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Olympic Medal Count--Stuntz

I'm not the biggest Olympic junkie around, but I've enjoyed watching, and following the Chinese and American medal counts. So far, everyone I've read uses one of two measures: who has the most gold, and who has the most total medals. Both measures are obviously unfair in opposite ways.

The solution is easy--give each country three points for a gold medal, two for a silver, and one point for a bronze. According to cnnsi.com (link: here) and my own arithmetic calculations, the two nations have nearly identical counts by that measure.

As of this writing, China has 49 golds, 19 silvers, and 28 bronzes.
(49 x 3) + (19 x 2) + 28 = 213

The U.S. has 33 golds, 37 silvers, and 36 bronzes.
(33 x 3) + (37 x 2) + 36 = 209

Very, very close. By this measure, the two nations were tied last night at 200 apiece.


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Comments ( 4 )

And just for fun, divide those numbers by the GDP to see which country is more "efficient" in producing better athletes, or divide them by the population to see which country is better at finding talents in people.
I don't have exact figures on them, but by the first measure, China would win, by the second measure, USA would win. But if we do this kind of calculations for every country who entered the Olympics, I predict that we will see a very different ranking for each country.

Again, just for fun!

This exact approach was suggested by Alan Jacobs (whose writing I think you would enjoy) at The American Scene.

http://theamericanscene.com/2008/08/22/medal-counting

They have a funny discussion in the comments about alternate ways of counting including by atomic weight.

The final count is:

China:
51 golds * 3 = 153
21 silvers * 2 = 42
28 bronze * 1 = 28
____
223

US:
36 golds * 3 = 108
38 silvers * 2 = 76
36 bronze * 1 = 36
____
220


So I have it China over US by 3 points.

source: http://en.beijing2008.cn/

A straight medal count isn’t necessarily the most fair:-)
I found this widget that displays who won the 2008 Olympics from different perspectives.
It displays medals won by total medal count and gold count.
In addition it can show medals won per million inhabitant and per million dollar GDP.

I think you might like it:-)
http://www.youcalc.com/apps/1219403616554

Its easy to put on your blog