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
By guest contributor Paul Hodges
I suggested in an earlier post that chemical prices were an excellent leading indicator for the health of the global economy. The data highlighted that firms were finding it difficult to pass through crude oil related price increases. In turn, this was a warning that both the global and Chinese economies might be slowing faster than generally supposed. This caution since seems to have been amply justified.
Thus a new initiative by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) deserves watching. The ACC is the trade body for the US chemical industry, and it has developed a new Chemicals Activity Barometer which aims to provide early warning of changes in the wider US economy.
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