Health spending or happiness? Army size or life expectancy? The Channel 4 News alternative medals table looks at social and economic factors and their impact on the Paralympic Games.
Click on the image above to launch the Alternative Paralympics: interactive medals table
As the world's elite Paralympians wow the crowds at London 2012, our alternative medals table shows you how competing nations compare if they are also scored on life expectancy, health spending, military size and happiness ranking.
How to use the table
- Click on the image above to launch the table.
- Select "medals" and choose a country or nation group.
- The total number of gold, silver and bronze medals for that country or group will appear.
- Apply one of the filters e.g. Happiness Index - and see if the medals shrink or grow.
- Then compare countries or groups side by side.
Paralympians come from many different backgrounds and the reasons for their disabilities vary hugely. So we've decided to focus on just some of the factors that can affect a Paralympian athlete's life.
We think living for longer and keeping people healthy is a positive, so nations with the highest average life expectancy and highest health spending will see their tallies grow. The same goes for happiness ranking - a good score means more medals.
As medicine has improved, the chances of an injured soldier surviving has risen too, and in many cases disabled veterans have gone on to Paralympic success
For example, ParalympicsGB contains six athletes who were formerly in the armed forces, 21 of the USA's 229 strong team are either ex-forces or are still in the military. And the Israeli squad of 21 Paralympians contains six athletes who sustained their injuries during active military service.
So large military nations like the USA (1.6m troops) and China (2.9m troops) see their medals shrink when combined with army size - because these countries generally have a bigger pool of potential Paralympians to choose from than smaller rivals.
As with our Alternative Olympics interactive medals table, you can also view the table through country groups - how are the countries with female leaders faring? Are the nations which topped the Olympic table dominating again? What's happening with nations classed as "oppressed" or to countries the Foreign Office lists as a "danger zone"?
Life expectancy (UNHDR)
Happiness Index (Happy Planet 2012)
Size of military (World Bank Data Bank)
- London 2012 Paralympic Games Channel 4