National Sporting Dominance

So how does the Netherlands dominance in Sochi speed skating compare to any nations’ dominance at Summer Olympic sports? Here we will limit ourselves only to those Olympics since 1948, and we’ll also restrict ourselves to those sports with 4 or more events.

The Netherlands has currently won 70.4% of the Sochi speed skating medals. That would rank 4th in the list below, trailing only the United States in diving in 1948, 1952, and 1956. And one should remember that the Netherlands has done this in 9 events, with 3 left to be contested.

Counting all Olympics, the USA has won 100% of the medals in 5 sport-years with 4 or more events. Four of those occurred in 1904, but in 1932 the USA won all 12 diving medals.









Table Tennis,1996,CHN,8,12,66.7%

Table Tennis,2000,CHN,8,12,66.7%

Table Tennis,2008,CHN,8,12,66.7%












Table Tennis,2004,CHN,6,12,50.0%

Table Tennis,2012,CHN,6,12,50.0%



One thing to note is that China has won 50% or more medals 9 times since 1996, 8 of those in table tennis and badminton. The IOC has discussed eliminating women’s ice hockey because of the dominance of Canada and the United States, and it did eliminate women’s softball, one reason given was that the USA women were so far ahead of their competition. And it cut back on the number of swimmers that can compete in any event because of multiple USA medal sweeps back in the 1960s and 70s (note what the USA did in 1964-68 above). Will the IOC ever have similar discussions concerning table tennis and badminton because China is so far ahead of their competition?

4 thoughts on “National Sporting Dominance”

  1. To answer your last question: for table tennis this has happened already. The doubles events were ditched for 2008 to allowed other countries to medal at least, and the number of individual players per countries was lowered from three to two in 2012, disabling sweeps.

    1. I know that about table tennis, but what about discussing German dominance in luge, or Chinese/Korea dominance in table tennis/badminton/short-track and threatening to remove those sports from the Games? They never discussed eliminating table tennis – only women’s ice hockey or softball, and they’ve even discussed changing basketball to 6-4 and under to lessen USA dominance. Strange how dominance by other countries is never a problem, Jeroen. What about eliminating long-track speed skating now because of the Dutch dominance? 🙂

      1. The Winter Olympics keep adding snowboarding/X-game events that greatly increase the USA’s chances of topping the gold medal count. I don’t think the IOC has a bias against us.

  2. Well, many Dutch media express their fear for speed skating being cut (which is frankly ridiculous after one dominant Olympics – or track sprinting would be gone by now as well), and the Winter Games appear pretty safe. While no sport has yet been cut for non-US dominance (and I think softball mostly went because baseball did), I believe the changes to table tennis, but also diving have been introduced at least partially to reduce Chinese dominance, and I think even the luge relay event is introduced to guarantee at least two non-German medals.

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