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Can you name the all-time best nations in Track and Field (Athletics) at the Olympics?
Enter a nation in the box below
Correctly named nations will show up below
Answers do not have to be guessed in order
Sports Reference: Olympics
Sporcle Olympics Quizzes may include nations that don't currently exist, but competed in past Olympic Games.
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/15 nations correct
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322x Gold, 242x Silver, 195x Bronze
52x Gold, 83x Silver, 62x Bronze
64x Gold, 55x Silver, 74x Bronze
49x Gold, 35x Silver, 31x Bronze
38x Gold, 36x Silver, 35x Bronze
19x Gold, 39x Silver, 43x Bronze
21x Gold, 25x Silver, 46x Bronze
19x Gold, 24x Silver, 27x Bronze
22x Gold, 27x Silver, 19x Bronze
18x Gold, 22x Silver, 21x Bronze
13x Gold, 22x Silver, 25x Bronze
19x Gold, 15x Silver, 25x Bronze
14x Gold, 15x Silver, 25x Bronze
13x Gold, 27x Silver, 15x Bronze
22x Gold, 17x Silver, 13x Bronze
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(Warning: comments may contain spoilers)
Best Olympic Track and Field Nations Quiz
Created Nov 9, 2009 in
Featured Aug 5, 2012
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Nov 9th, 2009 at 10:59 GMT
Finland FTW! The odd 5 million people and a ****load of medals.
Nov 9th, 2009 at 14:16 GMT
China's gotta step their game up.
Nov 9th, 2009 at 14:18 GMT
Oh I see, it's track and field.
Nov 24th, 2009 at 21:24 GMT
I like this, it's surprisingly tricky. Probably could do with a little less time though, I ended up with about 3 minutes to get the last one, which I eventually did after quite a lot of guesswork.
Dec 1st, 2009 at 08:38 GMT
Too much time given, however I also didn't notice that it was for track and field until 2 minutes in...5/5 still!
Jan 18th, 2010 at 17:41 GMT
I was massively surprised by #4 - but the link shows how many golds they won at very early Olympics. Perhaps they were about the only team in those early Games?
Jan 18th, 2010 at 17:47 GMT
Why is Russia/Unified Team/USSR combined as one, and East and West Germany not?
Jun 15th, 2011 at 00:42 GMT
Jamaica got 11 golds in the last olympics or did they get 11 medals?
Nov 10th, 2011 at 14:58 GMT
@riddler: Paavo Nurmi and Lasse Viren
Game published: Aug 5th, 2012 at 17:00 GMT
Comment below threshold:
Aug 5th, 2012 at 17:21 GMT
Nailed it :)
Aug 5th, 2012 at 17:54 GMT
Finland was quite a surprise - though some of their marathon runners of the past were legendary.
Aug 5th, 2012 at 18:03 GMT
I guessed Norway then thought, how stupid to guess a Scandinavian country...
Aug 5th, 2012 at 18:03 GMT
People will be surprised by China's absence in these Olympic quizzes but remember that they did not compete on a regular basis until 1984, due to their conflict with Taiwan.
Aug 5th, 2012 at 18:12 GMT
That was easier than i expected. Where's Ethiopia? #16?
Aug 5th, 2012 at 19:43 GMT
Good quiz, but in the Olympics, countries are ranked in order by number of gold, then silver, then bronze, not the total number of medals. And "UK" should not be accepted for Great Britain as the Northern Irish can compete for either GBR or Ireland.
Comment below threshold:
Aug 5th, 2012 at 20:53 GMT
East Germany's medals should not really be counted. Their coaches pumped them full of steroids.
