Hey Olympics!: 'Vancouver-Metrics' or, what's in a Medal anyway?

In honor of, staff-writer, YT Crooks ongoing exploration of advanced baseball statistics, The Venuist has the following thoughts to share on the state of the Vancouver Winter Olympics (or as I like to call them, “those things on television which follow me every where I go like the moon through my Camaro’s t-top on a summer’s night”).

I digress: these past few days there’s been a gaggle of talk regarding the medal tally being compiled by your 2010 US Winter Olympic Team [[editor’s note: if you are not American, you may know us by a different title, “those a**holes.”]] So far, we’ve run up a victory count which is besting the efforts of traditional Winter Games powerhouses the likes of Germany (both sides, East and West — sigh of bittersweet Cold War nostalgia — as one), the semi-mythical kingdom of “Norway”, Russia, Canada (ouch, home turf), Jamaican Bobsledding, FC Yeti Himalaya, and those nasty Icelandic Kids from Mighty Ducks II. And we’ve done it with panache while showing off our rising stars like Lindsay Vonn, Evan Lysacek and that guy who won the Men’s Nordic Combined, grizzled vets like Bode Miller and Apollo Ohno who came back for one last dance with destiny, and established — totally head and shoulders elite — powerhouse performers such as Shaun White and Bob Costas.

That said, let’s take a look at where the medal count for the top four countries stands at present:

1. U!S!A!: 8 gold/12 silver/ 12 bronze = 32 total
2. Germany Utd: 8/11/7 = 26 total
3. “Norway”: 7/6/6 = 19 total
4. Oh, Canada: 8/6/3 = 17 total

Now, if you and The Venuist have anything in common, than you’ve noticed — with some irritation — that the above ‘totals’ count all medals as if they carried equal value. Of course, we know that’s horsesh*t and if it weren’t than the Canada Olympic Committee would have let the German and US bobsled teams train on their track before the events. Canada hedged, and hedged corrrectly, that the competitive advantage gained from being the only team permitted to, I dunno, EVER LAY EYES on their facilities would be invaluable. It was, as the Ladies two-“man” bobsled competition proved when the best bobsled madam in the world — that chick from Germany — crashed her Flexible Flyer not two-thirds of the way down Whistler Mountain’s ice-shoot of regrets.

So, if we accept, as our suddenly cutthroat Canuck d’Nord friends have, that real Olympic mettle is grounded first and foremost in-or-around top finishes, than the national medal counter ought to be weighted accordingly.

Therefore, T*V proposes the following simple formula (akin to that which the NHL standings use):
– Gold: 3 Vancouver-points
– Silver: 2 Vancouver-points
– Bronze: 1 Vancouver-point

If we establish the above as the official metrics, then a more accurate, weighted, perspective of the competition appears. The new, weighted top four chart looks thusly:

1. U!S!A! – 60 Vpts
2. Germany Utd – 53 Vpts
3. Oh, Canada – 39 Vpts*
4. “Norway” – 39 Vpts

*(tie-break goes to Canada for having 1 more Gold in their column)

If you’ll notice, in the above results, the gap between the US and Germany lengthens by 1 from 6 medals to 7 Vancouver-points. Canada and Norway are in a statistical dead heat based on Vpts. Most astonishingly, the gap between Canada/”Norway” and Germany doubles from 7 medals to 14 Vpts! Wowee! That’s a shellacking. The difference between 1st and 3rd place in Vpts is now a wopping 21. Holy Smokes. In fact, in Vpts, the combined score of the Ger-merican/Ar-many teams would be almost as much as that of the next four teams altogether.

So, if you find yourself — as I have — unable to escape the international furor which is the 2010 Vancouver Games, I recommend having a little nerdy fun with the numbers. Or not, it’s pretty nerdy.

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