I enjoyed watching the Whistler/Vancouver Olympics. As anyone who knows me would guess, I was excited to watch the Nordic events, since the Olympics are the only time they are on broadcast TV in the USA. This was a good year for Team USA, with the first Nordic Combined medals. And it’s fun to watch some of the speed skating, Alpine skiing, and hockey. NBC’s coverage of the Olympics seemed better than usual, but still has plenty of room for improvement. They did an OK job of showing the Nordic sports, but still wasted a lot of time on things like figure skating warmups and personal interest stories.

With the TV and newspapers constantly referencing medal counts, I thought it would be interesting to come up with a good measure of how well each country performed. The problem with medal counts is that it gives an advantage to large countries that enter a number of athletes. I am much more impressed when a small or poor country enters a couple athletes who perform better than expected than I am by professional athletes from larger countries. One way create a combined score would be to give 3 points for gold, 2 for silver, 1 for bronze, then add the points up by country and divide by the number of athletes from that country. A better way would be something like:

\frac{1}{c_a}\sum_{s}{\frac{1}{a}\sum_{a}{\frac{n - a_p + 1}{n}}}

Where: n == number of athletes in an event ap == the finishing rank of an athlete (1 = gold) a == the number of athletes a nation entered in an event s == all events ca == the number of events a nation entered

This will give an average score for each country, compensating for some countries entering more athletes. While watching a couple events, I started scraping the results from the Vancouver 2010 website. This took a longer than expected, so I never got around to doing the calculations. Since I haven’t seen the results posted as nice clean CSV files anywhere, I’ll post them for others to use. I ran out of time before including the results for curling and hockey.

Now, if only the Olympics would go back to being amateurs only…