Mrs. Rooted is an erstwhile national champion figure skater, so of course we are quite deep into these 22nd Winter Olympic Games. After watching just about everything NBC felt like broadcasting over the past week, she posed me a very good question: are most of these athletes from just a few countries?

Indeed, if it seems to you as though a handful of countries at the intersections of Rich and Northern have provided most of the competitors at these games, you wouldn’t be wrong. Using data from Wikipedia, I mapped the origins of this year’s Olympians:

cutting costs on the flag assembly line

So if you’re watching the games and wondering why it looks like everyone is from the same few countries over and over again…you’re right!All data from the Oracle; note that due to the limitation of the shapefile I was working with, the three athletes from Tai…er, Chinese Taipei and the one from Hong Kong were combined with China’s 66, and Serbia’s 8 were combined with Montenegro’s 2. As you can see, a relatively small handful of countries are producing vast numbers of Winter Olympians while most countries produce little or none. In fact this map may even understate the lopsidedness; the top five countries by size of team – the United States, Russia, Canada, Switzerland, and Germany, respectively – comprise 35% of the entire Olympic field, and the top ten – adding Norway, Austria, Italy, Japan, and Sweden, respectively – accounts for 56% of the entire field! To put it as nerdily as possible, it’s almost a classic power-law distribution, with 20% of the countries providing 75% of the athletes.

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