Aug 5th, 2012 at 21:13 GMT
For those wondering about finnish medals (I'm a finn myself): In the 1920's finns dominated the long-distance track and field. Paavo Nurmi (who is often candidate for the greatest track and field athelete of all time, due to setting dozens of records and being only defeated once by a non-finn) won 9 golds and some silvers, in 3 olympic games. Hannes Kolehmainen won several in 1910's, and after Nurmi there were several other Finns who won golds in 1920's through 40's. In the 1960's, Lasse Viren continued running long-distance, famously winning a 10k race where he fell mid-way. Nowadays, there isn't much to say though, sadly.
Aug 5th, 2012 at 21:28 GMT
@koipen: Finland came to me right away because of Nurmi, Kolehmainen, Viren, Ritola, Iso-hollo, Maki: The "Flying Finns"!
Aug 5th, 2012 at 21:32 GMT
Hmm, forgot Poland. Really Good quiz. A_Trep are you sure the Northern Irish can compete for Ireland. I am not aware of this. Also GB is a short version of the full title which includes N. Ireland and is a total mouthful. x
Aug 5th, 2012 at 21:54 GMT
Wren: Yes, in the Olympics, FIFA and many other international sporting events, the Northern Irish can compete for either Britain or Ireland. Both team names refer to the islands. The teams go by geographic boundaries, not political boundaries. Hence why the GB team is not listed as the UK. It is similar in other countries... Puerto Ricans for example can choose to compete for the United States or Puerto Rico. Even though PR is a US territory, it has its own national team in international sports.
Aug 5th, 2012 at 21:55 GMT
@wren - there was definitely one athlete yesterday who competed for Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games but Ireland in the Olympic games.
Aug 5th, 2012 at 22:36 GMT
@trep I have no idea about the olympics, but in fifa players from Northern Ireland compete for Northern Ireland.
Aug 5th, 2012 at 23:12 GMT
@walkalong: You're right. I stand corrected... Irish football in FIFA and UEFA are the most notable place where they are in fact separated (But The UK itself is also separated into the rest of its constituent states). I don't actually know why I said FIFA to begin with, but the fact is Ireland and Great Britain compete separately in almost every other international sport (most of which go by the International Olympic Committee's member-states).
Aug 5th, 2012 at 23:44 GMT
@A_Trep: Don't worry, rugby union and league even more complicated, with different variations evolving over time and of course with the Lions.
Aug 5th, 2012 at 23:47 GMT
In football, those born in Northern Ireland can choose to play for the Republic if they so wish. There are a couple of players currently in the team that were born in Northern Ireland but opted to play for the Republic for whatever reason. This is because anyone born on the island of Ireland is entitled to Irish citizenship I believe.
Aug 6th, 2012 at 09:55 GMT
Although the latter is a common phenomenon that also happens elsewhere. While immigrating successful sportspeople never seem to face a major opposition, some country combinations are very common - like many Surinamese starting for the Netherlands.
About this quiz: I was quite surprised that Czechoslovakia did not feature more prominently, with Emil Zatopek as a frontrunner comparable to Nurmi and the odd Ludmilla Onenameoranova starting in the 80s, but I seem to remember quite wrongly.
Aug 6th, 2012 at 12:27 GMT
Interesting and fun quiz, although im not sure about the name "Best Nations in Track and Field". Even though a country like jamaica may have fewer medals, being a small island with many of the fastest runners in the world, I would argue its the best. It would be better as "Most Decorated Nations in Track
Aug 6th, 2012 at 18:07 GMT
Really good quiz & interesting and informative comments. I do feel that the more I learn the less I know...
Aug 7th, 2012 at 20:21 GMT
The thing about these historical olympics quizzes is that relatively few nations competed prior to decolonisation. For example, only 44 nations participated in the 1924 games, almost all of which were in Europe, the Americas, and Australia and New Zealand. Any totaling of medals for sports dating back to 1896 is going to disproportionately include those countries. I was actually suprised Jamaica made it onto this list.
Jan 17th, 2013 at 01:17 GMT
Suprised I"ran" isn't on the list
Mar 16th, 2013 at 21:21 GMT
I didn't know they would count Soviet Union and East Germany
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