
Winter Resources: Excellent

Notable Olympians: Evgeny Ustyugov, Biathlon (Gold); Evgeni Plushenko, Figure Skating (Silver)

Once a powerhouse of Olympic medals, Russia's performance in the Vancouver Games has proven a disappointment. "The USSR was a sports superpower, and there was a responsibility that athletes felt toward the people and their country," hockey fan Sergei Kalashnikov told The Christian Science Monitor. "Things are different now. It's a shame."

Andrew Medichini / AP Photo

#9, Sweden

Total medals: 8
Population: 9,059,651
GDP/Capita: $36,800
Financial Resources: Very good
Winter Resources: Excellent

Notable Olympians: Marcus Hellner, Cross-Country (Gold)

During the Swedish winters, cross-country isn't sport. It's transportation. Sweden has been sweeping the men's cross-country skiing competition this Olympics, and even the top competitors from other countries acknowledge they're playing for second.

Elise Amendola / AP Photo

#10, Netherlands

Total medals: 6
Population: 16,715,999
GDP/Capita: $39,000
Financial Resources: Very good
Winter Resources: Average

Notable Olympians: Sven Kramer, Speedskating (Gold); Mark Tuitert, Speedskating (Gold); Ireen Wust, Speedskating (Gold)

Perhaps another one of the biggest upsets this season rests with Dutch speedskater Sven Kramer, who missed out on what would have been his second gold medal after illegally changing lanes at the behest of his coach. "Usually, I don't want to blame anyone else, but this time I can't do anything else," Kramer told the Associated Press. Now it's a national disgrace: Without Kramer's disqualification, the Netherlands would have ranked higher on our list.

Kevin Frayer / AP Photo

#11, France

Total medals: 10
Population: 64,057,792
GDP/Capita: $32,800
Financial Resources: Very good
Winter Resources: Excellent

Notable Olympians: Vincent Jay, Biathlon (Gold; Bronze); Jason Lamy Chappuis, Nordic Combined (Gold)

Not many bright spots, though Vincent Jay took home the gold in the 10-kilometer biathlon sprint in his Olympic debut.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

#12, China

Total medals: 8
Population: 1,338,612,968
GDP/Capita: $6,500
Financial Resources: Very good
Winter Resources: Fair

Notable Olympians: Xue Shen, Figure Skating (Gold); Hongbo Zhao, Figure Skating (Gold)

With an Olympic committee willing to chase worldwide glory, Team China suffers most from a general lack of opportunity to participate in winter sports. Still, Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao broke the 46-year-old Russian hold on Olympic pairs skating by winning their first gold medals. Zhao, at 36, is the second-oldest person to win an Olympic gold in figure skating.

Leon Neal / AFP / Getty Images

#13, Slovakia

Total medals: 3
Population: 5,463,046
GDP/Capita: $21,100
Financial Resources: Fair
Winter Resources: Average

Notable Olympians: Anastazia Kuzmina, Biathlon (Gold)

The Slovakian hockey team pulled off a shocker by defeating the defending Olympic champion Swedish team to enter their first Olympic hockey semifinals. The upset was still more impressive given the poor financial support for Slovak Olympians.

Marcio Sanchez / AP Photo

#14, Australia

Total medals: 3
Population: 21,262,641
GDP/Capita: $38,500
Financial Resources: Very good
Winter Resources: Fair

Notable Olympians: Torah Bright, Snowboarding (Gold), Lydia Lassila, Ski Aerials (Gold)

Yes, they have great skiing, but most of the population lives in temperate climes, and one-fifth of the continent-country is covered with desert. Still, they're resilient: Four years after re-injuring her reconstructed knee before competition at the Torino Olympics, Australian women's freestyle aerial skier Lydia Lassila claimed gold with a twisting, flipping jump that wowed judges.

Chris Carlson / AP Photo

#15, Czech Republic

Total medals: 5
Population: 10,211,904
GDP/Capita: $25,100
Financial Resources: Good
Winter Resources: Excellent

Notable Olympians: Martina Sablikova, Speedskating (Gold; Bronze)s

The Czech Republic is conducive to winter sports and does a good job of putting their money where their snow is. Which makes their performance relatively lackluster. As Martina Sablikova, who won gold in the 5,000 meters, told reporters, "My legs is kaput."

Ricardo Mazalan / AP Photo

#16, Poland

Total medals: 4
Population: 38,482,919
GDP/Capita: $17,800
Financial Resources: Average
Winter Resources: Good

Notable Olympians: Adam Malysz, Ski Jumping (Silver)

With only four medals, Poland isn't the Olympic headliner. But compared to other countries with higher populations and better Olympic investment, Poland respectably held its own, especially for a country where summer sports like soccer and swimming are the main draw. Still, no gold medals yet for Team Poland, with the Olympic days dwindling.

Leonhard Foeger / Reuters / Landov

#17, Slovenia

Total medals: 3
Population: 2,005,692
GDP/Capita: $28,200
Financial Resources: Poor
Winter Resources: Good

Notable Olympians: Tina Maze, Alpine Skiing (Silver)

Slovenia has the weather, but lacks the financial resources to effectively leverage it. Before Tina Maze's two silver-medal performances this year, Slovenia had never won higher than bronze in the Winter Games. Slovenia has found more Olympic success in outdoor sports like rowing and track and field.

