delirium happy

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A better medals table
delirium happy
rho
The olympic medals table has a tendancy to annoy me for several reasons. Firstly, they work on the assumption that one gold is better than an infinite nuber of silver medals, and likewise that a single silver is better than an infinite number of bronze. I don't like that. Secondly, they don't take into account the size of the country. A gold medal for the Bahamas is much more special than a gold for China.

Seeing as I'm still unable to accomplish anything productive, I decided to produce my own version of the table to fix these problems. I gave each country a score whereby a gold medal was worth 4, a silver worth 2 and a bronze worth 1, and then divided this by the country's population in millions for a final score, resulting in the following list:

RankCountryScore
1Bahamas16.8
2Australia5.8
3Cuba5.4
4Hungary4.7
5Norway4.6
6Jamaica4.4
7New Zealand4
8Greece3.7
9Latvia3.4
10Estonia2.8
11Denmark2.6
12Netherlands2.6
13Slovenia2.6
14Belarus2.6
15Slovakia2.5
16Bulgaria2.5
17Georgia2.4
18Lithuania2.2
19Croatia2.2
20Sweden2.2
21Romania2.1
22Austria2.0
23United Arab Emirates1.6
24South Korea1.4
25Russia1.3
26Czech Republic1.3
27Germany1.2
28Italy1.2
29France1.2
30Switzerland1.2
31Ukraine1.1
32United Kingdom1.1
33Azerbaijan1.0
34Ireland1.0
35Spain0.9
36Trinidad and Tobago0.9
37Kazakhstan0.8
38United States0.8
39Canada0.8
40Israel0.8
41Finland0.7
42Japan0.7
43Belgium0.5
44Taiwan0.5
45Chile0.5
46Zimbabwe0.5
47Poland0.5
48Portugal0.4
49Uzbekistan0.4
50Dominican Republic0.4
51Kenya0.4
52North Korea0.4
53Serbia and Montenegro0.3
54Mongolia0.3
55Paraguay0.3
56Turkey0.3
57Morocco0.3
58Argentina0.3
59Thailand0.2
60South Africa0.2
61Hong Kong0.2
62Cameroon0.2
63Ethiopia0.2
64Eritrea0.2
65Iran0.2
66Brazil0.1
67China0.1
68Egypt0.1
69Venezuela0.0
70Mexico0.0
71Syrian Arab Republic0.0
72Indonesia0.0
73Colombia0.0
74Nigeria0.0
75India0.0


I've only given the scores to one decimal place, because I didn't enter the populations to large or unifrom precission and because I was too lazy to figure out how to get excel to output to a given numbe of significant figures, or to write a more complicated regexp to do so. Hence the 0.0s and the 4 and other such things.

Sources:
BBC Sport's Olympic Medals Table
Wikipedia's list of countries by population.

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I'd probably have factored GDP in there, as that will give a rough indication of the percentage of the population with the time and opportunity to become good at sport. Not to mention that at least for some sports the availability of advanced equipment, fitness and training techniques is going to make a difference, but exactly how would be anyone's guess.

Interesting idea tho, and good to see the merkins put in there place ;)

Right. If I was trying to be more sophisticated, I'd probably have included that, and probably also do something non-linear with the total from the medals to account for the fact that a lot of the events only allowed a limited number of competitors from each country, which restricts the potential slightly for highly populous countries.

And so on and so forth. The thing is though, while I was bored, I wasn't that bored. Increased sophistication can wait for the day when I'm really, really spectacularly bored.

<nod>

Boredom is the mother of all pointless statistics, or something.

The Bahamas has been leading for at least the past two Summer Olympics, which of course makes me quite proud. (My mother's a Bahamian immigrant, and yes, we're anal about putting "the" ahead of "Bahamas".)

Also, from what I understand, the Olympic organization itself doesn't actually tally them by country, though they do offer the stats on their website. They go by each individual athlete, and then the press makes the big deal out of the totals by country. That's why announcers always give "unofficial" stats on how many medals each country has won over the years, since the Olympic organizers avoid it.

I just took the country names as they were written on the BBC's version of the table. There were a few countries where I raised an eyebrow slightly at the exact version of the names used, but I decided that I wouldn't change them, as I don't know enough about most countries to know what the "correct" name should be, and I also know that I'd be bound to miss at least one, so overall it was better to be consistantly bad. the one exception, was that I changed "Great Britain" to "United Kingdom" because that had been bugging me all throughout the games.

...I changed "Great Britain" to "United Kingdom" because that had been bugging me all throughout the games.

That drives me nuts whenever it's used, during the Olympics or otherwise. ("British Isles" is also good for ticking me off.)

What bothers me most about it, among other things, is that the U.K. Olympic Committee actually chooses to use that name, as opposed to the Olympic organization assigning it to them. Not surprising to me, but it bothers me nonetheless. North and South Korea can enter the games together holding the Olympic flag, but the U.K. can't give Northern Ireland some recognition for once and use its proper name. (Of course, all the Catholic athletes from Northern Ireland just hop over the border and go with the Republic, anyway, but still.)

It's interesting to see the BBC calls it "Taiwan". NBC, the network covering the Olympics here, has been annoyingly PC by constantly referring to it as "Chinese Taipei", leaving most people wondering which country that is that they haven't heard of before. A bit interesting that they're being so cautious with that one, yet one of their commentators mocked the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" on-air and said it's "nothing but a big lie". Fun. In other words: criticize North Korea, but don't even think of ticking off China. Yay, free press!

Actually I think it's to do with the Northern Ireland people taking execption to the name of "United Kingdom" or something, but then again, the Scots would take exception to the name of "Great Britain" and the Welsh would take exception to "Britain"... But yeah I've had made a few comments "Why Great Britain? Why not United Kingdom?" and a fair few people pointed out the Irish wouldn't like it... or something. *shrugs*. All politics. Same goes for "Taiwan" and "Chinese Taipei". Like the parent poster mentioned, its acutally up to the invidiual athlete not the country.

Great Britain only includes England, Scotland and Wales.

The United Kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Although to make it even more complicated, the official name of the country is "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".

That's my whole point - the Scots would take exception to "Great Britain" as they're part of it, and they don't like it. Ditto for Welsh and Britain as "Britain" means England and Wales only. And yes I do already know about UK including GB and NI ;) Like I said, what you said, reinforces what I said.

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