Date: August 14 2012
Which is worse - Olympic Games defeat to Britain or New Zealand?
Australians are fond of saying we punch above our weight at the Olympics, but even taking population into account won't mask an underwhelming medal tally at the London Games.
Outside the top handful of nations on the overall medals table, Australia was also well down on the lists of best performing nations according to alternate measures, such as per capita, gross domestic product and team sizes, according to figures analysed by Fairfax.
Overall, Australia's haul of 35 medals (seven gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze) had it in 10th place of the 85 countries which won medals in London.
This left it behind our biggest sporting rival, Britain, which finished in third spot, with 29 gold medals, 17 silver and 19 bronze, for a total of 65.
The United States (104 medals, 46 gold) topped the list, with China (87 medals, 38 gold) second.
On a per capita basis - the measure we often call on to rate ourselves against more populous countries - Australia was beaten by another rival, as New Zealand's 13 medals (five gold) put it in the top five of medals won per head of population.
Based on figures where medals are weighted for value (three points for gold, two for silver and one for bronze), Australia finished in 12th spot per capita, with one medal for every 650,000 inhabitants. The Kiwis were fourth on the per capita table, behind Grenada, a country of 105,000 people which celebrated Kirani James' win in the men's 400 metres with a public holiday. The Caribbean excelled in this category, with Usain Bolt and his Jamaican teammates in second spot, the Bahamas third and Trinidad and Tobago fifth.
Australia's large team - its 413 athletes made it the fourth-biggest team in London, according to figures provided by The Guardian - meant on team size rankings, Australia was 32nd, although this statistical ranking is skewed towards individual sports and away from team sports, as the green and gold took part in the men's and women's events in basketball, hockey and water polo, and in men's volleyball.
The most efficient teams in London were China (87 medals among 371 athletes), Botswana, which sent four athletes and won one silver, Jamaica, Iran and the US.
Financially, Australia was well down the table on the relevant measuring. By GDP Australia was in 44th place, well behind the top five Grenada, Jamaica, North Korea, Georgia and Mongolia.
These poor financial results come in the wake of an analysis which found that every medal won by Australia at the Games cost taxpayers $10 million. Great Britain's effort, in contrast, cost its taxpayers about $7 million per medal.
The best ranking Australia achieved was among colour-blind observers, as Australia finished seventh in overall medals won.
But spare a thought for Canada, which despite having one of the bigger teams in London (279 athletes), won just one gold (in women's judo) in a haul of 18 medals.
Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria, all of which are in the world's top 10 most populous countries, did not win one medal between them.
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