Which Countries Medal In The Sports That People Care About

What if medals were awarded in proportion to a sport’s popularity? Related: Hot Takedown Lithuania21251012 Ukraine6592022610 India02460134 Fencing202100.4 Montenegro01010303 Brazil359178271146 SPORTVIEWER HOURS (MILLIONS)EVENTSMEDAL MULTIPLIER Synchronized swimming11321.1 Taekwondo**8880.2 Basketball80428.0 Hong Kong00110011 Qatar00220011 Iran453121214 Ethiopia31373137 Kuwait00110000 Modern pentathlon3220.3 Trampoline6720.7 Sweden14380516 Singapore00220055 Romania25292428 Indonesia01120000 Algeria10011001 Judo**443140.6 Source: Sports-Reference.com Puerto Rico01120011 Spain310417115420 Azerbaijan226101124 Grenada10011001 Volleyball51925.1 China also gets a modest boost, thanks in part to its gymnastics and table tennis prowess, while Brazil — great at soccer and volleyball, not so good at the individual sports — gets a large one. The country that suffers the most is Great Britain, which used its home-nation advantage to rack up medals in some of the more obscure sports. Nations from Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which win lots of medals in relatively unpopular events such as weightlifting and wrestling, also suffer to some extent. Afghanistan00110000 Botswana01010101 France11111335915832 Venezuela10010000 The Subtle (And Not So Subtle) Dominance Of U.S. Swimmers And Gymnasts * Golf and rugby are new Olympic sports for 2016. Viewership is estimated based on regression analysis.** Boxing, judo, taekwondo and wrestling award two bronze medals in each event. As a result, they have a lower medal multiplier for bronze medals: 0.3 for boxing and judo, 0.2 for wrestling and 0.1 for taekwondo.Source: Olympic.org Team sports almost invariably wind up with large medal multipliers, including soccer (12.9), basketball (8.0) and even water polo (1.9). Swimming (0.9) and track and field (1.0) hold their own; they’re very popular, but also medal-rich, so there isn’t much need to adjust their numbers one way or the other. Gymnastics gets a boost, though, as does diving (1.9). But many of the more obscure individual sports, such as shooting (0.4), sailing (0.2) and taekwondo (0.2), have low multipliers.How would these adjustments have affected the 2012 Olympic standings? Among other things, they’d have helped the United States, which already led the way with 46 gold and 103 overall medals in London. A lot of those medals came in team sports, such as basketball, volleyball and (women’s) soccer, which have high medal multipliers. Thus, Team USA’s adjusted medal count is 78 golds and 142 medals overall, towering over the competition. Rhythmic gymnastics9220.9 Beach volleyball78127.7 Golf*9420.9 Denmark24391337 COUNTRYGOLDSILVERBRONZETOTALGOLDSILVERBRONZETOTAL USA dominates adjusted medal count We’re on the ground in Rio covering the 2016 Summer Olympics. Check out all our coverage here.Because the Summer Olympics occur during presidential election years, I have to pick my viewing opportunities carefully. I won’t always have the time or patience to watch much water polo or beach volleyball, sports that involve a lot of buildup — dozens of preliminary matches — all leading up to a gold-medal match that I’ll probably forget to watch anyway.1The Winter Olympics are another story: MORE CURLING, PLEASE. Instead, I’m mostly interested in sports such as swimming and track and field, which provide plenty of bang for the buck, with somebody (probably an American) winning a medal pretty much every other time you look.Not everyone agrees with this philosophy, though. Track and field and swimming are indeed very popular, ranking as the top two sports for Olympics TV viewership, followed by gymnastics in third. But soccer ranks fourth. It awards just two gold medals, one each for the men’s and women’s champions, while sailing awards 10. And yet — even if people don’t care as much about Olympic soccer as they do the World Cup or the Champions League — soccer has 15 times the Olympics TV audience that sailing does.So, what if Olympics medals were awarded in proportion to how much people actually cared about each sport, as measured by its TV viewership? To reiterate, I’m talking about TV viewership during the Olympics, specifically. Tennis (as in: Wimbledon) is presumably the more popular spectator sport under ordinary circumstances, but in 2012, people actually spent more time watching table tennis (as in: pingpong) than tennis at the Olympics.The data I’m citing here comes from the IOC’s International Federations Report, which listed the total number of TV viewer hours in each sport during the 2012 London Olympics. People around the world spent a collective 202 million hours watching Olympics fencing in 2012, for example. The list of the most popular sports is less U.S.