With only a few days left in these 2014 Winter Games, let’s take a quick look at the medals table to see how everyone stacks up. I’m going with the overall medal count because I think that best illustrates the total quality of a country’s athletes, as opposed to just counting gold medals, which shows how many superstars a country has.
After trailing overall for much of the Games, the United States has taken a one-medal lead over host Russia with 23 total medals. The Russians have definitely been riding the momentum that hosting the games often brings: They already have seven more medals than they did in 2010 at Vancouver. Rounding out the top five in total medals is the Netherlands in a tie with Russia, Norway (which also boasts the most gold medals with nine) and Canada with 18 total medals.
But because this is America – the greatest nation on the globe – we have to be first in something. How does happiness sound?
According to a study by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, bronze medal recipients come in second at the Elation Olympics, with silver medalists being the most disappointed. And look! The U.S. leads the pack with 11 bronze medalists, 18 when gold and bronze are both accounted for.
It makes sense, really. Gold medalists are obviously the happiest since they proved themselves the strongest among the field, silver medalists are disappointed to be the first loser (see: McKayla Maroney in London) and bronze medalists are happy to have medaled at all. Go America.
How about a hand for Belarus and Poland? While Belarus only has six medals, five of them have been gold, while all four of Poland’s medals have been of the first-place variety.
Darya Domracheva has been tearing it up in the biathlon events for Belarus, accounting for three of the golds for her country, with Anton Kushnir and Alla Tsuper taking the others in freestyle skiing aerials competitions. Poland’s golds have come for Kamil Stoch in ski jumping, cross-country skiing thanks to Justyna Kowalczyk and speed skating, for which Zbigniew Bródka won the 1,500-meter race.
Finally, let’s give some love to medal winners from the Southern Hemisphere. From all the way down under, Australia has come up with two silver medals and one bronze in Sochi, with Torah Bright taking second-place in women’s snowboarding half-pipe and David Morris and Lydia Lassila taking silver and bronze in the men’s and women’s freestyle skiing aerials competition.
So congratulations, Australia: The rest of the world may not think of you as a Winter Olympics country, but you’ve proven that you can hang with some of the best. Now, if only you could assemble a winning bobsled team consisting of a kangaroo, koala, platypus and an emu … Maybe in 2018?