"World Affairs" Category

The Impact of One Athlete Pt. 2

2010 Oct 08   category: World Affairs   author:  

On Day 4 of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Peter Yukio, of the tiny island nation of Nauru, gave that nation an unbeatable lead in our GDP Adjusted Medals Ranking with his gold medal win in the 77kg men’s weightlifting competition. In fact Nauru’s lead was originally so unassailable that it caused us to rethink the way we adjust medals value by GDP in our ranking. In the revised ranking Nauru is still firmly and probably unbeatably in the lead but they wouldn’t be had that medal been bronze. We’re comfortable with the revised ranking because Nauru is such small nation that even a single gold for them is a remarkable achievement.

In fact it had already become apparent that simply dividing a nation’s medals value by their GDP was giving too much advantage to very small nations in our ranking. The dynamic can be rationalized as follows. Assuming for the moment that GDP per head is the same for all nations then we would not necessarily expect that 10 times the population would result in 10 times the medal haul in a competition like this. Typically a nation can only enter 3 athletes for any event and this is likely to limit the number of people from any given nation who strive to compete at this level no matter how large that nation is. So dividing medals value by anything proportional to population (or GDP) would likely handicap larger nations too much.

The challenge then was to find an alternative adjustment that had a less dramatic effect than merely dividing by GDP. In the end we settled for dividing by a ‘GDP factor’ that is proportional to the square root of GDP. The main justification for this is that it is still relatively straightforward and it also yields a pleasingly competitive ranking based on results so far. It is also defensible on the basis that population/GDP does confer an advantage but in a way that tends to diminish as these factors increase. Anyway, you can judge the revised GDP Adjusted Medals Ranking for yourselves and let us know what you think. We see some very close competition between nations that would otherwise rank far apart in a traditional medals table and that fulfills our orginal objective in establishing the GDP adjusted ranking.

The Impact of One Athlete Pt. 1

2010 Oct 07   category: World Affairs   author:  

How much impact can an individual athlete have at a multi-national sports competition? The answer is considerable if you follow our 2010 Commonwealth Games GDP Adjusted Medals Ranking. After factoring in late results from day 3 of the event, the top spot in our ranking was seized by Uganda and it was all down to Moses Ndiema Kipsiro who won the men’s 5000m event.

The GDP adjustment in our ranking attempts to create a more equitable comparison between all the competing nations. One consequence of this is that individual athletes from smaller nations can have a much greater impact. Nevertheless we feel that in the case of Moses Kipsiro such recognition is fully deserved. The guy was leading at the bell (after 4,600m) and still held off three strong Kenyans at a sprint for the entire final 400m – awesome. So Moses Kipsiro deserves special congratulations and of course all the athletes competing at these games deserve our support and admiration.

GDP Adjusted Medals Ranking for the 2010 Commonwealth Games

2010 Oct 06   category: World Affairs   author:  

A quarter of the world’s population potentially has an interest in the 2010 Commonwealth Games currently being held in Delhi. 71 ‘nations’ (including sub-nations) are being represented in this multi-national sporting competition, which occurs every four years. These nations range from the immense, India with a population of 1.18 million, to the tiny, Tuvalu with a population of just 12,000. The larger and the more affluent nations will be expected to win most of the medals but we wondered if it would be possible to compare the performance of such disparate nations on anything like an equitable basis.

After some thought and experimentation we have settled on a ranking based on a ‘Medals Value’ which is divided by the GDP of the nation. Our Medals Value deems each medal to be worth slightly more than twice that of the one below it (12pts for a gold, 5pts for a silver and 2pts for a bronze) while the GDP adjustment takes account of both the population and affluence of a nation. The resulting GDP Adjusted Medals Ranking for the 2010 Commonwealth Games will be updated at the end of each day of competition.

We like to think this ranking methodology gives any nation the chance to finish top. In fact we think it might actually favor smaller nations if by chance they happen to be fielding a few exception athletes this year. Indeed, this could be the Isle of Man’s year if Mark Cavendish wins a cycling gold. No matter which nation you are rooting for, have a little fun by tracking their position in our GDP Adjusted Medals Ranking.

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