Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Chauvinist Games - Alternative medal table

The throat-swelling, gagging, puking spectacle that is the Olympic Games has us in its mind numbing grasp yet again. As usual, the inequalities that exist in the world end up being reflected in the games in myriad ways that could be written about at length. For instance, that Chinese swimmers, badminton players and cyclists (not to mention Algerian 800m runners) seem to get the rough end of the stick, whereas home nation cycling teams seem to be able to take advantage of a liberal interpretation of the rules. "When they do it, its cheating. When we do it, its tactics", as one British newspaper article put it recently.

But here I submit a simple visual aid - The Alternative Medal table.

My premise is very simple, that the wealth of a country (or relative lack thereof) measured by its GDP per capita, should be used to weight the medal tally. In some simple way this is a measure of the amount of funding available to train an athlete, even given the inequities that exist within nations. In any case It should be a better measure of the performance of a country than a simple "flat" medal table. I make a further subversive leap in taking the total medal tally rather than weighting gold as more valuable than silver etc. This is partly because I hate the "winner-takes -all, second-placers-can-expect-to-have-their-countries-invaded" ethos that infects the proceedings.

Anyway for what its worth, here is my alternative list current of 7th August, and I endeavour to keep it updated until we can all get back to the usual round of economic crisis, war and hopefully revolution.

UPDATE: I noticed since I put this around 24 hours or so ago, that the Guardian now have statistical material amounting to Alternative Medal tables on their website. However none of their combinations amount to this table here, which is now updated for today's events 

The Olympics 2012 Alternative Medal Table - 7 Aug.

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