Can you find the values of the question marks in this medal table?

Three questions for you:

  1. Is it related to the Olympic Games?
  2. What are USA's medal numbers?
  3. What are the four missing nations?

enter image description here

Markdown Transcription

Total Gold Silver Bronze
USA ? ? ? United States
? 6 3 0 ?
CHI 1 3 2 China
GER 1 2 3 Germany
GBR 1 1 3 Great Britain
FRA 1 0 3 France
? 1 0 0 ?
SWE 0 3 1 Sweden
? 0 3 1 ?
RUS 0 2 2 Russia
FIN 0 1 1 Finland
ITA 0 1 1 Italy
GRE 0 1 0 Greece
ROM 0 1 0 Romania
JPN 0 0 3 Japan
HUN 0 0 2 Hungary
CAN 0 0 1 Canada
BEL 0 0 1 Belgium
AUS 0 0 1 Australia
? 0 0 1 ?


Alright, I will add a hint each day until the final answer arrives.

Hint Day 1

Question 1.'s answer: Yes, it is Olympic Games related :)

Hint Day 2 a.

USA has more gold medals than all other nations combined, i.e. they have more than 11 gold medals. This is not true for silver and bronze medals!

Hint Day 2 b. thanks to @smci

This table is not event focused. If you have find out the spirit behind the puzzle, you do not have to search trough long lists of events or sub events. Also, please do not forget the lateral thinking tag :)

  • $\begingroup$ starting wars? $\endgroup$
    – smci
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ Look, these hints do not uniquely determine a solution. It could be 'Summer Olympic medals in Athletics won by people whose name contains the letter 'O'', or 'left-handed people' or '...people shorter than 5'4"'... if we had enough compute-power we could generate tons of spurious, but technically correct, candidate answers. We still don't know the sport, event, subevent (e.g. "Women's 1500m", gender, etc. Until you give a hint about the actual sport, this has no uniquely-determined solution. $\endgroup$
    – smci
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 10:04
  • $\begingroup$ @smci, I added a hint for today dedicated to you because you are in the wrong way :) $\endgroup$
    – JKHA
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 10:08
  • $\begingroup$ JKHA: you already told me 2b) two days ago. There is no new information here. Give us a vague hint about the sport, already. Is it a single sport? or subcategory of a single sport? Is this the medal table at an individual Olympics? or spanning several Olympics? (it's not an all-time medal count). $\endgroup$
    – smci
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ Alright, if you wish so :) @smci rot13(Nafjre vf ab gb nyy lbhe dhrfgvbaf rkprcg gur ynfg bar, vf vg fcnaavat nyy fhzzre Bylzcvpf rirag). I would have added this hint at some point anyway :) $\endgroup$
    – JKHA
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 10:31

2 Answers 2


I got the answer thanks to the hints.

  1. Yes! It's the meta medal table of countries' positions in the medal tables of all summer olympic games. (e.g. in 1912 USA ranked first overall, SWE second and GBR third, so they got Gold, Silver and Bronze respectively)

  2. They are: 18 Gold, 8 Silver and 2 Bronze, which means the US have been in the Top 3 in all Olympics they participated in.

  3. From Top to Bottom: URS - Soviet Union; EUN - Unified Team (of former Soviet Republics); GDR - East Germany; BUL - Bulgaria

PS: 1. ist the most severe spoiler as it reveals what the idea is.

  • $\begingroup$ Ah, clever. I was close. 'GER' is misleading, then it doesn't aggregate FRG and DDR. $\endgroup$
    – smci
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 11:24
  • $\begingroup$ It's prehaps more useful to think not of countries, but of olympic teams/ committees. During the Cold War, West Germany (BRD, FRG) participated under the Code GER (which has been the code for Germany since the first Olympic Games), while East Germany (DDR, GDR) participated under the code GDR. GDR medals are not counted towards GER. GDR would also have a line in this table rot13(Creuncf nf bar bs gur dhrfgvba znexf) $\endgroup$
    – xyldke
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(V arire xarj Ohytnevn enaxrq #3 ng Zbfpbj 1980. Ubj snfg guvatf unir punatrq.) $\endgroup$
    – smci
    Commented Feb 17, 2022 at 11:38
  1. Those mostly look like countries that have hosted the Summer Olympics, except Austria (Winter Olympics?) and Romania (neither, so: also World Championships in some sport)?. I was thinking it was "medals won in sport X by country in the year it hosted the Olympics" [or the previous, or following].

  2. If it's Summer Olympics host countries, then: Brazil, Netherlands, Mexico, Soviet Union, S Korea (yes that's 5, if you count Soviet Union as distinct to Russia), in some order.

  3. To reverse-engineer the sport, I tried to find medal tables of Summer Olympics where Belgium won exactly one bronze, and Greece won exactly one silver. So it's not Archery, Gymnastics, Equestrian, Field hockey (men's or women's), Boxing, Canoe, Cycling, Diving, Fencing, Gymnastics... still working through the list by each sport under "Sports (details)" in the right-hand textbox. I started to think it was narrowed down by gender (men's/women's) and or subevent, e.g. a subevent in gymnastics or athletics.

After you clarified it's an individual sport, across all Summer Olympics, then since the total medal-count is so low, it must either have been recently added/readded. But it isn't any of the sports added since 2020 (3x3 basketball, skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, karate) or 2016 (golf, rugby sevens) or 2012 (women's boxing, mixed tennis doubles)... when I recover my stamina I'll look at the events added in 2008: women's 3,000 metre steeplechase, men's and women's BMX, women's foil and sabre team events, men's and women's marathon swimming 10km events and table tennis team events.

  • $\begingroup$ ...still trying to figure out the sport $\endgroup$
    – smci
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ Rot13(Urycvat lbh fnir fbzr gvzr: lbh ner va gur jebat jnl ;)) but +1 for the search :) $\endgroup$
    – JKHA
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 19:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'll wait for a hint then. $\endgroup$
    – smci
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I will be waiting few days are a correct answer before starting to add some :D $\endgroup$
    – JKHA
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ Also, Romania and Hungary have never done what you suggest in Point 1, so that couldn't be correct...! $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 19:45

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