Sunday, February 23, 2014

Who Really Won the Winter Olympics?


At the end of the 2012 Summer Olympics, I declared Great Britain the overall winner based on a system that combined the nations' medal points, population, and GDP. Now that the 2014 Sochi games are in the books, let's do the same.

There were 26 countries that secured at least one medal during the past two weeks. Russia finished on top with 13 gold, 11 silver, and 9 bronze medals. Again using a 5-2-1 point system for gold-silver-bronze, this gives them 96 medal points. However, with 143.7 million people living there, they only get 0.67 medal points per million people (MPMP), 14th on the list. A GDP per capita of $17,518 means that each medal point costs $182, which is also the best among all nations. Add up 1+14+1 and divide by 3 to get 5.33 as Russia's overall ranking. This puts them 4th overall. So who won?

Norway! Their 11-5-10 medal count gives them 75 medal points, tied with Canada's 10-10-5 and good for second in this category. But Norway's population is just 5.1 million, so there MPMP is an astounding 14.71, nearly double second best Slovenia (8.73 coming from 18 medal points for 2.1 million people). Norway does have the highest GDP per capita at $54,397 so each medal point cost $725, 7th overall. Add 2+1+7 and divide by 3 to get 3.33, the best overall average. Not surprisingly, all but one of Norway's 26 medals were obtained in skiing events.

Canada comes in second, followed by the Netherlands. They are actually tied in average ranking, so Canada gets the nod based on a better medal showing. The USA comes in 10th, hurt by their large population and high number of bronze medals. Here is the complete table:


Country       G     S     B     MP   Rank   Population  MPMP   Rank GDP/cap  GDP/MP   Rank   Avg Rank
Norway       11     5    10     75     2         5.1   14.71     1   54397    725.3     7       3.33
Canada       10    10     5     75     2        35.3    2.12    10   42317    564.2     3       5.00
Netherlands   8     7     9     63     5        16.8    3.74     5   41527    659.2     5       5.00
Russia       13    11     9     96     1       143.7    0.67    14   17518    182.5     1       5.33
Austria       4     8     5     41     7         8.5    4.82     3   41908   1022.1    11       7.00
Belarus       5     0     1     26    11         9.5    2.75     8   15479    595.3     4       7.67
Switzerland   6     3     2     38     8         8.1    4.68     4   44864   1180.6    12       8.00
Germany       8     6     5     57     6        80.6    0.71    13   38666    678.4     6       8.33
Sweden        2     7     6     30    10         9.6    3.11     6   40304   1343.5    14      10.00
USA           9     7    12     71     4       317.6    0.22    19   51704    728.2     8      10.33
France        4     4     7     35     9        65.8    0.53    16   35295   1008.4    10      11.67
Slovenia      2     2     4     18    16         2.1    8.73     2   27837   1546.5    17      11.67
Poland        4     1     1     23    13        38.5    0.60    15   20562    894.0     9      12.33
China         3     4     2     25    12      1360.7    0.02    26    9055    362.2     2      13.33
Czech Rep.    2     4     2     20    15        10.5    1.90    11   27000   1350.0    15      13.67
Finland       1     3     1     12    18         5.5    2.20     9   35771   2980.9    19      15.33
South Korea   3     3     2     23    13        50.2    0.46    18   31950   1389.1    16      15.67
Latvia        0     2     2      6    21         2.0    2.99     7   18058   3009.7    21      16.33
Ukraine       1     0     1      6    21        45.4    0.13    23    7295   1215.8    13      19.00
Slovakia      1     0     0      5    23         5.4    0.92    12   24142   4828.4    23      19.33
Japan         1     4     3     16    17       127.2    0.13    24   35855   2240.9    18      19.67
Italy         0     2     6     10    19        59.9    0.17    21   29812   2981.2    20      20.00
Great Britain 1     1     2      9    20        63.7    0.14    22   36569   4063.2    22      21.33
Australia     0     2     1      5    23        23.4    0.21    20   41954   8390.8    24      22.33
Croatia       0     1     0      2    25         4.3    0.47    17   17618   8809.0    25      22.33
Kazakhstan    0     0     1      1    26        17.2    0.06    25   13526  13526.0    26      25.67

The Winter Olympics don't have nearly as much variety as the summer games in terms of participating nations, so this isn't that interesting. Don't take it too seriously either,  it's just a way of looking at the results a bit differently. I prefer this to a simple medal count, which NBC has been using as it leaves the USA in second place overall.  You can play with the numbers yourself, changing the medal point system as you wish, but it will be hard to argue that any nation had a better Olympics than Norway.

Best,

Sean

No comments:

Post a Comment