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The Sochi Medal Table – Revisited – Redux #1

Aleksandr Zubkov, Russian bobsledder who won gold medals in both bobsled events in Sochi, was just disqualified, along with Olga Fatkulina, who won a silver medal in women’s 500 metre speed skating.

How does this affect the Sochi medal tables? See our post of two days ago on the topic of the changes in the Sochi medal table – http://olympstats.com/2017/11/22/the-sochi-medal-table-revisited/.

Here is what happens now, and I’m only going to list the top 5 nations in the first 2 tables, as there are no changes below that level.

Original NOC G S B TM USRnk EuRnk
23-Feb-14 RUS 13 11 9 33 1 1
23-Feb-14 USA 9 7 12 28 2 4
23-Feb-14 NOR 11 5 10 26 3 2
23-Feb-14 CAN 10 10 5 25 4 3
23-Feb-14 NED 8 7 9 24 5 5

With the new disqualifications today, here is what happens.

By the US system, the USA is #1, followed by Norway in 2nd, Canada and 3rd, and Russia dropping to 4th. By the International system, now the rankings change quite a bit, with Norway in 1st, Canada in 2nd, the USA in 3rd, and Russia dropping from 1st to 4th. For an explanation of the two ranking systems, see yesterday’s post (noted above).

Please also note that the team disqualifications in bobsled are not automatic, as @OlympicStatman pointed out in a series of tweets, because of IBSF rules.

Current NOC G S B TM USRnk EuRnk
22-Nov-17 USA 9 7 12 28 1 3
22-Nov-17 NOR 11 5 10 26 2 1
22-Nov-17 CAN 10 10 5 25 3 2
22-Nov-17 RUS 9 7 8 24 4 4
22-Nov-17 NED 8 7 9 24 5 5

Now as we did 2 days ago, we’ll show you what happens if all medals are re-allocated, i.e., 4th moves up to 3rd, etc. As stated 2 days ago, there will be appeals, and it will take awhile and there is no guarantee all these medals will be re-allocated, but this is what it could look like. Here we go down to 19th/17th place since Latvia would move up in 4-man bobsled and is affected. Here, Russia actually stays in 3rd in both systems, because it could theoretically move up to a bronze medal in 4-man bobsled, after the Zubkov team disqualification, although that may be a stretch (they are also being investigated, it is rumored).

Possible NOC G S B TM USRnk EuRnk
Possible NOR 11 6 12 29 1 1
Possible USA 9 10 10 29 2 4
Possible RUS 10 7 9 26 3 3
Possible CAN 10 10 5 25 4 2
Possible NED 8 8 8 24 5 5
Possible GER 8 6 5 19 6 6
Possible AUT 4 8 5 17 7 9
Possible FRA 4 5 6 15 8 10
Possible SWE 2 8 5 15 9 14
Possible SUI 7 2 2 11 10 7
Possible CHN 3 4 3 10 11 12
Possible KOR 3 3 2 8 12 13
Possible CZE 2 4 2 8 13 15
Possible SLO 2 2 4 8 14 16
Possible JPN 1 4 3 8 15 18
Possible ITA 0 2 6 8 16 23
Possible BLR 5 0 2 7 17 8
Possible POL 4 1 1 6 18 11
Possible LAT 2 0 3 5 19 17

As we said yesterday, there is certainly still more to come.

The Sochi Medal Table – Revisited

This morning the IOC announced the disqualification of four Russian skeleton sliders from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. In the process Russia lost 2 more medals from Sochi – gold in the men’s (Aleksandr Tretyakov) and bronze in the women’s (Yelena Nikitina). The Russians had previously had 6 cross-country skiers disqualified from Sochi and lost 4 medals in the process.

Multiple tweets have appeared since stating that the US now moves up to the top of the Sochi medal table. Other tweets have said that USA slider Katie Uehlander will now move up to a bronze medal in women’s skeleton, and that Latvia’s sliding brothers, Martins and Tomass Dukurs, will move up to gold and bronze medals and become the 7th siblings to be “on the podium” in an individual Winter Olympic event.

As Lee Corso likes to say on College GameDay, “Not so fast, my friends.” It’s way more complex than all that.

First of all, it is true that 10 Russians have been tentatively disqualified from Sochi, and if the disqualifications stand, they have lost 6 medals – 2 gold, 3 silvers, and a bronze. However, several of the athletes have already appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and that process will take months. So it is possible several of the DQs could be reversed, although I personally doubt that.

Secondly, if the disqualifications stand, medals could be upgraded but that also takes time and review by the IOC. It is not automatic. Katie Uehlander could move up to a bronze medal, that is true, but the process needs to run its course.

Thirdly, in one sense, as of today, the US is now on top of the Sochi medal table, but in another sense, Russia still leads the Sochi medal table. How’s that again?

There are two systems for ranking national medals – the US or North American system that ranks by medals, gold, silver, and bronze; and the European or International system that ranks by gold, silver, and bronze. By the US/NA system, as of today, the USA does lead the Sochi medal table, but by the Euro/Inter. system Russia still leads the Sochi medal table today.

