Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lies, Damned Lies and (Olympic) Statistics

Just a little observation.

Every medal table I have ever seen in all my time following sport has been ranked with the number of golds being the primary ranking factor, with silvers and bronzes deciding ties. I checked some news site - British, German, Australian, Canadian - they all use the same system. I checked the official Olympics site - that uses that system too.

However, CNN (via Sports Illustrated) doesn't. It ranks the teams by aggregate medal count i.e. all of the medals added together with no weight given to golds or silvers. And guess what? That just sneaks the USA ahead of China in the medal table.

I had to laugh.


Fandomlife said...

That is very funny.

I have to say, if we stay third in the table that is an amazing thing - to beat everyone but the two (or one and an emergent one depending how you rate it) super powers is astounding.

I'm impressed. Hell, it's particularly impressive since 4th was the target for 2012.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but can the British mentality cope with the concept of us NOT sucking at sports.

I dunno.


Anonymous said...

We are 3rd at the moment.

We have yet to hit the major athletics events.


Vodkashok said...

Thats proper British guarded pessimism for you! Well done Andrew.

Actually, we have passed a number of the major athletics stuff - 100m, 1500m etc. Looking for a German or Aussie surge in the remaining events? Well, maybe. Whatever, we've still done ridiculously well.

To just add my normal snark to these things, I heard on the TV this morning that today we matched the Sport UK 'demand' for medals. To be fair, they use the American system of counting, so silvers and bronzes would have done. I assume, come 2012, only 100+ medals will do to cancel the public executions.... >grin<

Fandomlife said...

That's what I thought early on the weekend but:-

1. Even if we drop to 4, 5 or 6th it's still good and possibly above target.

2. We have passed a number of the track and field events as Neil has said.

3. The people likely to win track and field is pre-disposed to be people already above us or possible too far to below us to not make much of a difference.

We shall see.

Fandomlife said...

In fact, I believe the track and field finishes (or has finished due to timezones) today.

Not saying we'll be taken over, but I'm guessing a tumble to the bottom of the table isn't on the cards.

Vodkashok said...

For a stats geek like me, this is mana from heaven. For example, if Russia was still the USSR, they would be second in the medals table (using the everyone but America method)

Similarly I have discovered that certain jingoistic media in Australia have decided to start looking at medals in a per capita system so that they rise higher than Team GB in the table.

Comedy gold

Fandomlife said...

Funny. Even after the break-up Russia looks like they may pip us and knock us into 4th.

Still pretty good though

redben said...

Go Uzbekistan!