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News from the world of maths:

Thursday, August 07, 2008

After every Olympics, there is speculation about which country performed best. Should we really be surprised when China, with its huge population, and the US, with its combination of high GDP and population, top the medal table? Can we take a look at the medal tables and see which countries did indeed perform better than expected?

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posted by westius @ 10:29 AM


At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about factoring the availability of drugs into the model?

At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Will said...

The model provided by the fancy pants bureau thingy is stupid.

it has A(Log[X])+B(Log[Y/X]), which is the same as A(Log[X])+B(Log[Y])-B(Log[X]), which is the same as (A-B)(Log[X])+B(Log[Y), and as A and B are just constants, A-B can be anything. say C. They've added in a completely unneccesary element.

At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Martin Collett said...

There's a simple comparison of the 2008 Beijing medals results scaled by GDP, population, etc at

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post. This article in the Wall Street Journal has some good history on medal tables.

At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

check out this widget that gives an interactive interface for analyzing medals per GDP, population, etc.

Apparently created by a new online data modelling tool - - which I have not had time to test tey.

At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting read here:

Analysis of UK funding of sports and it's effect on medals

At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then why does India do so badly at the games?

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Mike said...

WELL statistics and dam statistics. The problem is your raw data is wrong and as with all statistics the way you look at is partial. Is there a relation between GDP and medals, should there be? Difficult to say, I would have thought it is about social structure and expectations as well. GB did well in various areas because there was an expectation, resources and talent coming together and it did badly in others because one or more of these was missing.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger westius said...

Mike, if our data is wrong, you should let us know in which areas it is and we can fix it. Some of the data points may have changed, but they were correct at the time of writing.

At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, what are the predictions for 2012? What are the variables to consider?



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