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Which ancient empire would rule today’s Olympic medal standings? Of course it’s the Mongols

Aug 9, 2012, 7:27 PM EDT


So the premise is this: You take all the medals from the 2012 London Olympics so far, and award them according to where those countries were in empires of bygone eras. For instance, Australia, Canada, India, England, etc., would be part of the British Empire, circa the turn of the 20th century. So, which of history’s greatest empires would be leading the 2012 medal count?

Before reading the answer, I guessed the Roman Empire, which is way wrong. The Romans of Augustus Caesar, etc., only come in fifth. The previously mentioned British Empire (circa 1910) is at No. 2. The winner? Genghis Khan, take a bow.

The Mongol Empire, circa 1280 AD, would rule the Olympics if they still owned all their land today. According to a site called, the Mongols would have collected 218 medals — 81 gold, 63 silver, 74 bronze — if countries such as China, Russia and Kazakhstan were still a part of their empire.

The site claims to be current through tonight’s results — although I crunched the Mongol numbers and got 229 medals. Anyway, the British Empire was second with 140 medals; today’s Eurozone was third with 136; and fourth was … yes you guessed it, Napoleonic France (circa 1810), with 129. Or, 128 if Napoleon insisted on being on the judo team.

I suppose that if actual Genghis Kahn-era Mongols participated, about the only event they would win is archery. And of course they’d kill everyone involved in dressage.

Interestingly, the United States of today would be right up there, with 90 medals. If the old Soviet Union were still around, they’d be beating us with 105. And the good ole’ Spanish Empire, circa 1580 AD, would have 84 — including 24 golds, all stolen from Mexico and Peru.

Empires not listed, but it would be interesting to see the medal count: Germany (circa 1944); Alexander the Great’s Macedonia; Westeros; Middle Earth.

  1. theawesomersfranchise - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    Winter is Coming

  2. thraiderskin - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Interesting article… I disagree on who would have the most based on others factors, like being short and incapable of fighting (or anything) without a horse. As far as who “possessed” the lands of the most medal rich nations, yeah you are probably correct.

    • thraiderskin - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM

      oh yeah… ghengis khan was short and pudgy, I believe that would have been an excellent judo match for Napolean.