Saturday, February 20, 2010

Your Olympic Trivia and Bitching Moment

Brought to you by Stubble Jumping Redneck, who's thinking maybe she should get into cross country skiing, or something. This obsession with blogging is just not healthy.

Anyway, I've sorta been keeping up with the Olympics, though it's not really as much of an obsession as blogging is. I'm rooting for Canada first, of course, and the USA second. The rest of the world, well, lets hope as many as possible go home happy with either a medal, or at least happy with their standing.

I note there has been some bitching and moaning about the venue and the organization, or supposed lack thereof, of the event. Well. Yawn. There has also been the usual anti-American versus anti-Canadian bitching coming from our respective sides of the border. Some on the American side are even complaining because Vancouver is wet and warm and that, apparently, is the organizers' fault. What else is new? There will always be moaners and bitchers, and you gotta love the creativity of some of the fault finders.

What I'm really interested in, though, is why the Americans seem to always win so many medals, cause the Canadians have such a massive case of penis envy about that. So I did a bit of analysis of the current top twelve medal winners (knowing full well that could change at any moment) using the "it's the relative size of our populations, stupid" hypothesis. Unfortunately, that was proven to be sort of not such a great theory. But, here's what I did discover:

At the precise moment that I captured the data (and I promise I haven't manipulated it, or pretended to lose it, nor in actual fact, have lost it), the standing was as follows. The first number shows the total medals won so far, and where there is more than one nation at the same spot, they are ranked according to whether the medals are gold, silver or bronze (see link above). The population is in parentheses:
  • USA 20 (307,212,123)
  • Germany 13 (82,329,758)
  • Norway 10 (4,660,539)
  • Canada 8 (33,487,208)
  • France 7 (64,057,792)
  • South Korea 5 (48,508,972)
  • Austria 5 (8,210,281)
  • Russia 5 (140,041,247)
  • Switzerland 4 (7,604,467)
  • China 4 (1,338,612,968)
  • Sweden 4 (9,059,651)
  • Italy 4 (58,126,217)
Well, as you can see if it was due solely to population size, China would be way above everyone else, yet they are in tenth place. So much for that theory.

But what really interests me is the place occupied by Russia. Remember in the old days when the Olympics were routinely used by the Soviets (and the Soviet bloc countries) and the Americans as a proxy for war? But look at where they are now. Performance enhancing drugs and other techniques were rampant then. There were even a few men from the Soviet side of the world who were pumped up with so many female hormones that they were able to pass them off as women and they actually competed in the women's events. You younguns might not remember that, but it's true. In fact, that's basically why random testing was implemented.

Times have changed. But I still don't have a good theory for why the Yanks are so consistently on top, not just in the winter games, but in the summer games as well. Maybe it's wealth. Maybe it's just the American propensity to devote themselves to the pursuit of excellence. In any case, I'm mighty pleased with Canada's showing so far. And by the way, if it was just population, the USA would be #2, right behind China, and Canada would be in 8th place, as you can see below, so quit yer bitching, both of you:
  • China 4 (1,338,612,968)
  • USA 20 (307,212,123)
  • Russia 5 (140,041,247)
  • Germany 13 (82,329,758)
  • France 7 (64,057,792)
  • Italy 4 (58,126,217)
  • South Korea 5 (48,508,972)
  • Canada 8 (33,487,208)
  • Sweden 4 (9,059,651)
  • Austria 5 (8,210,281)
  • Switzerland 4 (7,604,467)
  • Norway 10 (4,660,539)
Maybe it's proximity to mountains. Does South Korea have mountains? I know the rest of them do.

Oh, and in the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that I got the population figures from the CIA World Factbook, so for sure there's a conspiracy at foot here somewhere.

Now you see, if I had a life, you'd never have known this.

4 Comments:

Blogger erik.larsen said...

South Korea has mountains. And snow. I read a bit about our forgotton war, or police conflict if you like - frostbite was a real factor in the Pujon region.

I think to determine medal "success", one would need a complex derivative equation including population, expenditure, inherent athletic ability (marathon runners from the rift valley most of us are not), desire for propaganda, fun factor (Jamaican bobsled), and desire for the younger population to avoid Grand Theft Auto(R) in favour of athletic pursuits.

February 20, 2010 2:02 pm  
Blogger Louise said...

And judges willing to cheat in your favour. Don't forget that.

Come to think of it, I haven't heard of that for quite while either. I miss the Cold War. It was like being suspended inside a spy novel that didn't have an ending.

Speaking of which, I wonder if Mad Magazine still features the Spy Versus Spy cartoon?

February 20, 2010 2:30 pm  
Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Must be something in them McDonalad's burgers. Some secret ing... nah, it can't be. Or could it?

February 24, 2010 9:14 am  
Blogger Louise said...

Well, it sure isn't Tim Horton's donuts.

February 24, 2010 10:48 am  

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