Created during August 2016

Olympic feathers

More than 5000 Olympic events have had a winner in the Summer Olympics since the first games of 1896. In Olympic Feathers you can investigate how each of these medals has been won in the 56 different sporting disciplines that have competed at the games, of which 41 are still held at Rio 2016. To see patterns appear in certain sports, such as weightlifting going from mostly European medals to Asian countries during the recent Olympic Games, or get a sense of the number of events that each sport has and when women events were finally added to each sport. This visualization shows the entire history and lets the viewer decide what they want to focus on.

The complete image of Olympic Feathers


Information is Beautiful Awards

“Olympic Feathers” was shortlisted in the Data visualization category of 2016’s Kantar Information is Beautiful awards.

Hovering over a year at the bottom will highlight only that year
The circle focusing on water events

In the week before the Olympics started in Rio, I had an idea for a visualization. Something about all the medal winners since the very first Olympic Games in 1896. My first design concept was to visualize each of the 56 disciplines that have been competing at the Olympics as a feather and use the inside of the feather to place all of the medals according to the edition and gender. The exact feather shape didn’t make the final cut, but the name Olympic Feathers never changed.

All of the coding happened in the first week of the Olympics during my evenings. A colleague at work then, Jeroen de Lange, helped me to get the design to the next level. With nice typographic layouts and advice to improve the overall look.

It’s a visualization that takes a bit of time to understand, but once you do there are many interesting facts to find. Just the way I like to make them. You can read more about the data, design & coding on the data sketches’ August write-up.

A zoom on the medal hover