Assuming I convinced you that you should pay attention to Informatics Olympiads, here is your practical guide to how to interpret results from the various olympiads out there...
In the sports Olympiad, there are dozens of competitions (gymnastics, lifting, running etc etc), and 3 medals per competition. In science olympiads, there is one competition with more medals. Specifically:
- the top 1/12 of the competitors get gold
- the next 2/12 silver
- the next 3/12 bronze
- the bottom 6/12 gets nothing (and their names are not public)
Competitor profiles generally fall in two different categories:
- Students from very competitive countries (the big Eastern European countries, USA, China, Russia etc) generally have few, but "good" medals. In these countries, the competition to qualify for the IOI is fierce. Simply making it to the top 4 is much more difficult that doing well at the IOI (for reference, 80% of Romanians who qualified got silver or gold). There are many brilliant students who never qualify, and most students qualify only in senior year (after 4 years of training), thus getting a single shot at a medal.
- People from less competitive countries have more, but usually weaker medals. It is not unusual for the best students from those countries to qualify each year of high school. On the other hand, at the IOI they are fighting an up-hill battle, as they don't have access to the top-notch preparation and months-long training camps that the competitive countries provide.