Here is the original Sochi medal table on 23 February 2014, the last day of the 2014 Winter Olympics, with Russia leading the table by either ranking system. The USA is in second by the US system, and Norway is in second by the International system, with the USA 4th in that system, still trailing Canada.

Original NOC G S B TM USRnk EuRnk
23-Feb-14 RUS 13 11 9 33 1 1
23-Feb-14 USA 9 7 12 28 2 4
23-Feb-14 NOR 11 5 10 26 3 2
23-Feb-14 CAN 10 10 5 25 4 3
23-Feb-14 NED 8 7 9 24 5 5
23-Feb-14 GER 8 6 5 19 6 6
23-Feb-14 AUT 4 8 5 17 7 9
23-Feb-14 FRA 4 4 7 15 8 10
23-Feb-14 SWE 2 7 6 15 9 14
23-Feb-14 SUI 6 3 2 11 10 7
23-Feb-14 CHN 3 4 2 9 11 12
23-Feb-14 KOR 3 3 2 8 12 13
23-Feb-14 CZE 2 4 2 8 13 15
23-Feb-14 SLO 2 2 4 8 14 16
23-Feb-14 JPN 1 4 3 8 15 17
23-Feb-14 ITA 0 2 6 8 16 22
23-Feb-14 BLR 5 0 1 6 17 8
23-Feb-14 POL 4 1 1 6 18 11
23-Feb-14 FIN 1 3 1 5 19 18
23-Feb-14 GBR 1 1 2 4 20 19
23-Feb-14 LAT 0 2 2 4 21 23
23-Feb-14 AUS 0 2 1 3 22 24
23-Feb-14 UKR 1 0 1 2 23 20
23-Feb-14 SVK 1 0 0 1 24 21
23-Feb-14 CRO 0 1 0 1 25 25
23-Feb-14 KAZ 0 0 1 1 26 26

Assuming all the disqualifications are upheld, here is what the Sochi medal table looks like today. By the US system, the USA is #1, followed by Russia, despite losing 6 medals, and Norway in 3rd. By the International system, there is no actual change in the rankings with Russia still #1, with Norway 2nd, Canada 3rd, and the USA 4th.

Current NOC G S B TM USRnk EuRnk
22-Nov-17 USA 9 7 12 28 1 4
22-Nov-17 RUS 11 8 8 27 2 1
22-Nov-17 NOR 11 5 10 26 3 2
22-Nov-17 CAN 10 10 5 25 4 3
22-Nov-17 NED 8 7 9 24 5 5
22-Nov-17 GER 8 6 5 19 6 6
22-Nov-17 AUT 4 8 5 17 7 9
22-Nov-17 FRA 4 4 7 15 8 10
22-Nov-17 SWE 2 7 6 15 9 14
22-Nov-17 SUI 6 3 2 11 10 7
22-Nov-17 CHN 3 4 2 9 11 12
22-Nov-17 KOR 3 3 2 8 12 13
22-Nov-17 CZE 2 4 2 8 13 15
22-Nov-17 SLO 2 2 4 8 14 16
22-Nov-17 JPN 1 4 3 8 15 17
22-Nov-17 ITA 0 2 6 8 16 22
22-Nov-17 BLR 5 0 1 6 17 8
22-Nov-17 POL 4 1 1 6 18 11
22-Nov-17 FIN 1 3 1 5 19 18
22-Nov-17 GBR 1 1 2 4 20 19
22-Nov-17 LAT 0 2 2 4 21 23
22-Nov-17 AUS 0 2 1 3 22 24
22-Nov-17 UKR 1 0 1 2 23 20
22-Nov-17 SVK 1 0 0 1 24 21
22-Nov-17 CRO 0 1 0 1 25 25
22-Nov-17 KAZ 0 0 1 1 26 26

Now you ask, what happens if all the medals are re-allocated, by moving up the 4th place finisher to 3rd and a bronze medal, etc.? I hate to go there, but will do so, just because you’re such nice guys. Here is what the current “possible” rankings will look like if this occurs, and I am moving up everybody, although I doubt that will actually happen.

Norway now leads by the USA system, with the USA 2nd, and Russia 3rd. By the international system, Russia still leads the Sochi medal table, with Norway 2nd, Canada 3rd, and the USA 4th – no change from the original standings.

