August 21, 2008

Olympics

I’m not interested in the Olympics at all – never gotten into it. I do like tables of numbers however! It struck me that everyone was going on about Britain doing well – which I neither deny, or want to detract from. What I was vaguely interested was in, was who was doing well in comparison to their population.

The following table scores countries performance by 3 points for Gold, 2 points for Silver and 1 for Bronze – which is entirely arbitrary, but I felt a better approach than the listings for official tables (Ordered by number of Gold Medals). if there is a scoring system somewhere, I’d love to know about it. These numbers are probably already out of date, since they use the figures from mid afternoon today, before I fell asleep. The population figures are taken from Wikipedia, and are all the most recent normative figures/estimates – rather than relying on aged, albeit positive, figures (eg a census).

i haven’t bothered formatting it particularly well, since as I say its already out of date. But I thought it might be interesting to someone else anyway. I’ll most likely try to write a complete version, once the olympics are actually finished, with more sanitized presentation. Ideally I’d like to be able to get better population figures, but that sounds like actual effort. A comparison with past events would also make excellent future work.

Score/Pop Country Gold Silver Brz Total Population Score
1.04166666666667E-05 Malaysia 0 1 0 1 192000 2
6.63227708179808E-06 Jamaica 4 3 0 7 2714000 18
4.43568260226713E-06 Slovenia 1 2 2 5 2029000 9
3.94649603771798E-06 Bahrain 1 0 0 1 760168 3
3.74286516328249E-06 New Zealand 3 1 5 9 4274800 16
3.72967328062062E-06 Estonia 1 1 0 2 1340600 5
3.2718981482412E-06 Australia 11 12 13 36 21394309 70
2.0639834881321E-06 Belarus 2 3 8 13 9690000 20
2.03617995610366E-06 Slovakia 3 1 0 4 5402273 11
2.003999983968E-06 Denmark 2 1 3 6 5489022 11
1.90186382655002E-06 Mongolia 1 1 0 2 2629000 5
1.88343622475672E-06 Norway 1 2 2 5 4778500 9
1.86368477103301E-06 Cuba 1 6 6 13 11268000 21
1.82025028441411E-06 Georgia 2 0 2 4 4395000 8
1.6655562958028E-06 Armenia 0 0 5 5 3002000 5
1.58102766798419E-06 Netherlands 4 5 4 13 16445000 26
1.50037509377344E-06 Trinidad & Tob 0 1 0 1 1333000 2
1.30390362336661E-06 Great Britain 16 10 11 37 60587300 79
1.19008657879861E-06 Lithuania 0 1 2 3 3361100 4
1.17842693098346E-06 Switzerland 2 0 3 5 7637300 9
1.15349832973442E-06 Czech Republic 2 3 0 5 10403136 12
1.12822142473682E-06 Finland 1 1 1 3 5318105 6
1.06295027754813E-06 Azerbaijan 1 2 2 5 8467000 9
1.04708780014445E-06 Bulgaria 1 1 3 5 7640238 8
1.03682813536828E-06 South Korea 8 10 6 24 48224000 50
8.97397547113371E-07 Panama 1 0 0 1 3343000 3
8.96146569750075E-07 Hungary 0 4 1 5 10043000 9
8.42951627545065E-07 Kazakhstan 1 3 4 8 15422000 13
7.9298442018845E-07 Romania 4 1 3 8 21438000 17
7.75516750076078E-07 France 4 12 14 30 64473140 50
7.16467590718801E-07 Ukraine 5 5 8 18 46059306 33
7.05673370563687E-07 Germany 11 8 9 28 82191000 58
6.89636561532073E-07 Canada 2 6 5 13 33350900 23
6.74207805828152E-07 Zimbabwe 1 3 0 4 13349000 9
6.58616904500549E-07 Croatia 0 1 1 2 4555000 3
6.54150695186072E-07 Italy 6 7 7 20 59619290 39
6.5111083306267E-07 Sweden 0 3 0 3 9215021 6
5.99060250660904E-07 Russia 13 14 18 45 141888900 85
5.64227948091029E-07 Kyrgyzstan 0 1 1 2 5317000 3
5.24746727712203E-07 USA 26 27 28 81 304909000 160
4.79563175494705E-07 Austria 0 1 2 3 8340924 4
4.7224303662557E-07 Poland 3 4 1 8 38115967 18
4.62379150903741E-07 DPR Korea 2 1 3 6 23790000 11
4.55897357966264E-07 Spain 3 5 2 10 46063000 21
4.40917107583774E-07 Latvia 0 0 1 1 2268000 1
4.35862790393584E-07 Singapore 0 1 0 1 4588600 2
4.26234748787895E-07 Kenya 2 4 2 8 37538000 16
3.58840943751682E-07 Greece 0 1 2 3 11147000 4
3.52416007518208E-07 Japan 8 6 9 23 127690000 45
3.04321363359708E-07 Serbia 0 1 1 2 9858000 3
2.9050062941803E-07 Tunisia 1 0 0 1 10327000 3
2.55735788396902E-07 Uzbekistan 0 2 3 5 27372000 7
2.04918032786885E-07 Dominican Rep 0 1 0 1 9760000 2
1.88270733314506E-07 Portugal 0 1 0 1 10623000 2
1.61733786187935E-07 Cameroon 1 0 0 1 18549000 3
1.51860288534548E-07 Togo 0 0 1 1 6585000 1
1.4991379956525E-07 Ecuador 0 1 0 1 13341000 2
1.48456057007126E-07 Tajikistan 0 0 1 1 6736000 1
1.38048715354864E-07 China 45 14 20 79 1325619000 183
1.36930028755306E-07 Israel 0 0 1 1 7303000 1
1.30434782608696E-07 Chinese Taipei 0 0 3 3 23000000 3
1.21617512921861E-07 Netherlands Antilles 0 1 0 1 16445000 2
1.19307040845362E-07 Chile 0 1 0 1 16763470 2
1.1333651128911E-07 Turkey 1 2 1 4 70586256 8
1.00983325128438E-07 Ethiopia 2 1 0 3 79221000 8
9.92508373110794E-08 Argentina 1 0 1 2 40301927 4
8.86053517632465E-08 Algeria 0 1 1 2 33858000 3
7.93169264367393E-08 Thailand 1 1 0 2 63038247 5
6.73959053393058E-08 Colombia 0 1 1 2 44513090 3
4.266621156041E-08 Brazil 1 0 5 6 187502000 8
4.17966717310301E-08 South Africa 0 1 0 1 47850700 2
3.74944344198908E-08 Mexico 1 0 1 2 106682500 4
3.68391969055075E-08 Afghanistan 0 0 1 1 27145000 1
3.5773438372257E-08 Venezuela 0 0 1 1 27953701 1
3.45382878507255E-08 Indonesia 1 1 3 5 231627000 8
3.20266461696131E-08 Morocco 0 0 1 1 31224000 1
2.28898426323319E-08 Vietnam 0 1 0 1 87375000 2
1.41852458633624E-08 Iran 0 0 1 1 70495782 1
1.3295043607743E-08 Egypt 0 0 1 1 75216000 1
3.5182811648466E-09 India 1 0 1 2 1136918800 4


