Mathematics and the Summer Olympics



The Summer Olympic Games are an international multi-sport event. which are held every four years. Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, The modern Olympic games started in 1894. The first edition of the games was held in Athens in 1896 and had a mere 245 competitors from 14 different countries. In 2008, a total of 11,028 athletes competed in 28 sports. There were 302 events which ranged from track and field to basketball. Los Angeles, USA (2028): Los Angeles, a vibrant metropolis on the west coast of the United States, will host the 2028 Summer Olympics, emphasizing innovation, diversity, and the spirit of the American Dream. The city’s unique blend of entertainment, technology, and culture promises to deliver an unforgettable Olympic experience. This quest will help you explore the connections between math and the Summer Olympics.

The Task

To engage yourself in this quest, you will need to explore basic facts about the Summer Olympics and math connections to this international event. You will also engage in several related activities. These tasks will require a computer, access to the web, paper and pencil.

The Process

Learn About The Summer Olympic Games

  1. – The Official Website of the Olympic Movement
  2. Los Angeles, USA 2028 Summer Olympics
  3. Brisbane, Australia 2032 Summer Olympics
  4. Summer Olympic Games – Wikipedia

Learn About Math and the Summer Olympics

  1. Maths and Sport: Countdown to the Games
  2. Olympic Measures
  3. Using the Olympics to Study Math
  4. Math Meets Sports
  5. Go for Gold With Olympic Math
  6. Summer Olympics Resources from TeacherPlanet
  7. Gold Medal Olympics Activities


Answer each question below. You may work alone or in groups.

  1. How many countries are participating in the current Summer Olympic Games?
  2. How does this number compare to the number of countries participating in past games?
  3. Which countries send the most athletes?
  4. What are 3 pieces of data that you can compare from the Summer Olympics?
  5. What type of graph should you use to compare each set of data?
  6. List 5 measurements and records from events at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
  7. Which event uses distance and time to award a predetermined number of points according to a set of performance tables?
  8. Records are kept for all sports. Which branch of mathematics is concerned with records?
  9. Name 4 other branches of mathematics that are connected to Summer Olympic Games.
  10. Find and describe 3 math lesson plans related to the Summer Olympic Games.


  1. Choose your favorite countries and make a graph of their medal counts for past Olympics. How do you think they will fare this summer in London?
  2. Keep track of your favorite athletes. For example, compare your favorite athlete’s performance during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing to his/her performance in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Does the athlete’s performance improve or decline? By how many points? meters? seconds?
  3. Keep track of the numbers and types of medals earned by certain countries participating in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. They can then compare this medal count to those earned in 2008.


  1. Follow the links listed in the Process section above.
  2. Search sites such as BingGoogleYahoo!


  1. Share your answers and activities with a classmate or family member.
  2. Identify 5 connections between math and the Summer Olympic Games.
  3. Complete this worksheet on Speed-Time Problems.
  4. Complete this worksheet on Track Design.
  5. Complete this worksheet on Training Problems.
  6. Complete this worksheet on Medals


Congratulations! You have discovered connections between math and the Summer Olympic Games. You have applied this knowledge through related activities.

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