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Denmark and the Olympic Games

Denmark has participated in every Olympic Games of the modern era apart from the games in Saint Louis in 1904

Lightweight The leightweight four 2012. Photo: Das Büro

Considering the size of the country's population, Denmark has historically done very well in the Olympic Games. In the 27 Games since 1896 Denmark has won a total of 43 gold medals, 63 silver medals and 64 bronze medals which makes it the 21st most successful nation of all time. If that number is divided by the size of the population to compute “medals per capita”, Denmark is actually the fourth most successful Olympic nation ever, surpassed only by Finland, Sweden and Hungary.

The Winter Olympic Games however have been much less successful for Denmark. So far only the Danish women´s curling team have managed to win a medal for Denmark (silver in Nagano 1998).

The best Olympic Games from the Danish point of view was in 1948 in London, where Denmark won a total of 20 medals (5 gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze). That year also marked the best individual performance by a Danish athlete when swimmer Karen Margrethe Harup won a gold and two silver medals.

The most successful Danish Olympic athlete of all time is the sailor Paul Elvstrøm, who won four gold medals between 1948 and 1960. In more recent times the rower Eskild Ebbesen and the sailor Jesper Bang have each won three gold medals.

Tug of warThe Danish Tug of war team competing against France in the 1900 Olympic Games

The Danish showjumper Lis Hartel won a gold medal in both 1952 and 1956. The 1952 win made her the first woman ever to win a discipline where men and women participated on equal terms in the same competition.

Denmark is also the only country to have won three gold medals in women´s handball (1996-2004).

As Denmark is surrounded by sea it is not surprising that the favourite Danish Olympic disciplines are water sports. Before the London Games in 2012 Denmark had won six gold medals in rowing and a total of 12 gold medals in sailing. Both disciplines remain Danish specialities to this day.

For the London Olympic Games 2012, Denmark send 113 athletes to compete in 18 disciplines.

Denmark won a total of nine medals (2 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze) which was one more than the official goal from Team Danmark. The nine medals gave Denmark a 29th place on the list of the most wining nations at the Olympics.