The OlyMADMen and OlympStats and Sports-Reference

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 bam1729bam@gmail.com.

27 thoughts on “The OlyMADMen and OlympStats and Sports-Reference”

  1. Hi

    Your stats are awesome, very helpful indeed. Tried checking Olympidia out for future use, however asks one to login (and it doesn’t allow for sign up) Hopfefully this will be sorted so that the public will be able to access the stats?

  2. Hi, I´m from Argentina. I´ve been using SR/olympics as my number one guide to anything related to te Olympics. It’s heaven for me. Now, accidentally I found this article and I found out who are behind that unique information. I just want to thank everybody involved in this project for sharing all that precious information with us. Thank you very much!

  3. As a frequent user of the Olympic website for Wikipedia (and exchanging informations aswell) I do thank you for your work in the last years. I hope the new site will be as helpful and easy to handle as it was in the past. Please, not too much “media” 🙂

  4. Sorry to see SR/olympics close, but thrilled that hopefully its up and go in 2017 in a new site. I hope that you use much of the same links to the new site, so the sites using SR as source will be easy to change.

  5. I wanted to login in Olympedia, but I forgot my password. Can you please give me the possibility to create a new one. I am a life time member of ISOH.

  6. Thanks for sharing your data through Sports Reference and I very much hope it is maintained through the new website. In particular, the summaries on past Olympic events give insight not found elsewhere.

    In terms of preserving the data, have you thought of donating it to the public via Wikidata?

    1. Thanx for your kind words. I think it will be fine when the IOC takes over our data. We have our own private website, http://www.olympedia.org, which is the source for the sports-reference site. Olympedia is what the IOC is purchasing from us and we think Olympedia is even better than SR/olympics, although the styles are little different. I don’t think we can donate stuff to Wikidata because of contractural obligations with the IOC. However, I have been in contact with the Wikipedians who do Olympic stuff and talked to the IOC about this so that we can preserve links for them on Wikipedia so they don’t lose all their references. Hopefully we’ll be able to work that out.

      1. Thanks for your great work with olympic statistics. I am one of those who contribute to Wikipedia about mainly winter olympic results (preferably speed skating) and such related biographies, and I just wonder in what type of time frame do you expect to see these statistics published publicly elsewhere for instance at IOCs websites ? Do you think it will be available in time for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, updated with the 2016 Olympic Summer Games results ? Best regards F. Skillinghaug

        1. Frank – no timeline for when our private site, Olympedia, goes public as the IOC statistical site. We have signed our contracts with the IOC and are now in discussions with the IT people so things are moving along. Sports-reference will stay open until the IOC site becomes available. – Bill M

      2. Good stuff! As long as your group’s work remains available that’s great. The biggest worry is when things disappear. 🙂

  7. Fantastic job Bill and all your colleagues, Thanks for sharing your data through Sports Reference and I very much hope it is maintained through the new website. In particular, the summaries on past Olympic events give insight not found elsewhere. And also hope that in the future include summaries on the youth olympic games.

  8. Fabtastic jon and greetings from Germany. I hope you come backl

    Is it possible to get a password for olympmedia.org?

    Best wishes from East Frisia in Germany
    Carsten

  9. I am using this olympic-sportsreference site already for years and i am always fascinated by the details and the correct information it provides compared to other web-sites. I am very sorry to read that the site is going to close in the near future and hope you can keep your plans to migrate to IOC-sites.
    I just read that you have another site (olympedia.org). I tried to enter it, but without success. Is there a chance for me to get a log-on to this site?
    Many thanks

  10. FYI, the term “statistorian” (used in much the same way as you do) was coined in 1971 by Bob Davids. He was the founder of SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research.

    See http://sabr.org/about/founders for additional information.

    That said, I’m interested in Olympic statistics, particularly in athletics, so I’ll be back here in the future.

    1. Thanx for letting me know that. I knew I had heard that somewhere. Interesting story about Bob Davids. About 20 years ago I was at the Library of Congress reading newspapers for Olympic research when I saw the guy next to me was also reading all sports pages stuff. It was Bob Davids and we got to meet each other. What a coincidence.

  11. I am a stamp collector who specializes in Olympics and maintains a public website that contains a massive (more than 7500 stamps) checklist “Olympians on Stamps”:

    http://hokkej.com/olympians-on-stamps-checklist.htm

    I used to copy Olympic stats from Sports-Reference, but now they have discontinued their Olympic stats program, and I desperately need to get the Rio 2016 stats from somewhere. Is there any chance you guys can give me those stats? I’d be willing to pay.

  12. Hi! I am an Olympic fan myself. I started monitoring Olympic results since 1972. I collect books about the Olympics and enjoy reading statistics and information about athletes and their stories. I would like to help out in anyway I can to compile sports information and statistics.

    I hope all these statistics on the Olympics are preserved for future fans. Appreciate all the work you guys put into this magnificent data.

  13. Bill,
    I was contacted by Dick Fosbury, President of the USA Olympians/Paralympians Association (USOPA), and asked to touch base with you about your site and the future activity of Olympic data gathering. Dick was concerned that his favorite fact checking site might not be accessible in the in the near future and at the same time we thought you might be interested in our new internal activity. We have instituted a Historians Committee with the fundamental purpose locate and archive, when possible, the historical documents of the USOPA founded in 1946 and related materials from the collections of member Olympians and Paralympians. This is only an opening to what we hope will be a long and fruitful conversation. Jack Elder 1972 Luge Olympian Chair USOPA Historians Committee

  14. Do you happen to know any exact dates when the old public site on SR will be shutdown and the IOC statistic site will become available? As long as the suffix behind http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/ doesn’t change, the migration strategy of URLs used at Wikipedia should be straightforward. Does somebody take this into consideration? I really hope for a smooth shift…

    All the best from a big fan of your work (and of your predecessors like Erich Kamper)!

  15. How does one sign up to use Olympedia? I see the ability to ‘sign in’ but not the ability to ‘sign up’

  16. I am happy to see that your data will still be online but I am disappointed it won’t still be tied in with sports reference site as it makes it so easy to have everything sports stats so easy to access. Just my humble opinion.

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