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And the Winners are … Norway and Slovenia: Sochi Medals, Per Capita

By Martin W. Lewis | February 25, 2014 | 2 Comments

I must admit to being off-put by the nationalism that is prevalent at all Olympic games, as I would rather see athletes competing against each other, not countries locked in competition. But regardless of my personal feelings, the Olympics form a showcase for national pride, and countries do compete with each other at a variety of levels. Reports on the …

Mongolia’s Three Manly Skills, the Olympics, and Genghis Khan

By Nicholas Baldo | August 28, 2012 | 4 Comments

In anticipation of future posts exploring the geography of Olympic medals, this post will focus on the sporting fortunes of one country in particular—Mongolia. Mongolia tends to perform very well in on the basis of medals won weighed by population or GDP. In 2012, Mongolia earned two silver and two bronze medals, placing it third in total medals per dollar …

Revamping French Guiana for the World Cup and Olympics

By Chris Kremer | August 12, 2012 | 2 Comments

Although Brazil has received ample press attention in its scramble to prepare for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic games, its neighbor French Guiana has also started drawing up plans to host athletes competing in the two sporting events. The overseas region of France will expand its sport, tourism, and transportation infrastructure in order to attract elite athletes to train there for the games.

The British-Soccer Indian-Poultry-Firm Controversy

By Martin W. Lewis | May 31, 2012 |

Even more divisive has been the 2010 purchase of the Blackburn Rovers Football Club, a storied soccer franchise, by the Indian poultry and pharmaceutical firm Venkey’s. The new management immediately began changing the coaching staff, angering the club’s supporters. Earlier this month, a disgruntled fan released a chicken on the playing field wrapped in the Blackburn Lancashire flag emblazoned with the word “out,” intended as a message for the club’s owners

Rugby League Encouraged by Ghana

By Martin W. Lewis | March 7, 2012 |
Rugby Union World Map Wikipedia

Ghana is attempting to establish the sport of rugby league both in the country and throughout West Africa, a move described as part of as “groundbreaking development initiative.”

Regionalizing California

By Martin W. Lewis | February 16, 2012 | 6 Comments

With thirty-eight million people spread over an area of 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2) and an economy that would rank between the eighth and eleventh largest in the world if it were an independent country, California makes an unwieldy state. Its different regions are so distinctive culturally, economically, and politically that numerous attempts have been made to divide California into two or more …

An Innovative, Inaccurate Baseball Fan Map

By Martin W. Lewis | | 6 Comments

It is not often that I would go out of my way to praise a map that advertises itself as “highly inaccurate,” but I will do so in the case of the Common Census Major League Baseball Fan map. The map was constructed from crowd-sourced data, relying on responders to specify where they live and what team they support. Unfortunately, …

The Politics of Pakistani Cricket

By Martin W. Lewis | February 9, 2012 | One Comment

India and Pakistan have not played a cricket test series since 2007, as athletic relations between the two countries were frozen after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. A recent geopolitical thaw, however, has led…

Sochi 2014: A Subtropical Winter Olympics?

By Martin W. Lewis | January 31, 2012 | 20 Comments
Wikipedia map of the Subtropics

In 2010, Foreign Policy magazine asked Russian opposition leader and Sochi native Boris Nemtsov why he opposed the 2014 Winter Olympics in his hometown. Nemtsov’s reply was broad ranging. He decried the displacement of 5,000 people while warning that corruption and organized crime would devour most of the construction funds showered on the city. He began his critique, however, with …

Dreams of a Circassian Homeland and the Sochi Olympics of 2014

By Martin W. Lewis | January 27, 2012 | 6 Comments
Map of the Circassian Republics in Russia

The resurgence of Circassian identity in recent years faces daunting obstacles. Many Circassians believe that the long-term sustainability of their community requires a return to the northwestern Caucasus, but both the Russian state and the other peoples of the region resist such designs. Circassians are thus focusing much of their efforts on global public opinion, building a protest movement in …

The World of Baseball — and of Tim Lincecum

By Martin W. Lewis | November 12, 2010 | 5 Comments

The world map of major cricket-playing countries bears a close resemblance to the historical map of British imperial power. Does the map of baseball similarly follow the extension of American power abroad? A quick glance at the first map posted above shows that baseball’s domain is wide indeed, encompassing many countries that have

International Rivalries in Cricket

By Martin W. Lewis | November 11, 2010 | 2 Comments

“Pakistan as a country is in serious trouble. It has just experienced the worst flood in memory. It is dominated by conflicts between the US and the Taliban and Al Qaeda… Pakistanis need something to escape from the harsh realities of day-to-day life. They need friends, they need help – and they need cricket.” – Dean Jones

The Nations of Rugby; The World of Rugby

By Martin W. Lewis | November 10, 2010 | 7 Comments

The significance of sports in structuring modern geographical relations is underappreciated by scholars. People, men especially, tend to bond with places through their identification with athletic teams. Following sports also teaches geography; as teams travel, so do their fans, vicariously. Even matters of geopolitical import can be initiated on the playing field. In 1969, a brief war between Honduras and El Salvador –La guerra del fútbol – was sparked by a soccer contest.

People Per Goal & The Economic Geography of the World Cup

By Samuel Raphael Franco | June 28, 2010 | One Comment

The group stage of the World Cup offered an opportunity for outliers on both ends of the spectrum of economic and population strength to compete on equal terms.World Cup competitors have a mean population near 50,000,000 million. The median sits far below that at 22,578,572. The majority of the competing nations are of modest size

The Geography of FIFA & International Recognition

By Samuel Raphael Franco | June 21, 2010 | 4 Comments

FIFA divides the world into the six regions:These six “continents” hold a a quarry of curiosities.Palestine competes as its own country in the South Asian Football Federation, and is a FIFA member. On the other side of the West Bank, Israel is the only country in the region that competes in the European UEFA.The South

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