Well, the Olympics have come to an end in PyeongChang. The US got a respectable 23 medals, but nowhere near the prior record of 37 the US delegation hit in Vancouver. Norway dominated the Games, beating that record this year with 39 medals, and doing so with a delegation less than half the size of the US’.
There were 103 events in 15 sports. Three delegations participated in all sports – the US, South Korea, which as the host has some guaranteed qualifications, and the Olympic Athletes from Russia, which is actually pretty impressive, given that the delegation was much smaller than usual due to the IOC sanctions due to the doping scandal.
So, who really did the best? Well, no matter which way you slice it, Norway killed it. My standard Olympic Coefficient ranking takes a weighted medal count over opportunity (or potential medals – which is defined as not just events entered, but how many athletes are participating in each event. Two athletes in the Giant Slalom can win two medals. Four athletes can win three) with a bonus for delegations sending a large number of athletes and who participate in more sports.
Here we see that Norway tops the list, but right behind it is the Netherlands, who won 20 medals. In 28 events. With a potential of 58 total medals. That is a 34% conversion rate, which is incredible. A third of the time, when the Netherlands competed in an event, they won medals they had opportunity to win. But even more incredibly, they medaled in 71% of the events they participated in. Which is legit impressive. However, they only competed in four sports and won medals in two – and those two are Speed skating and Short track speed skating, which are for reasons unbeknownst to me, separate sports.
So, after I published my last post commenting on the Netherlands’ early progress, a few people objected to their rise up the standings when they clearly only competed in events they knew they were competitive in and didn’t compete in a broad diversity of sports, which should be rewarded. So, I reworked a new version of the calculation that added bonuses for medaling in more sports and also for winning medals across genders. When I did this, Norway is still clearly in the lead, but the Netherlands drops down a few spots – though doesn’t really go down all that far due to their insane efficiency – and Germany and Canada, who also won a good number of medals, but had larger delegations (and therefore more opportunity), but both participated in and won medals across many more disciplines, moved up a few spots. The US also got a small bump, having won medals in 11 sports.
As for the honorary winner of the Did Better Than They Got Credit For award (really gotta find a good name for that) is Hungary who comes in 25th on a standard medal table, but came in 15th in my ranking. They only won one medal out of a potential 22 (with 19 athletes) but it was a team gold medal in the 5000m men’s speed skating team relay and was the first ever Winter Games gold medal for Hungary, so props to them!
The US, Canada, Australia and Great Britain did relatively poorly in the differentials even though they won a fair number of medals, mostly due to their large delegations and high potential.
Here’s a view of straight efficiency. Even given the Netherlands’ incredible efficiency, Norway won so many medals with a relatively small delegation, that they still end up on top, though by a smaller margin:
So, happy Olympics everyone! I’ll leave you all for now with a bunch more charts and tables sans commentary. Enjoy, and see you in Tokyo! : )
Take a look at how the various delegations’ gender diversity. Overall, I’d say it was relatively good. There definitely is a slight bent toward male athletes and mens’ events, but not drastically. And since there are a few more Men’s events than Women’s (52 Men’s, 45 Women’s and 7 Mixed events), that’s probably close to representative.
Key takeaways here are that rich countries in North America and Europe dominate the Winter Games. Not really surprising, but demonstrably true. Though, I was pleased to see that Asia picked up 12% of the weighted medals this Games.
Summer v Winter economics:
Left is the Summer Games in Rio, right is Winter in PyeongChang. There is a very clear difference in national income and success in the Summer and Winter Games. The Rio games showed a much more even distribution of success across economic situations, where the PyeongChang games are very clearly tilted toward high-income countries, both at a national and a per capita level.