# Weighted Olympic Rankings and London 2012

## Date:

Tuesday, 14th August 2012

By N J Wildberger

The current rankings of the 2012 London Olympics, published by most of the international media, rank countries by order of gold medals won. This is clearly silly, since it ignores silver and bronze medals entirely, and is demoralising for some athletes, whose remarkable achievements in obtaining minor placements are diminished by the fact that their victories don’t reflect in their nations’ official ranking. No wonder we have the sad scene of some athletes distraught at “only” placing silver or bronze.

The media has to share in the blame here, in promoting a patently unfair ranking system. Another popular ranking system published by the media is to tally the total number of medals won. This is also patently simplistic.

More than a hundred years ago, the British press devised a much fairer ranking system: each gold is worth 5, each silver is worth 3 and each bronze is worth 1. So a little bit of multiplication and addition is necessary.

Such a weighted ranking system is clearly more reasonable, allowing all winners to contribute to their countries’ standing, but on a scale that is reflective of the different levels of achievement. With this system, silver and bronze medallists would be happy knowing their win has contributed to the national account.

Here are my calculations of the Weighted Ranks for the London Olympics. There are some surprises: first of all Australia places 8th, not 10th; Great Britain actually is out of the minor placings, beaten into third place by Russia – perhaps this is the reason the British press don’t seem to be too keen on promoting this fairer system that they actually invented! – Spain goes from 21st to 14th, and Canada goes from 36th place to 22nd.

Congratulations to all our athletes for their excellent 8th place in a highly competitive meet. Here are the revised weighted rankings, based on the equation Weighted Total = 5G + 3S + B.

Associate Professor Norman Wildberger.

 WeightedRank WeightedTotal COUNTRY G S B Tot Current Rank 1 346 United States 46 29 29 104 1 2 294 China 38 27 23 88 2 3 230 Russia 24 26 32 82 4 4 215 Great Britain 29 17 19 65 3 5 126 Germany 11 19 14 44 6 6 100 France 11 11 12 34 7 7 96 South Korea 13 8 7 28 5 8 * 95 Australia 7 16 12 35 10 9 94 Japan 7 14 17 38 11 10 78 Italy 8 9 11 28 8 11 57 Hungary 8 4 5 17 9 12 56 Netherlands 6 6 8 20 13 13 54 Ukraine 6 5 9 20 14 14 49 Spain 3 10 4 17 21 15 43 Kazakhstan 7 1 5 13 12 16 41 New Zealand 6 2 5 13 16 17 40 Cuba 5 3 6 14 15 18 39 Brazil 3 5 9 17 22 19 38 Iran 4 5 3 12 17 20 36 Jamaica 4 4 4 12 18 21 32 Czech Rep 4 3 3 10 19 22 32 Canada 1 5 12 18 36 23 30 Belarus 2 5 5 12 23 24 27 Romania 2 5 2 9 27 25 27 Kenya 2 4 5 11 28 26 25 Denmark 2 4 3 9 29 27 22 DPR Korea 4 0 2 6 20 28 22 South Africa 3 2 1 6 24 29 22 Azerbaijan 2 2 6 10 30 30 22 Poland 2 2 6 10 30 31 21 Ethiopia 3 1 3 7 25 32 20 Croatia 3 1 2 6 26 33 20 Sweden 1 4 3 8 37 34 18 Colombia 1 3 4 8 38 35 17 Turkey 2 2 1 5 32 36 17 Georgia 1 3 3 7 39 36 17 Mexico 1 3 3 7 39 38 16 Switzerland 2 2 0 4 33 39 15 Lithuania 2 1 2 5 34 40 14 Norway 2 1 1 4 35 41 11 Ireland 1 1 3 5 41 42 10 Argentina 1 1 2 4 42 42 10 Slovenia 1 1 2 4 43 42 10 Serbia 1 1 2 4 44 45 10 India 0 2 4 6 55 46 9 Tunisia 1 1 1 3 45 47 9 Mongolia 0 2 3 5 56 48 8 Dominican Rep 1 1 0 2 46 49 8 Trinidad & Tobago 1 0 3 4 47 49 8 Uzbekistan 1 0 3 4 48 51 7 Thailand 0 2 1 3 57 52 6 Latvia 1 0 1 2 49 53 6 Egypt 0 2 0 2 58 54 6 Slovakia 0 1 3 4 59 55 5 Algeria 1 0 0 1 50 55 5 Bahamas 1 0 0 1 50 55 5 Grenada 1 0 0 1 50 55 5 Uganda 1 0 0 1 50 55 5 Venezuela 1 0 0 1 50 60 5 Armenia 0 1 2 3 60 60 5 Belgium 0 1 2 3 60 60 5 Finland 0 1 2 3 60 63 4 Bulgaria 0 1 1 2 63 63 4 Estonia 0 1 1 2 63 63 4 Indonesia 0 1 1 2 63 63 4 Malaysia 0 1 1 2 63 63 4 Puerto Rico 0 1 1 2 63 63 4 Taipei 0 1 1 2 63 69 3 Botswana 0 1 0 1 69 69 3 Cyprus 0 1 0 1 69 69 3 Gabon 0 1 0 1 69 69 3 Guatemala 0 1 0 1 69 69 3 Montenegro 0 1 0 1 69 69 3 Portugal 0 1 0 1 69 75 2 Greece 0 0 2 2 75 75 2 Moldova 0 0 2 2 75 75 2 Qatar 0 0 2 2 75 75 2 Singapore 0 0 2 2 75 79 1 Afghanistan 0 0 1 1 79 79 1 Bahrain 0 0 1 1 79 79 1 Hong Kong 0 0 1 1 79 79 1 Saudi Arabia 0 0 1 1 79 79 1 Kuwait 0 0 1 1 79 79 1 Morocco 0 0 1 1 79 79 1 Tajikistan 0 0 1 1 79