Industries in Depth

These countries have won the most medals in the Winter Olympics

Three Norway's flags are seen during the women's cross-country 30km freestyle victory ceremony, during the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Grigory Dukor (RUSSIA  - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT)

More than 40 countries have won at least one Winter Olympic medal since the first games in Chamonix, France, in 1924. Image: REUTERS/Grigory Dukor (RUSSIA - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT)

Rob Smith
Writer, Forum Agenda
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Norway has won more medals in the Winter Olympics than any other nation since the games were first introduced in Chamonix, France, in 1924, according to data provided by Sports Reference.

The Nordic country, which is also ranked as the world’s most democratic nation, has accumulated 118 gold, 111 silver and 100 bronze medals. It is also home to the most-decorated winter Olympian, biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen, who has a total of 13 medals, including eight golds.

Gold medalist Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway poses during the medal ceremony for the men's biathlon 10 km sprint event in the Olympic Plaza at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 9, 2014. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (RUSSIA  - Tags: SPORT BIATHLON OLYMPICS)   - LR2EA2919NTII
Image: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The United States, which has hosted the Winter Olympics on four occasions, most recently in Salt Lake City in 2002, is second with a total of 282 medals – 96 gold, 102 silver, and 84 bronze.

Its most decorated athlete, short track speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, has won eight medals, including two gold.

Germany, meanwhile, is ranked third, with a total of 228 medals, including 86 gold, 84 silver, and 58 bronze. Germany’s figures do not include medals won by East and West Germany, which total 110 and 39, respectively.

PyeongChang 2018

There will be over 100 gold-medal opportunities at the 2018 Winter Olympics, which are playing out in the South Korean city of PyeongChang between 9 and 25 February.

Image: statista

It is the first time South Korea has hosted the Winter Games, which have been billed as the most eco-friendly ever.

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) has been working to minimize the carbon footprint of the Games. Its overarching goal is to reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve a carbon-neutral Olympics.

South Korea, which has participated in 17 previous Winter Games, has won a total of 53 medals, including 42 in short track speed skating. Of these, 21 were gold, 12 were silver and nine were bronze.

A diplomatic breakthrough?

Interestingly, at this year’s Games, athletes from North and South Korea marched under a single “unified Korea” flag during the opening ceremony.

A number of female ice hockey players from North Korea will also participate as part of a joint team with the South, though most athletes are competing for their respective countries.

This show of unity is a far cry from the 1988 summer games, held in the South Korean capital Seoul, which the North boycotted after failing to establish its capital, Pyongyang, as a co-host.

While North Korea has participated in eight previous winter games, winning two medals, its attendance this year is a big deal, particularly considering rising tensions and tense rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in recent months.

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