So which nation has the most important female athletes? No, we don’t mean which nation’s women have won the most medals, that would be the United States, as it is for the men. But which nations’ women have won the highest percentage of the medals for their country?
There are actually 5 countries where all of their medals have been won by women: Bahrain, Costa Rica, Montenegro, Mozambique, and Zimbabwer. Of those, Zimbabwe has won the most medals with only 8. This 100%-er list follows:
But this seems a bit of a specious argument, with so few overall medals won. Let’s look only at the nations that won 100 or more medals overall (both men, women, and mixed), and see how their women did. Here is that list:
|German Demo. Rep.||192||519||94||241||49.0%||46.4%|
|Fed. Rep. Germany||67||243||18||63||26.9%||25.9%|
China and Romania are the only two nations where their women have won more than 50% of their nations medals and gold medals. Romania is led by their female gymnasts and rowers, while China’s female divers, gymnasts, and weightlifters have won a large percentage of their medals. Romanian women have won an astounding 65.9% of their nations gold medals. And in the era of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), there were fewer women’s medals available, so their percentages in the high 40s are also impressive, although we do know there were, shall we say, some problems with a few of those.
At the other end of the spectrum, Belgium and Finland bring up the rear, with only about 11% of medals won by women, and about 8% of gold medals won, by far the worst numbers in this subset in both categories.
Overall, women have won about 27.5% of medals and gold medals awarded at the Olympics. So the former Soviet Union is the closest to the median nation, although when it existed, the percentage of women’s medals was likely slightly lower. The United States is also pretty close to the median.
If we look at the other end of the spectrum, we get the following list of nations whose women have never won a medal or gold medal at the Olympics, although their men have won both:
|Trinidad & Tobago||2||18|
|United Arab Emirates||1||1|
There are also 36 nations which won Olympic medals, but no golds, and none won by a woman. The two nations with the most medals in this category are The Philippines, with 9 medals, and Puerto Rico, with 8.