Ah the Olympics – a time to watch sports you never care about until it’s your country against the world.  There are plenty of places around the web to track the competition, but I thought there could be a better way of displaying such interesting data.  So I created a very quick and dirty Power BI application.  You can view it here – Power BI Application with live Rio 2016 data

Power BI Desktop is a free application that you can use to visualize all sorts of data.  Using Power BI to gather data from the web (as I’ve done for the Olympics) is remarkably simple.  In this post I’ll show you how to begin making your own Rio 2016 application.

First thing’s first, if you do not have Power BI Desktop, you can grab it for free here.  There are tons of things you can do with Power BI and I’m just going to touch on a few in this post.

Power BI has a really easy web data interface.  I got my Rio data from a variety of internet sources .  The tricky part is navigating to the page(s) where the data you need resides in a table.  For example, my overall medal count comes from here:  http://www.cbssports.com/olympics/news/2016-rio-olympics-medal-tracker/ You can see when you navigate to the url that there is a large table that displays each countries medal count – perfect for what we need.  To move this data from the web into our application we need to “Get Data”.  In Power BI Desktop, click the Get Data button in the top toolbar.  Find and click “Web” .


From there you will be prompted for a URL.


Insert the URL from above and you should see a dialog prompting you to select the tables that you want. Select Table 0

Retrieving data from the web


Click the load button and the data from that website will be pulled into your application.  You can use this table to make some basic graphs that display medal counts by country, or even plot the countries on a map.  To create a simple bar chart choose the visualization in the top left hand corner of the Visualizations box.  Then drag the Country field from the Fields area into the axis box then Gold,Silver and Bronze into the Value area.  Boom!  Now you have cool bar chart that displays the medal count.



The best part is all you need to do is click the refresh button in Power BI and the medal count will be updated with the most recent data from the web.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.  If you or your business is in need of professional BI consulting/products please get in touch with my employer:  http://www.bluemargin.com/