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.

Weighted
Rank
Weighted
Total
COUNTRYGSBTotCurrent
Rank
1346United States     4629 29 104 1
2294China 38 27 23 88 
3230Russia 24 26 32 82 
4215Great Britain 29 17 19 65 
126Germany 11 19 14 44 6
100France11 11 12 34 
796South Korea 13 28 
8 *95Australia 16 12 35 10 
94Japan 14 17 38 11 
10 78Italy 11 28 
11 57Hungary 17 
12 56Netherlands 20 13 
13 54Ukraine20 14 
14 49Spain 10 17 21 
15 43Kazakhstan 13 12 
16 41New Zealand 13 16 
17 40Cuba 5361415 
18 39Brazil 17 22 
19 38Iran 12 17 
20 36Jamaica 12 18 
2132Czech Rep 10 19 
22 32Canada 12 18 36 
23 30Belarus 2551223 
24 27Romania 27 
25 27Kenya 1128 
26 25Denmark 29 
2722DPR Korea 20 
28 22South Africa 24 
29 22Azerbaijan 10 30 
30 22Poland 1030 
31 21Ethiopia 25 
3220Croatia 26 
33 20Sweden 37 
34 18Colombia 38 
35 17Turkey 32 
36 17Georgia 39 
3617Mexico 39 
38 16Switzerland 33 
39 15Lithuania 34 
40 14Norway 35 
41 11Ireland 41 
42 10Argentina 42 
42 10Slovenia 43 
42 10Serbia 44 
45 10India 55 
469Tunisia 145 
47 9Mongolia 56 
48 8Dominican Rep 46 
49 8Trinidad & Tobago      47 
49 8Uzbekistan 48 
51 7Thailand 57 
52 6Latvia 49 
536Egypt 58 
54 6Slovakia 59 
55 5Algeria 50 
55 5Bahamas50 
55 5Grenada 150 
55 5Uganda150 
55 5Venezuela 150 
60 5Armenia 60 
60 5Belgium 60 
60 5Finland 60 
63 4Bulgaria 63 
63 4Estonia 263 
63 4Indonesia 63 
63 4Malaysia 63 
63 4Puerto Rico 63 
63 4Taipei 63 
69 3Botswana 69 
69 3Cyprus 69 
69 3Gabon 69 
69 3Guatemala 69 
69 3Montenegro 69 
69 3Portugal 69 
75 2Greece 75 
75 2Moldova 75 
75 2Qatar 75 
75 2Singapore 75 
79 1Afghanistan 001179
79 1Bahrain 001179
79 1Hong Kong 001179
79 1Saudi Arabia 001179
79 1Kuwait 001179
79 1Morocco 001179
79 1Tajikistan 001179