So who am I and who are all these crazy people I work with doing Olympic stats? I do most of the posts on Olympstats, but you will see some posts from Hilary Evans and Jeroen Heijmans. Hilary, Jeroen, and I work in a group of 14 Olympic statistorians (my own term), who have been working on Olympic statistics for many years. We call ourselves the OlyMADMen, which reflects our crazy infatuation with collecting data about the Olympic Games.
I started collecting Olympic stats back in 1964 – yes, I am that old – when I was 12-years-old. This coalesced into real data in the early 1980s when I got my first PC. In the late 1990s I joined with two Norwegians Arild Gjerde and Magne Teigen to combine our work into databases of all Olympic results and all Olympic athletes. Also helping us was David Foster, a British Olympic expert. Jeroen Heijmans (aka Geronimo) joined us in about 2002 – this was important, for Jeroen is an IT specialist in his day job, and helped us convert our databases into an online web site. This became our private web site, www.olympedia.org, which we still use today as our private research site.
In about 2007-2008 we were joined by Hilary Evans, aka the Crazy Welsh Sheep Farmer, and Estonian Taavi Kalju. Both are dedicated genealogists who helped us find a plethora of new info on some of the older Olympians.
Over the next decade we were joined by three Germans – Wolf Reinhardt, Ralf Regnitter, and Ralph Schlüter; Austrian Martin Kellner, and two more Norwegians, Morten Aarlia Torp and Stein Opdahl. We then added Paul Tchir, an Arabic studies specialist, aka Canadian Paul. Paul is also the world’s expert on oldest living Olympians. In the last few years the OlyMADMen expanded to include Ian Morrison, from Britain but now living in Mallorca, Spain; and Canadian Michele Walker, our first female “OlyMADMan” a name for which we now apologize to Michele.
Our level of expertise, and the comprehensive nature of our data, is pretty high. Do we make mistakes? Sadly, yes, because we are 14 humans, but we have more data and stats and expertise on the Olympics than any similar group. We have far more than what can be found in Wikipedia, just for starters. You may know of the www.sports-reference.com/olympics site (SR/olympics), which is very good, but that is actually also our site – a bit more on that in a moment.
In addition to the current base group of 14, which sadly lost original member Magne Teigen by his passing last year, we have a collection of experts in various sports and nationalities that assist us a great deal to make specific corrections to those sports and nations. These include Fernando Arrechea in Spain, Paweł Wudarski of Poland, George Masin for fencing (a former fencing Olympian), Jørn Jensen in Denmark, and several others.
Why do we this? For most of us, it is purely a hobby, but its something we enjoy immensely. We’ve been collecting this data for so long and from so many dedicated experts on the topic, that we now estimate that we have about 185 person-years of work that have produced our databases and information.
In 2008 we produced our first public website, the above mentioned SR/olympics site. That is our data, which is downloaded periodically from the Olympedia.org research site, however, we do not control it as closely, as it is run by sports-reference. However, we get many complimentary comments about this site and this brings us to the true purpose of this post.
SR/olympics will be going away sometime in the not too distant future. The reason for that is within the last few months we have had some good news as we have completed discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to have them use www.olympedia.org as part of their Olympic Statistical Database. Because of this, the SR/olympics site will eventually mostly close down, although it will still include Olympic data on baseball, basketball, and ice hockey, to complement the SR data (which is superb) on those sports.
So that’s a bit on who we are, and some information on why we do this. It also lets you know that things will change in the coming months, but eventually you should be able to see Olympedia as a public site managed by the IOC, although we will still provide the updates to the site. In addition, this blog, olympstats.com will remain in its current structure and we will continue to contribute to it.
As the Rio Olympics end, we have enjoyed providing the world with our statistical data and we hope you have found it useful, and perhaps fun to read and study. If we can make it better in anyway in the future, please let us know. You can reach me here or e-mail via firstname.lastname@example.org.