Ironically, the leading contender who stands amongst several countries in the world for the most number of Olympic Medals is an individual by the name of Michael Phelps. The shark of Olympic swimming has been absolutely dominant in all the events that he has competed in ever since he first made his debut back in 2000 and has since accumulated 28 medals in total. This puts him above several countries that have never won Olympic medals in any sport. But the question that many people tend to ignore is about how and why certain countries have never been on the podium.
We take a look at certain countries that have never won Olympic medals since the first edition of the modern games began in 1896.
Until 2016, Bangladesh never had an athlete who had qualified for the Olympics via merit. For the first time, their Rio Flagbearer Siddikur Rahman had qualified for the finals of Golf by coming 55th out of 60 individuals. The country is the most populous nation to have never won a medal in the history of the event despite having had competitors regularly over the past few decades. A majority of the athletes would gain entry into the Olympics via a wildcard system. The focus of Bangladesh has majorly been on cricket with the country only recently beginning to emphasise more on other sports.
Antigua and Barbuda
The island duo located in the Caribbean Sea is known for its low population and landmass. They have competed regularly at the Olympics in 1976 and have fielded sportspersons in athletics and swimming events but have never come home with a medal to their name.
Mostly all athletes who have presented Albania have done so in wrestling, shooting, swimming and weightlifting. The country has fielded its maximum number of competitors in 2008 and 2012 which was a total of 11 sportspersons. However, the other editions of the competition has seen less than 10 competitors take part under the National Olympic Committee of Albania.
The country has fielded its maximum number of athletes in 1984 and 1992 which was a total of 6. In 2016, there were two athletes who represented the country in shooting and archery respectively with both crashing out in the early stages of the event. The country has mostly elide on wild card entries for its athletes to qualify for the Olympics.
Formerly known as Burma, there has been regular participation from the state since 1948 but with minimal luck on the medal front. Owing to the political turmoil of the country for the past several decades as well as the lack of facilities in the country, there has been a severe dearth of formidable athletes coming from the nation. It is the third most populous nation to have not won an Olympic medal after Congo and Bangladesh. Its best-ever finish was at the 2004 Olympics when weightlifter Nan hine finished 4th in the 48kg category but was subsequently banned due to steroid consumption.
The second most populous nation to have not won an Olympic medal. Much like the other countries that have been unsuccessful, the DRC first took part in 1968 and thereafter came back in 1984. Since then it has competed regularly with its highest number of athletes representations coming in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics with 17.
The first time Rwanda took part in the Olympics was in 1984. It has been a regular participant with one of its highest contingents being in the London Olympics in 2012 with 7 athletes taking part in swimming, cross country, cycling and track events. Incidentally, it won its first-ever international medal at the Paralympic Games in the 2004 Summer Games.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Another country to have been affected by politics and war, the first time that it took part was in 1992. The highest number of athletes taking part has been in the 2016 Rio Olympics with 11 of them competing.
There are at least 50-60 other countries that have never won an Olympics Medal at the Summer Olympic Games. This includes countries like Belize, Chad, South Sudan, Turkmenistan, Sierra Leone and Somalia amongst many others. There is hope however as the participation from a lot of these nations has increased immensely along with investment from their governments in coaching and facilities. One will probably see some medal winner debutants in this year's edition of the Tokyo Olympics as well.