Summer Olympics Wrap-Up

The Rio Olympics have come and gone! Although there was great anxiety that it would be a cluster****, the games seem to have gone off just fine.

Because we don’t have TV at home, Katie and I were only able to watch a few select events that were made available by the BBC – mostly synchronized diving and wrestling. I have a few take-aways from having watched ~20 hours of coverage of these events:

  • The BBC announcer for synchronized diving should announce all events! That guy was amazing! “Oh wow, what a dive! If that were a steak, it would be medium-rare – just perfect!” “I am literally out of my seat right now!” “Oh, goodness, she just fell like a tree – timberrrrrrrr!”
  • Freestyle wrestling is more enjoyable to watch than Greco-Roman wrestling. Greco-Roman seemed to be 90% handwrestling and leaning into each other with occasional passivity penalty scores. Freestyle was more offense-driven.
  • Women’s wresting is more enjoyable to watch than men’s. By and large women’s wrestling was more aggressive, more dramatic, and more interesting. At least 50% of the medals were determined by a score in the final seconds of the match whereas men’s matches always seemed to go to whoever was ahead halfway through the second period.
  • There may be no crying in baseball but there is a lot of crying in wrestling! Interestingly, while the men tended to cry in victory, the women tended to cry in defeat (and beam in victory). There are several potential psychology and sociology papers to be written about that phenomenon!
  • IMD has truly transformed the way I watch the Olympics. Previously I only really cared about the USA but this year I found myself cheering for Azerbaijani and Belarusian wrestlers out of solidarity with my MBA classmates. Frankly the Olympics is more fun and interesting to watch when you care about more countries than just your own!
But really, on to the real question at hand: who “won” the Olympics? Per my previous posts, I continue to use a weighted scoring system to tally up Olympic medals by country. This year I tracked not just the top performers but every country that won at least one medal – you can see my full spreadsheet here.
The USA won in every category: golds, silvers, bronzes, total medals, and weighted medal score. The top performers by weighted medal score were:
  1. 379 – USA
  2. 221 – Great Britain
  3. 210 – China
  4. 168 – Russia
  5. 130 – Germany
  6. 118 – France
  7. 105 – Japan
  8. 084 – Italy
  9. 083 – Australia
  10. 065 – Netherlands
Russia’s lackluster performance wasn’t much of a surprise as they were banned from track and field competition. China’s performance, on the other hand, was a big shock. They went from a weighted medal score of 346 (#1 overall) in 2008 to 294 in 2012 (#2 overall) all the way down to 210 this year – a very distant 3rd. What could account for this precipitous drop? They had home field advantage in 2008 but that surely wasn’t responsible for 100% of their peak performance back then.
This year there were many discussions not just of overall medal counts but also of countries that “punched above their weight.” Accordingly, I added population and GDP as normalization metrics to the spreadsheet. The top performers by weighted medal score per million citizens were:
  1. 30.00 – Grenada
  2. 15.79 – Bahamas
  3. 13.90 – Jamaica
  4. 11.04 – New Zealand
  5. 08.59 – Croatia
  6. 06.13 – Denmark
  7. 05.83 – Slovenia
  8. 05.75 – Fiji
  9. 05.71 – Bahrain
  10. 05.38 – Hungary
The top performers by weighted medal score per $B GDP (PPP) were:
  1. 3.00 – Grenada
  2. 1.64 – Jamaica
  3. 0.67 – Bahamas
  4. 0.63 – Fiji
  5. 0.56 – Armenia
  6. 0.53 – North Korea
  7. 0.47 – Georgia
  8. 0.38 – Burundi
  9. 0.37 – Croatia
  10. 0.34 – Kenya
The top performers by weighted medal score per $1,000 GDP per capita were:
  1. 15.42 – Kenya
  2. 13.86 – China
  3. 12.71 – North Korea
  4. 10.06 – Ethiopia
  5. 06.62 – USA
  6. 06.57 – Russia
  7. 05.66 – Uzbekistan
  8. 05.37 – Great Britain
  9. 04.83 – Jamaica
  10. 03.79 – Burundi
My friend, colleague, and data scientist extraordinaire took the liberty of throwing the spreadsheet into Tableau for visualization – check it out for a more engaging analysis!

Published by Bryan Guido Hassin

These are the musings of a global cleantech entrepreneur. This blog began as a way to document my experience during the IMD MBA in Switzerland and now is the place where I publish eclectic thoughts on business, politics, fitness, entertainment, travel, wine, sports, and . . . whatever else is top of mind.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: