Iran's weightlifters Behdad Salimikordasiabi and Sajjad Anoushiravani took gold and silver in the men's +105kg
As expected, the US and China topped the conventional Olympic medal tables (however you chose to sort them). But by merely achieving the expected, the sporting superpowers appear much farther down the FT’s weighted medal table, which ranks countries by how much they exceeded pre-Games expectations.
Our table benchmarked nations performance against macroeconomic factors known to affect Olympic performance, such as GDP and population.
Great Britain’s 29 gold medals and 65 overall was enough for third place on the FT table as well as the conventional table – an impressive feat given the handicap our methodology imposed on it by taking into account the host-nation advantage. Here’s a look at some of the other nations that can leave London extremely happy, having greatly exceeded expectations. Some of them may surprise you. Read more
This scatterplot below shows how nations’ actual medal performance at London 2012 compares to the economic models used to construct the FT medal table, along with some of the underlying factors used by the models, such GDP, population and performance at Beijing in 2008.
How does Great Britain’s haul of 65 medals, including 29 golds, compare to other recent host nations’ performance?
There can be little doubt that greater recent investment in elite sports is the main cause of Great Britain’s impressive performance at these Olympics an uptick in performance compared with Beijing 2008 would have been expected regardless, because of a well-documented “host-nation effect” that sees the home team performed significantly better than it usually does. Read more
We launched the FT’s economically-weighted medal table on Sunday night.
Rather than ranking the table in the conventional format – gold medals followed, where equal, by silver medals and finally bronze medals – we are ranking counties by their performance against a benchmark developed from four economic models. These predict success on the basis of socioeconomic factors that have been shown to contribute to Olympic performance historically.
Even on our weighted measure, China leads with its 12 medals, representing 4.6 more than would be expected at this stage of the games. Italy’s seven medals place its over-achievement to date hundredths of a percentage point behind. Great Britain, by contrast, is near the foot of our table, underachieving by 2.8 medals so far. Read more
Over the next two weeks, the Olympic “medal table”, ranking nations according to the number of gold, silver and bronze medals their athletes have collected in London will be widely reported.
But there will be few surprises: The United States, China and Russia will almost certainly top the table, followed by the smaller wealthy countries. Great Britain will most likely fare better than usual, because the host nation usually does.
Population, GDP per capita, past performance and “home advantage” appear to have a strong relationship to nations’ Olympic success, a common-sense observation that has long been demonstrated by social science.
Substantial academic literature, stretching back to the 1950s, has been produced by economists, sociologists and political scientists using statistical techniques to relate nations’ macroeconomic conditions to their Olympic performance, and forecasting upcoming games.
Typically, these take the form of regression analyses that use historical macroeconomic data as independent variables to account for participating countries’ medal share at the Olympics.
During the London games, the FT will use
three four such models as a benchmark to rank our medal table according to teams’ ability to outperform models that account for their size, wealth and other socioeconomic factors: Read more
The population of England and Wales has grown by more than seven per cent since 2001, the first release of data from the 2011 census shows.
The estimate, based on the census taken on March 27 2011, recorded a population of 53.0 million in England and 3.1 million in Wales, representing an increase of 3.7 million in the decade since the 2001 census, which recorded a population of 52.4 million.
This increase of 7.1 per cent represents the largest growth in the population in England and Wales in any 10-year period since the 1911 census.