- 17 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Sue

    A boys telephone number is 741-5963. He is able to remember it by thinking of just one letter. Which letter?

    21 Aug 2008, 07:29

  2. Mathew Mannion

    They used to do 5 for gold, 3 for silver and 1 for bronze (I have no idea what in… quite possibly the official video game for the Lillehammer Winter Olympics) but I’d say that’s probably a better scoring system since it rewards going for the win, rather than settling for a medal and not risking anything.

    What are the scores if you take that? (By the by, a newspaper did exactly this a few days ago, although not with the score/pop values)

    21 Aug 2008, 08:52

  3. Thought it was 5 for silver, 6 for gold?

    Seriously though, add three more zeroes to Malaysia’s population.

    Numbers are fun. Although I do think the Netherlands should be higher than Cuba (16m vs 11m and 4 gold (now 5, hurrah!) against 1). So maybe don’t divide by total population. Can’t think of a better solution though. Maybe we should just win more medals.

    21 Aug 2008, 16:16

  4. Matt: I’ll try using your scoring system when I calculate final tables, there doesn’t seem to be much point before then.

    Thorwald: I’m aware of the Malaysia error, and I’ll probably correct for final tables.

    21 Aug 2008, 16:36

  5. Mathew Mannion

    I’ve had a go at a table myself with 5 for a gold, 3 for a silver and 1 for a bronze:

    http://go.warwick.ac.uk/matmannion/sandbox/olympics

    (Yay for Sortable tables and zebra striping!)

