I was reading articles for Football at the Summer Olympics and Cycling at the Summer Olympics and the overall medal table caught my eye:

For football there have been ever 34 golds, 34 silvers, and 35 bronzes in the history of Summer Olympics.

For cycling there have been ever 264 golds, 264 silvers, and 260 bronzes.

What's the reason for this nearly identical medal distribution? Other sports are also the same. Is it just a coincidence or there's a valid reason?

Also, in each Olympics at least the number of golds and silvers are so close to each other, and the bronzes greater. For example, in 2020 Summer Olympics there were 340 golds, 338 silvers, and 402 bronzes. And in 2016 Summer Olympics there were 306 golds, 307 silvers, and 359 bronzes.

But in each Olympics event there is one gold, one silver, and one bronze. So the total number of golds, silvers, and bronzes separatley should be exactly identical. So why are bronzes for example 4 more than golds or silvers in history of cycling? Or why are golds 2 more than silvers and bronzes 62 more than golds in 2020 Summer Olympics?


1 Answer 1



When two tie for first, there is two golds, no silver, and one bronze. When two tie for second, one gold, two silvers, no bronze.

https://sports.yahoo.com/mystery-solved-happens-theres-tie-olympics-140653959.html (The examples in this link are winter games, but same rules.)

Two bronzes

In boxing, there is no third place fight, for safety. The losers of the two semifinal matches both get a bronze. So for any year/weight class there is one gold, one silver, and two bronzes. (This was not always so.)


  • 1
    As in boxing, two bronze medals are also awarded in judo, taekwondo, karate and wrestling. This article has a bit more information about how they are awarded.
    – schliebe
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 0:30

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