Monday, August 6, 2012

Rejigging The Olympics Medal Tally

Commonly, the Olympics medal tally for countries is ordered in terms of number of gold medals won. Under this system, countries that have won a lot of medals but only a small proportion of them are gold are disadvantaged (in the current Olympics this includes the Russian Federation, Japan, Germany and Australia). On the other, countries could be ranked by number of medals won, but this treats all medals as being of equal value.

So how about this system - what if 3 points were awarded for a gold medal, 2 for a silver medal, and 1 point for a bronze medal? Under this system, the top 10 for the current 2012 Olympics medal tally would look like this:

This order seems more reflective of who the historically strong sports nations are. Over the long run, one would expect the proportions of medals of each colour won by each country to even out, so that the all-time table under this system would have a similar order to the all-time table ordered by gold medals won. Here are the top 12:

China drops a few places under the adjusted system, but other than that it's pretty close.

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