The other day I saw some old footage with athletes wearing CCCP on their uniform, the Cyrillic letters for USSR. It got me wondering how the old Soviet Union would be doing in the medal count if it was still together. So I did a quick count and posted it on Twitter.

The inevitable literalnet responded that not all the medals would have been won, because of team restrictions etc. But a few more interesting people replied with curiosity of how the Roman empire would do, or perhaps the British Empire.

Granted, an exhaustive survey would find out the origins of every athlete that medaled and then account for the team restrictions and who might have won if certain atheletes had been barred from medaling because of that. What I did took me too much time as it is, so this is not that and it’s not perfect.

However it is an amusing, at least to me, look at the medal count with old-timey empires put in for fun.

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
European Union 67 88 75 230
British empire 51 41 54 146
Roman empire (ca. 117) 39 52 49 140
USSR 25 26 45 96
USA 34 22 25 81
People’s Republic of China 36 22 19 77
Holy Roman Empire (ca. 1600) 20 28 24 72
Russian Federation 11 19 22 52
Great Britain 22 13 13 48

Notes: I counted half the US medals in the British Empire since more than half of the US population lives in the old colonies. I also counted half of Italy for the Holy Roman Empire since only northern Italy was part of the time period I used. I also only used half of Great Britain’s medal count for the Roman Empire, since I really didn’t feel like digging up which of the medal winners were from Scotland and Northern Ireland (and possibly Wales and Cornwall etc. etc. if you *really* want to get sticky about it).