2008-08-22

China's medal rank -- a long way to go (update)

It now looks quite certain that China is going to top the TOTAL medal table. Yes, I am aware there is such thing as "total medal table" that most US media has been using but they are nonsense. If you are going to assign equal weight to all medals and discourage over-emphasis on gold, why not the 3rd runner up, or the 10th runner up for that matter? (or simply the number of participants).

The measure that makes more sense though, is what NYT proposed in one of its article. The table ranks countries by counting points, with Gold - 4 points, silver 2, and bronze 1. (I would propose 0.5 for the 3rd runner-up and so on).

(update) Final ranking:
1. China 274 points (51/12/28).
2. USA 256 (36/38/36), only a very narrow margin.
3. Russia 162
4. Great Britain 117
5. Australia 103
6-10 GER 99, KOR 80, FRA 77, ITA 62, JPN 58

However, this is still not a fair comparison. A fair comparison would give that honour to Jamaica (per population) and Zimbabwe (per GDP). China still has a lot of catch up to do, first with the GDP measure, then the population measure. In 2008 China is ranks 65th in Point/Person, and
50th in GDP. (Forsyth used CIA's PPP measure which is controversial, with nominal GDP China's score shoudl roughly x4, and would rank around 30th, decent but still a long way to go.

----
By population (Simon Forsyth)

(note that there are 204 teams competing in Beijing, India's rank of 87th in all measures does not mean it is at the bottom. e.g., India is above HK this year (but behind HK in Athens).

Rank/ Country /Gold/ Silver/ Bronze /Weighted Medals /Weighted Medals /Million

1 Jamaica 6 3 2 32 11.5102
2 Bahamas 0 1 1 3 9.8150
3 Iceland 0 1 0 2 6.6240
4 Bahrain 1 0 0 4 5.6451
5 Norway 3 5 2 24 5.1859
6 Australia 14 15 17 103 5.0406
7 Slovenia 1 2 2 10 4.9770
8 New Zealand 3 1 5 19 4.6164
9 Estonia 1 1 0 6 4.5596
10 Mongolia 2 2 0 12 4.0653

13 Cuba 2 11 11 41 3.5984

14 Georgia 3 0 3 15 3.2286

22 Great Britain 19 13 15 117 1.9251

23 Czech Republic 3 3 0 18 1.7597

24 Korea 13 10 8 80 1.6312

32 France 7 16 17 77 1.2084

33 Germany 16 10 15 99 1.2014

34 Russian Fed. 23 21 28 162 1.1459

35 Ukraine 7 5 15 53 1.1447

36 Canada 3 9 6 36 1.0782

37 Italy 8 10 10 62 1.0662

38 Spain 5 10 3 43 1.0631

41 Romania 4 1 3 21 0.9427

42 Kenya 5 5 4 34 0.9211

43 United States 36 38 36 256 0.8501

44 Zimbabwe 1 3 0 10 0.8123

51 Greece 0 2 2 6 0.5604

52 DPR Korea 2 1 3 13 0.5579

54 Japan 9 6 10 58 0.4551

55 Singapore 0 1 0 2 0.4393

60 Argentina 2 0 4 12 0.2978

61 Ethiopia 4 1 2 20 0.2614

65 China 51 21 28 274 0.2073

66 Thailand 2 2 0 12 0.1844

68 Chinese Taipei 0 0 4 4 0.1750

69 Israel 0 0 1 1 0.1556

70 Brazil 3 4 8 28 0.1474

75 Mexico 2 0 1 9 0.0828

76 Malaysia 0 1 0 2 0.0806

82 Indonesia 1 1 3 9 0.0383

83 Nigeria 0 1 3 5 0.0370

84 Afghanistan 0 0 1 1 0.0314

85 Vietnam 0 1 0 2 0.0235

86 Egypt 0 0 1 1 0.0124

87 India 1 0 2 6 0.0053

---
By GDP is linked here (note this is nominal GDP)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The Chinese government, in fact, spent at least $1 billion on athlete development in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, said U.S.-based Chinese athletics expert Xu Guoqui. By comparison, the U.S. Olympic Committee's annual budget is $150 million, with much of it coming from non-governmental sources."

Maybe we should be looking at medals per dollar spent.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say that the total medal count is nonsense. It's a sign of depth. If China won 1 gold, 100 silvers, and 200 bronzes and the US won 10 golds, 0 silvers, and 0 bronzes, which Olympic team did better? In that case, I'd say China by a long shot.

This wouldn't mean that all of the medals have equal weight, but at the same time, it doesn't mean the total number of medals is somehow meaningless.

>>why not the 3rd runner up, or the 10th runner up for that matter?

Because everyone decided to only award medals to the top three positions. That is, people recognize the top three positions as being worthy of notice.

I do think it is funny, though, that the US media are almost exclusively focusing on the total medal count. But still, I wouldn't discount it as much as you do.

Taikor said...

China’s medal tally seems to have coincided with the date and time of Sichuan/Wenchuan Earthquake.

Chinese Team: Gold 51, Silver 22, Bronze 28
Sichuan Earthquake struck on 5.12 at 2:28 PM

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting how China dominated medals bestowed by judges.

By my rough count, about 49 of 302 golds (16%) are determined by judges such as gymnastics, diving, dressage, sync swimming, and boxing. China won 21 of these 49 or 43%. The US only won 2 judged goals or 4%. Therefore, China won 21 of their 51 golds by judges, not by points, time, distance, etc. Seems like quite a wide spread.

China must know the best way to win is to win the judges first. Add some faked papers, a corrupt IOC, and you have a nice edge.

Sun Bin said...

1) all sports have judges, even basket and tennis. remember how john mcenroe threw his bats pissed off bu judge calls?

2) i looked at some detailed score in gymn and diving. it turns out that most european/american/asian judges are quite consistent (i.e. you will see american judges giving high scores to chinese player and vice versa chinese and japanese judges)
usually it is the former eastern european judges whose scores were at the extremes (ie highest or lowest). polish judges seem to hate chinese players -- not surprising given how they hate their communist govt before 1990s.
2) u need evidence for corruption (like salt lake city?) but so far none of these corruption scandal involved china

having said that, china does need to be more 'balanced'. games like rowing and weighliftings are low hanging gruits (gymn/diving are not -- US is also very strong in these areas).
the major ball games carry more weight as well -- my reading link from weizhou's blog has a good discussion on how china's medals should be discounted.

Anonymous said...

EU is still a winer of this olympics..

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