Guess who’s dominating the world in Paralympic medals?

There are many ways to count Olympic medals for country rankings, but by the two most common ways — by total medals or just golds — China is leaving the rest of the world in the dust when it comes to Paralympic medals. The Paralympic Games close tomorrow (or today, if you’re several time zones ...

592582_080916_medalcount5.jpg
592582_080916_medalcount5.jpg

There are many ways to count Olympic medals for country rankings, but by the two most common ways -- by total medals or just golds -- China is leaving the rest of the world in the dust when it comes to Paralympic medals.

The Paralympic Games close tomorrow (or today, if you're several time zones ahead of Passport), and the standings as of the timing of this post show that China has won 207 total medals, more than double No. 2 Britain's 102. When it comes to just golds, China has won 87, again more than double No. 2 Britain's 42.

As discussed on the Becker-Posner blog, a country's Olympic performance can be predicted by factors such as population, per capita income, presence of an authoritarian government, and whether a country is hosting the Olympics. My hunch is that these factors also predict Paralympic performance, but perhaps other factors include how many people in a country's population meet the Paralympics' eligibility criteria and how well a country supports those with disabilities.

There are many ways to count Olympic medals for country rankings, but by the two most common ways — by total medals or just golds — China is leaving the rest of the world in the dust when it comes to Paralympic medals.

The Paralympic Games close tomorrow (or today, if you’re several time zones ahead of Passport), and the standings as of the timing of this post show that China has won 207 total medals, more than double No. 2 Britain’s 102. When it comes to just golds, China has won 87, again more than double No. 2 Britain’s 42.

As discussed on the Becker-Posner blog, a country’s Olympic performance can be predicted by factors such as population, per capita income, presence of an authoritarian government, and whether a country is hosting the Olympics. My hunch is that these factors also predict Paralympic performance, but perhaps other factors include how many people in a country’s population meet the Paralympics’ eligibility criteria and how well a country supports those with disabilities.

China also dominated the Paralympics’ medal count (by total medals and by golds) in the 2004 Athens Games. Australia had the most medals and golds at the 2000 Sydney Games, and by the same counts, the United States was on top at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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