Asian Olympic Medal Standings: From Japan’s Streak to China’s Rise

September 25, 2023

Most Asian countries, such as China, were absent from the Olympics for most of the 20th century–but they began contesting the stage in the 1980s, with China beginning its rise by taking part in its first Summer Olympics in 1984. 

While the 1984 Olympic Games results took people by surprise, it was fifteen years before China began to take home nearly 10% of the Olympic medals. In fact, during the 2008 Beijing-hosted Games, China won one hundred gold medals. 

But while China is the most prominent Asian Olympic Games champion, it isn’t the only one. Others are making–and have made–waves, as well. So, if you’re conducting an athlete standing election and would like a peek into the past, read on!

History of Asian Olympic Medal Standings

The history of the Asian Olympic medals can be traced back to the inauguration of the Asian Games in 1951 in New Delhi, India. Since then, Asian countries have locked horns every four years, with several coming out as winners over the past seventy years. 

Let’s run through each highlight briefly: 

  • 1951–New Delhi, India: Japan topped the charts with twenty-four gold, twenty-one silver, and fifteen bronze medal standings out of a total of 169. 
  • 1954–Manila, Philippines: Japan maintained its streak with thirty-eight gold, thirty-six silver, and twenty-four bronze out of 218 medals. 
  • 1958–Tokyo, Japan: While more than 1,820 athletes participated in the games, Japan still came out at the top with sixty-seven gold, forty-one silver, and thirty bronze medals. 
  • 1962–Jakarta, Indonesia: Japan, yet again, topped the charts with 161 total medals out of a total of 381. 
  • 1966–Bangkok, Thailand: Of the 454 medals awarded, Japan took 164, the highest of any member. 
  • 1970–Bangkok, Thailand: Again, Japan topped the charts with seventy-four gold, forty-seven silver, and twenty-three bronze medals. 
  • 1974–Tehran, Iran: While Japan was in the lead at the Tehran games, Iran gave it a fair fight. 
  • 1978–Bangkok, Thailand: More than nineteen countries competed in the Games, but Japan still took the lead. 
  • 1982–New Delhi, India: The return to India ended Japan’s winning streak, with China coming out as a winner with sixty-one gold, fifty-one silver, and forty-one bronze medals. 
  • 1986–Seoul, South Korea: China maintained its winning streak with ninety-four gold, eighty-two silver, and forty-six bronze, followed by Japan and Korea. 
  • 1990–Beijing, China: Eighty-nine Asian records and seven world records were broken during the Beijing Games. 
  • 1994–Hiroshima, Japan: While more than 1,081 medals were awarded, China claimed the most at 166. 
  • 1998–Bangkok, Thailand: More than 6,500 athletes participated in the games, with Chinese participants topping the table. 
  • 2002–Busan, South Korea: China continued its winning streak throughout the games, claiming more than 10% of the medals awarded. 
  • 2006–Doha, Qatar: The number of athletes participating in the Games crossed 9,000 for the first time. 
  • 2019–Guangzhou, China: Again, China topped the charts with more than 400 medals. 
  • 2014–Incheon, South Korea: While the attendance at the Incheon Games was lower, China still came out on top. 
  • 2018–Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia: China continued its streak, with Japan and South Korea following. 

While the history of the Asian Games is long and varied, it’s safe to say that China has been dominating Asian Olympic Games results for the past thirty years. 

How Are Medal Standings Calculated

While Asian Olympic Games’ medal standings are mostly calculated using the gold-first method, there are other methods that are also used, such as: 

1. Total Medals Method

The total medal method gives gold, silver, and bronze medals an equal rating and is based on the total number of medals.

2. Total Gold Medals Method

This method counts all the gold medals a country has won in every sports category, whether individual or team. 

3. Expectations Method

Several organizations forecast the medal winnings based on GDP, population, and previous performances for each country before the Games ever begin. The expectations method compares the real scores against the forecasted ones. 

Navigate Medal Standings With ElectionBuddy

A weighted system is typically the best way to figure out medal standings, but it’s not easy to implement, especially if the athletes' committee doesn’t understand it. This is where voting services like ElectionBuddy come in. 

ElectionBuddy helps Olympic organizers select committee members who are aware of the challenges of their position and know how to navigate them. This enables them to ensure that athletes’ opinions are at the heart of their medal-standing decisions.

Join 11,984+ organizations like yours that use ElectionBuddy to build more easy online elections

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