Now that Michael Phelps’ Olympic career is all said and done, it’s time to crunch some numbers. No, we can’t quantify whether or not Phelps is the best Olympian of all-time — that debate will likely never end. But we can have some fun with his staggering statistics
What we can definitively say about Phelps’ career is that his 22 Olympic medals rank higher than 82 other countries (with only 50 nations in front of him). And that’s only counting countries who have won medals at all. Tack on the countries who have never brought home any brass and you’ll inflate that already mind-boggling number for sure.
Of course, there are a lot of countries with populations less than his home state of Maryland (5,828,289) who might send less than 10 athletes to represent their delegation every four years. But upon closer examination of the list compiled by NBC Olympics, you’ll see that not every country who trails him is a cupcake. Among them, you might even find the second-most populated country in the world. I kid you not. Here are some notables:
- Thailand (21 medals, pop: 69,518,555)
- India (20 medals, pop: 1,241,491,960)
- Pakistan (10 medals, pop: 176,745,364)
- Philippines (9 medals, pop: 94,852,030)
Not all countries that trail Phelps are from South Asia, the variety is greater than I’ve indicated. But you get the point. Phelps is a once-in-a-lifetime powerhouse whose records will be a tough nut to crack.
[h/t NBC Olympics, photo via]