Posted by: | August 19, 2008

Beijing Olympics-Medal Counts

Medal counts of Beijing Olympics Game-2008 is led by the United States team with 72 medals followed by Chinese and Great Britain teams with 67 and 27 medals, respectively, among 205 participant countries. If the medal numbers are quoted for the population of the participant countries, Mongolia leads the Beijing Olympics -2008 with 1.15 index (medals) per million people and the quality is amazingly higher than the countries who are leading on the Olympic roster. In this way of assessment shows China and USA with 0.052 and 0.24 medals per million people, respectively.



  1. Not sure that’s a very practical or meaningful way to score – clearly, the size of China shouldn’t be held against it’s total dominance of certain programs, like gymnastics. This is more about training, technique, funding and commitment. Besides, once you cross a population threshold, which is arguably well under all of the participating nations, you likely have a statistically even chance of producing capable athletes (maybe not as many).

    A couple alternatives easily resonate with viewers. One, a relative ranking total, e.g. 3 pts for gold, 2 for silver, one for bronze. That metric had the US in the lead until last week, when China passed it by using this metric. This model has to do with relative degrees of “best” as well as totals. A hybrid/weighted metric.

    Another is total medals won. The logic here is simple – it’s not about discerning gold from silver from bronze, i.e. degrees of best, but the total number “best” awards.

    The criticism here might be, it treats all results as equal, without regard for a concept of scale or perfection. It does not punish “mediocrity” – 10 gold is equal to 10 bronze. Case in point, a country with, say, 10 gold, proves itself to be the best at 10 separate competition events within one or two categories yet another country may have won those 10 bronze across 10 categories. Is it more important to medal across as many sports categories as possible or concentrate as many gold wherever you can get them, possibly in only two or three categories? In this metric, it doesn’t matter, max medals wins.

    Perhaps a metric that takes into consideration medal count, number of distinct sporting categories won, and type of medal (gold, silver, bronze) would be a better baseline. China has done a remarkable job obviously, and have won gold in perhaps a surprisingly broad cross section of categories, but compare to the US, is it enough?


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