    As expected with the rack of sprinting golds, Jamaica leads by a country mile. We’re in 20th

    21 Aug 2008, 16:54

  6. Sue

    I’m haven’t seem much of the olympics, I can’t seem to get into it like lots of people are. But I must say that last night when I was watching the interviews I was quite mesmerised by how stunning one of the athletes was to look at. Her name was Tash (I can’t remember her surname) but I thought she had such a beautiful face that I ended up watching her the whole time she was on the screen. I think she’d just won a bronze medal.

    21 Aug 2008, 17:56

  7. A boys telephone number is 741-5963. He is able to remember it by thinking of just one letter. Which letter?

    I don’t know!

    21 Aug 2008, 20:12

  8. Sue

    N. It’s not very good really, it’s related to the key pad on a telephone. There are better ones but they’ve got diagrams which I can’t do here.

    21 Aug 2008, 23:09

  9. Sue

    This one’s a Duel a Trois:-

    Three men Alf, Bert and Con decide to fight an unusual duel. They will stand at the corners of an equilateral triangle and take it in turns to shoot. When it is a mans turn he can take one shot at whomever he wants. They will keep taking turns until only one man survives. Now it is known that Alf is the best shot and hits his target 90% of the time, Bert is the second best and hits 75% of the time. Con hits his target only 50% of the time. Lots are drwn and it is decided that Con will shoot first and Bert second (if he has survived). Who should Con aim atand who has the best chance of winning?

    21 Aug 2008, 23:40

  10. Mathew Mannion

    Con should aim at the sky, in the hope that it will convince Bert to shoot at Alf (and vice-versa if Bert misses). There is a very good chance that there’ll then only be one of them left, and Con will have a 50/50 chance to win.

    22 Aug 2008, 09:20

  11. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7576446.stm

    23 Aug 2008, 03:15

  12. Sue

    I like the journalism of Marina Hyde, this is an extract from a piece she wrote about the “handing over” ceremony which I thought was the best part of the Olympic games:-
    “London’s Olympiad began with the 10C’s chairman, Jacques Rogge, taking the flag from the mayor of Beijing and handing it to his opposite number, Boris Johnson. This was to symbolise that at least Londoners can vote, even if the choice is a bit duff.”
    I find her quite witty.

    25 Aug 2008, 21:52

  13. limo hire

    I agree, also thought that was an excellent ceremony.

    I’m sure our 2012 one will be even better.

    26 Aug 2008, 16:18

  14. Robert Jarvis

    I always liked those per capita medal tables as my spiritual home, as it were – New Zealand – usually fares well in them. But there are two other factors which Matthew Syed wrote about in the Times a few weeks ago: (i) medal inflation and (ii) cost of competing.

    As to (i) Phelps won 8 golds because there are so many similar events in swimming. Was he really 2.5 times better than Bolt? Greatest swimmer in history he may be, but 8 golds in swimming is like being a Zimbabwean zillionaire. If Bolt was able to run 100m, 125m, 150m, 175m and so on then no doubt he’d have eight golds in short order as well.

    As to (ii) the cost of competing in cycling runs to over a hundred grand for the equipment and about 2m for a velodrome. So too sailing and rowing. Thus virtually all of Africa is excluded from those sports, whereas they dominate many track events because the cost of competing runs (as it were) to a pair of shoes, and not even that if you’re Zola Budd.

    Britain worked this out a while ago, and poured money into those events accordingly; we have now seen the result.

    27 Aug 2008, 11:54

  15. Greatest swimmer in history he may be, but 8 golds in swimming is like being a Zimbabwean zillionaire.

    On the other hand, it looks easy because Phelps made it look easy. Didn’t he have to skip the ceremony for one race because he had to get ready for the next round? Usually, swimmers need time between races to wind down/warm up, but Phelps managed to do without. True, we’re all a bit tired with the excessive amount of media interest in this man, but it shouldn’t devaluate any of his medals. Would the medals be worth their value if they had been won by eight different individuals?

    28 Aug 2008, 00:38

  16. There is an economist somewhere who has done research into this based on population, national income and some other factors. Although I dont remember much about the conclusions in detail I think the basics of it was that USA and India were the main underperformers.

    06 Sep 2008, 18:30

  17. dave

    I think Phelps is part fish and part of a US experiment. lol

    11 Sep 2008, 08:59


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