Like many of you, I’m a big fan of the Olympics. I spend hours every day watching sports that I would normally never waste a minute of my life following. I get worked up about the U.S. losing to another country in an event like air rifle shooting. Seriously, that’s a real event…I watched it on television yesterday.
I also follow the medal counts. While there isn’t a country that officially wins the Olympics, I like to think the U.S. is out front when it comes to medals. The problem is that I don’t agree with the two most popular methods of determining country ranking for medals. One is to rank countries by the number of gold medals. This completely ignores the silver and bronze medals, and we have seen that these can be a matter of only a hundredth of a second different. The other popular method is to count total medals. I don’t like this either because a country with a bunch of bronze medals can beat a country with slightly fewer medals, but many more gold and silver medals.
So I used another method in my medal count. I decided to weight each medal to give gold medals more importance, but not ignore silver and bronze. Before I developed my chart, I wanted to determine how to weight the medals. I read articles that discussed weighting based on everything from the actual weight of the medals to the natural occurrence of the medals in nature. Now I realize that I’m sitting here writing a blog on medal weighting, but I don’t think that I’m even that bored. So I chose a simple weighting method. I decided a gold medal would be worth 3 points, a silver 2 points, and a bronze 1 point. This makes it simple and effective.
First, I applied my weightings to the 2008 Olympics because the U.S. won the medal count, but lost the gold medal count. Here are the results:
Unfortunately the U.S. lost using this method…by one gold medal.
Next I applied the weighting to the current standings in London:
So this is how I’m tracking the Olympics. I’ll try to update these counts every night for those of you who would are bored and oddly obsessed like me.
Update 8/4/12 (mid-day):
I’ve decided to focus on the U.S. and China since everyone else is so far behind in medal counts. If anyone else makes an amazing comeback I’ll put them back in the counts.
I know…I’ve been slacking. Here’s the latest medal counts. (Keep reading)
I came across a new concept. A guy I work with is always saying he doesn’t even bother watching sports that use judges to score athletes. A blog called Fourth Place Medal feels the same. They use what they call a “Real Medal Count” that excludes judged activities. It’s not a bad theory. I’ve often questioned the fairness and impartiality of judged sports in the Olympics. I don’t care what these judges say, they are biased. Here is the count that Fourth Place Medal did:
Coming down the last straightaway…it’s the U.S. with a commanding lead no matter how you look at medal counts!
Final Medal Counts – While there is no official winning country in the Olympics, many people judge the medals to determine an unofficial winning country. No matter what method you choose to count, the United States must be considered the Olympic Champion in 2012. Our athletes are bringing home the most medals, the most gold, and the most silver. Only one country has more bronze medals than the U.S. By my simple weighting system, the United States finished 34 points ahead of the second place team, China. Congratulations to all of the athletes that participated in the London Olympic Games. Special congratulations and thank you to the U.S. athletes for making us so proud.