Let's take an example: Formula 1 2005 - USA.
On the starting grid, six cars - it was a shame, and nobody could say anything serious about the race. Our TV commentators just laughed and said after three laps, "we will not comment that race, it's to senseless".
So every medal has it's own story, worth and price. But to start analyzing it, that would be impossible. Is a 2nd place with 20 competitors more worth than a victory with only 6 pipsqueaks? We can't really tell.
But what we can do is - if two pipsqueaks have the same number of gold medals, let's say 1, then both 3 silver and 2 bronze (so an equal points at the medal table), the pipsqueak with a gold medal who won in a race with more competitors should be better placed that a pipsqueak who won his gold in a race with 4 pipsqueaks.