Cascade/waterfall chart of growth in events between 1980 and 2018 Winter Olympics

Winter Olympic Event Growth

There are over 2.5 times as many events in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games as in the 1980 Lake Placid Games. This stacked cascade/waterfall chart shows the new sports added and the new events added to existing sports that led to the growth from 38 events in 1980 to 102 in 2018.  The sports are divided into three broad categories--snow, ice and sliding.

The largest growth was in snow sports with two new sports--freestyle skiing and snowboard--each adding 10 medal events.  Biathlon, alpine and cross-country added 8, 5, and 5 medal events respectively.  Ski jumping and Nordic combined added two events each.  In total, 42 snow events were added, increasing the total from 19 at Lake Placid to 61 at Pyeongchang.

Ice sports added two new events.  Short track skating with 8 events and curling with 3.  Five new events were added to speed skating.  Figure skating and ice hockey added one event each.Ice sports went from 14 medal events in 1980 to 32 in 2018.

The sliding sports added only 4 events.  Skeleton was introduced with 2 events.  Luge and bobsleigh each added a single event.  There are 9 sliding events in 2018, which is up from 5 in 1980.

Stacked Cascade/Waterfall Chart with Bar Comparison Line

Cascade/waterfall chart of growth in events between 1980 and 2018 Winter Olympics

How I Created The Stacked Cascade Chart

The cascade/waterfall chart shows why a change occured in one key measure between two (or sometimes more) time periods.  I was surprised at how many more events are in the Olympics now relative to when I watched the Olympics in the past.  I knew that some new sports, like snowboard, have been introduced and others have added events (e.g., women's ice hockey) since the Lake Placid Games.  Another chart on the Olympics broke the medal sports into categories--snow, ice and sliding.  Splitting events into categories and into those existing in 1980 and added since gives a fuller picture of what caused the growth.  The bar comparison line reinforces the magnitude of the growth.

To create the chart, I took the following steps:

  • found data on medal events in 1980 and 2018 in Wikipedia and copied them into Excel, grouped into snow, ice and sliding categories
  • used formulas to show events added in each sport
  • organized the data in the Mekko Graphics Data Editor into 5 columns that correspond to the bars above and into rows for snow, ice and sliding sports (used in the first and last columns) and all winter sports (e.g., freestyle skiing, snowboard) for the middle three columns
  • made the last bar a total cascade bar
  • used Format Bars and Series to color each series,using grey scale for series in first and last bar, blue for new sports and green for expanded sports
  • added the legend, hid all but one new and expanded sport, and edited the legend labels
  • hid axes
  • added x axis title
  • added bar comparison line and edited its label to show 2.68x growth

Take This Chart and Make It Your Own

Download this chart and edit it using Mekko Graphics. To learn more about cascade/watefall charts, visit All About Cascade Charts on our website or see these examples from our Chart Gallery.  Here are some other posts that may interest you:

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Olympic Medals by Country