The games of the XXX Olympiad are complete. Londoners can return to their natural state of dourness. NBC can go back to offering other programming on a maddening tape delay, and pundits can argue whether it makes sense to spend $14 billion to host the games or not.
With all 302 medal events completed, it is a good time to ask what defines a country likely to do well at the games. A full medal count can be found here.
We can quickly rule out several factors. You probably don’t want to rank poorly on FP‘s Failed States Index if you want to excel at the games, though Afghanistan and Uganda did manage medals (and a Somali-born member of the British track team, Mo Farah, won gold medals in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races).
The above excerpt was originally published in Foreign Policy.
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