Mark Baker / AP Photo

#18, Latvia

Total medals: 2
Population: 2,231,503
GDP/Capita: $15,000
Financial Resources: Few
Winter Resources: Average

Notable Olympians: Martins Dukurs, Skeleton (Silver)

Considering Latvia's small number of financial and winter resources—and the nation's love for basketball, not ice dancing—expectations going into the Olympics presumably hovered on the lower side. So pressure was high when Martins Dukurs, the country's prized athlete in the skeleton competition, was just a few sliders away from winning Latvia's first winter gold. He fell short by less than a tenth of a second.

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

#19, Belarus

Total medals: 2
Population: 9,648,533
GDP/Capita: $11,600
Financial Resources: Poor
Winter Resources: Fair

Notable Olympians: Sergey Novikov, Biathlon (Silver)

With a relatively poor GDP, geography and Olympic investment, little surprise that Belarus has only scored a couple of medals this season. But that shouldn't diminish the efforts of silver medalist Sergey Novikov, whose flawless shooting in the biathlon allowed him to tie with Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. Considering that Norway went into the Winter Games with nearly the maximum advantage possible, Novikov did his country proud.

Mike Blake / Retuers / Landov

#20, Kazakhstan

Total medals: 1
Population: 15,399,437
GDP/Capita: $11,400
Financial Resources: Poor
Winter Resources: Fair

Notable Olympians: Elena Khrustaleva, Biathlon (Silver)

The one member of Kazakhstan's team to earn the country a medal isn't even Kazakhstani. Not originally, anyway. Elena Khrustaleva, who changed her citizenship from Russian, took home the silver medal during the women's biathlon competition.

Alessandro Trovati / AP Photo

#21, Croatia

Total medals: 2
Population: 4,489,409
GDP/Capita: $17,600
Financial Resources: Poor
Winter Resources: Fair

Notable Olympians: Ivica Kostelic, Alpine Skiing (Silver)

Its silver bullet, skier Janica Kostelic, retired after winning a combined six medals in 2002 and 2006. Lucky break: The top medalist this season, Ivica Kostelic, is Janica's brother. Ivica told the Associated Press that his silver medal, one of two for Croatia, was a result of his Olympian legacy. "We've been together all of our lives." Note to the Kostelics from the Croatian Olympic committee: Send more siblings!

Jin-man Lee / AP Photo

#22, Estonia

Total medals: 1
Population: 1,299,371
GDP/Capita: $18,800
Financial Resources: Good
Winter Resources: Good

Notable Olympians: Kristina Smigun-Vaehi, Cross-Country (Silver)

Estonia upped its all-time Winter Olympic medal output by nearly 15 percent when Kristina Smigun-Vaehi snagged the silver in the 10 km freestyle. In fact, Smigun-Vaehi has almost half of all Estonian winter medals—she won two cross-country golds in 2006. With just over a million people, Estonia will have to keep relying on needles-in-a-haystacks like Smigun-Vaehi for Olympic winter glory. The country's national interest, too, steers toward summer sports, especially basketball.

Mark Baker / AP Photo

#23, Italy

Total medals: 4
Population: 58,126,212
GDP/Capita: $30,200
Financial Resources: Excellent
Winter Resources: Good

Notable Olympians: Pietro Piller Cottrer, Cross-Country (Silver)

Shame washes across the Dolomites. A country this big, rich, and mountainous should do far better than four lousy silver and bronze medals.

Charlie Riedel / AP Photo

#24, Finland

Total medals: 3
Population: 5,250,275
GDP/Capita: $34,900
Financial Resources: Very good
Winter Resources: Excellent

Notable Olympians: Peetu Piiroinen, Snowboard (Silver)

While Norway dominates and Sweden holds its own, their Scandinavian neighbor turned in a horrific performance. Though Finland's most popular sports include ice hockey and skiing, the country's top medal recipient came from a pre-defeated snowboarder, Peetu Piiroinen. “I had no chance of beating [Shaun] White. He is just too good,” Piiroinen later acknowledged in a Finnish publication.

Michael Sohn / AP Photo

#25, Great Britain

Total medals: 1
Population: 61,113,205
GDP/Capita: $35,400
Financial Resources: Good
Winter Resources: Fair

Notable Olympians: Amy Williams, Skeleton (Gold)

Bad news: One of the richest nations on earth produced one lousy medal. Good news: Amy Williams was the first Brit to win winter gold in nearly 30 years, even if there was some controversy over the aerodynamics of her helmet.

Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo

#26, Japan

Total medals: 3
Population: 127,078,679
GDP/Capita: $32,600
Financial Resources: Very Good
Winter Resources: Excellent

Notable Olympians: Keiichiro Nagashima, Speedskating (Silver)

A former winter host (at Nagano), this rich, populous country with mountains and snow aplenty and support for its athletes pulls up the rear of our list. There's a trend here: In the 82 years since Japan made its Winter Olympics debut, it has won just 35 medals.