Olympic Circles

'Making infographics based on the Olympic Circles - Is it really a level playing field?'' 

The five circles of the Olympic emblem were originaly designed to represent the five participating continents at the Olympic games. They are all equal in size and at least one of the five colours used should appear in the flag of every nation! This exercise is all about looking at these pictures from a different angle. Are the Olympics really played out on a level playing field? Who wins the most medals and why? What if the we used the size of the circles to represent certain comparisons between the five continents? Might we expect countries with more people to win more medals? What about those countries with a smaller GDP? How many different factors affect the abiltiy of athletes from a given country to win medals? What follows is an exercise in making infographics to help show some of this data!


The activity is outlined in this printable  Olympic Circles google doc. This is also embedded below. A great data source for this activity is  Gapminder and using the same data source lends some consistency to the activity.

Presenting the project

The following google presentation shows some of the possible infographics that could be created and it is hoped that more people in different places in the world will take part and add their infographics to this presentation.

Olympic Circles Worksheet

The worksheet is embedded below and can be viewed and printed here.

A Key

It is important to make sure a key is used to help people interpret the infographic. SInce there is no historical connection betwen the colours and the continents the following key was made alphabetically from left to right.


This is another imporatnt visual aid to understanding the diagrams.


Some photos of the infographics in the making!


The following is an outline of how the activity might run.

  • Introduce the idea by having a discussion about 'A level playing field at the Olympic Games'.
  • Introduce the idea of using circles to represent various social indicators. Consider the implications.
  • Discuss which social indicators might be used.
  • Students visit the data source and and start collecting and filtering the data. This is a great exercise in how to handle secondary data.
  • Once averages have been calculated, convert them into circle areas.
  • Scale the areas so that they fit the chosen canvas.
  • Make the infographics!
  • Consider how they might be displayed for other people to see.
  • Consider uploading them to the  google presentation!
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