-centric than you might think: Badminton, not very popular in the United States, gets a lot of TV viewers worldwide.There are just a couple of complications. First, some Olympic federations cover more than one sport, as people usually define them. FINA, for example, governs swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming2Technically the Olympics committee calls diving a discipline, which is organized under one sport, aquatics., and the IOC’s report aggregated their TV viewership together. I used data on London Olympics ticket revenues as a proxy for the relative popularity of these sports, in order to split the TV audiences accordingly.3Specifically, I used data on ticket revenues, excluding tickets sold to residents of the United Kingdom, on the assumption that this would help to correct for sports that are more popular in the U.K. than they are worldwide. Second, golf and rugby are new to the Olympics this year, so I estimated their TV viewership using regression analysis.4The regression was based on the revenue tier in which the IOC ranked each sport — golf and rugby are in the lowest tier along with modern pentathlon — and the number of ticketed sessions for each sport. Ticketed sessions is a proxy for the overall number of broadcast hours available. A sport like handball can slowly accumulate viewers, even it doesn’t have very many of them at any one time.Otherwise, the analysis is pretty straightforward. I calculated a medal multiplier for each sport, such that the value of medals is proportional to the amount of time people spent watching it. Gymnastics, for instance, represented about 4.5 percent of the medals awarded in 2012, but around 9 percent of the TV viewership. It therefore needs a medal multiplier of 2 to bring things into proportion.5For boxing, judo, taekwondo and wrestling, which award two bronze medals per event, I use a smaller medal multiplier for bronze medals. Estonia01120011 Gymnastics1,442142.0 Tennis37151.5 Great Britain2917196517101845 Boxing**302130.5 Australia71612353121833 Badminton56252.2 Triathlon10021.0 Water polo19421.9 Belarus255122338 Japan71417384281648 New Zealand625132125 Netherlands6682075416 Jamaica4441244412 Egypt02020101 Mongolia02350112 Taiwan01120000 Archery16240.8 Handball26522.6 Greece00220011 Hungary846186129 Italy891128351220 Mexico1337135321 Croatia31263036 Germany1119144414161141 Table tennis46142.3 Field hockey23322.3 Latvia10121089 Cyprus01010000 Rowing196140.3 Thailand02130101 Guatemala01010101 Canoe/kayak195160.2 Portugal01010000 Colombia13481214 U.S.462829103783925142 Weightlifting320150.4 Shooting215150.3 Argentina11240224 Malaysia01120224 N. Korea40262013 Armenia01230011 Ireland11351113 Cuba536142226 Tunisia11131113 Track and field2,300471.0 Soccer1,300212.9 Sailing87100.2 Dominican Rep.11021102 Slovenia11241113 ORIGINAL 2012 MEDAL COUNTADJUSTED FOR SPORT POPULARITY We’ll check in on these numbers again at the end of the 2016 Rio games. They may even make inexplicably popular beach volleyball — medal multiplier 7.7 — worth your time to watch. Diving78481.9 Rugby*14121.4 S. Africa32162204 Norway21143014 Slovakia01340011 Swimming1,509340.9 Belgium01230011 Bulgaria01120000 Gabon01010000 Georgia13371113 Finland01230011 Bahamas10011001 Russia2426328225233280 Czech Rep.433102226 Turkey22151102 Morocco00110011 Uzbekistan10230011 Trinidad and Tobago11241124 Moldova00220011 Cycling564180.6 S. Korea138728861731 Uganda10011001 Switzerland22042204 Tajikistan00110000 Bahrain00110011 Kenya2451124511 Serbia11240022 Poland226101124 China38272388503020100 Kazakhstan715134116 Canada151218122124 Equestrian18160.6 Wrestling**318180.3 Saudi Arabia00110011

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