Possible NOC G S B TM USRnk EuRnk
Possible NOR 11 6 12 29 1 2
Possible USA 9 8 12 29 2 4
Possible RUS 12 8 7 27 3 1
Possible CAN 10 10 5 25 4 3
Possible NED 8 7 9 24 5 5
Possible GER 8 6 5 19 6 6
Possible AUT 4 8 5 17 7 9
Possible FRA 4 5 6 15 8 10
Possible SWE 2 8 5 15 9 14
Possible SUI 6 3 2 11 10 7
Possible CHN 3 4 2 9 11 12
Possible KOR 3 3 2 8 12 13
Possible CZE 2 4 2 8 13 15
Possible SLO 2 2 4 8 14 16
Possible JPN 1 4 3 8 15 17
Possible ITA 0 2 6 8 16 23
Possible BLR 5 0 2 7 17 8
Possible POL 4 1 1 6 18 11
Possible FIN 1 3 1 5 19 18
Possible LAT 1 1 3 5 20 19
Possible GBR 1 1 2 4 21 20
Possible AUS 0 2 1 3 22 24
Possible UKR 1 0 1 2 23 21
Possible SVK 1 0 0 1 24 22
Possible CRO 0 1 0 1 25 25
Possible KAZ 0 0 1 1 26 26

It is unlikely this will happen that way in every case, so this is an idealized situation. For this to occur, the 3rd-place finisher in the 50 km cross-country would move up to a gold medal, but that is another Russian, Ilya Chernousov. I doubt he will be moved up, given the opprobrium surrounding the Russian team in Sochi. If he is not advanced, then Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who originally finished 4th in that event, cannot move up to the silver medal.

And to further complicate matters, Sundby had a doping violation revealed in January 2015, and after appeals, was banned from sport for 2 months (it was only an asthma inhaler) in July 2016, after an appeal to CAS. It is unlikely the IOC would move up an athlete since disqualified for doping.

So there you have it. Much more complicated than you might think. And there is certainly more to come.

North Korea at the Winter Olympics

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPR Korea, or PRK to the IOC), known to most of the world as North Korea, has recently qualified a pairs figure skating duo (Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik) for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. It was not certain any North Korean athletes would qualify, and no North Koreans competed at Sochi in 2014.

DPR Korea first competed at the Olympics in 1964 and it was at the Innsbruck Winter Olympics, with a team of 13 athletes, 6 men and 7 women. Including 1964 they have competed 8 previous times at the Winter Olympics, missing 1968, 1976, 1980, 1994, 2002, and 2014.

DPR Korea has had two Winter Olympic medalists, both women speedskaters. In 1964 Han Pil-Hwa won a silver medal in 3,000 metres speedskating, while in 1992, Hwang Ok-Sil won a bronze medal in 500 metres short-track speedskating. Here is the complete record of their previous Winter Olympic participation.

WinOly Men Women Total
1964 6 7 13
1972 0 6 6
1984 3 3 6
1988 3 3 6
1992 9 11 20
1998 2 6 8
2006 2 4 6
2010 1 1 2
DPR Korea (North) ### 1G 2G
Total 62 57 5
Men 25 24 1
Women 37 33 4
Men – Sport Nation ### 1G 2G
Alpine Skiing PRK 1 1 0
Cross-Country Skiing PRK 4 4 0
Figure Skating PRK 7 7 0
Speedskating PRK 10 9 1
Short-Track Speedskating PRK 3 3 0
Women – Sport Nation ### 1G 2G
Alpine Skiing PRK 1 1 0
Cross-Country Skiing PRK 4 4 0
Figure Skating PRK 6 6 0
Speedskating PRK 19 16 3
Short-Track Speedskating PRK 7 6 1

2008-12 Olympic Doping Re-Test – An Update-Update

OK, time for our occasional update on the status of the doping re-tests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Our last post on this topic was in April 2017 – see http://olympstats.com/2017/04/03/2008-2012-doping-re-tests-an-update/, while we first posted about his in November 2016, urged on by Roger Pielke, which we appreciated. For that original post see http://olympstats.com/2016/11/28/summary-of-the-ioc-re-testing-from-2008-2012-to-date/. We’ll keep this a little shorter and just summarize more recent findings.

First of all, there has not been much to update since April 2017. At that time we noted that there had been 182 positive PED tests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and as of 22 Sep, there are now 190 positive tests. A few came out in later April 2017 and one in August but not nearly as much activity as 2015-16.

We are including all positive tests that affect 2008-12 Olympic results. This includes positive tests done in pre-Games testing, original testing at the Olympic Games, re-testing of samples done at a later date, and retroactive disqualifications for other positive tests in the peri-Olympic era that were announced later.

Once again, the former Soviet republics make up the bulk of the nations with positive tests. Here are the 11 nations with the most positive tests:

NOC ###
Russia 53
Belarus 23
Ukraine 20
Turkey 14
Kazakhstan 12
Azerbaijan 6
Moldova 5
Armenia 4
China 4
Greece 4
Uzbekistan 4

And here is a current summary of the 5 sports most affected in 2008-12:

Sport ###
Athletics 108
Weightlifting 51
Wrestling 9
Equestrian Events 7
Cycling 6

Finally, the 5 drugs or violations most responsible for positive tests from 2008-12:

Substance/Violation ###
Turinabol (dehydrochlormethyltestosterone) 83
Stanozolol (anabolic steroid) 41
Biological passport offense 34
Oxandrolone 9
Erythropoietin (EPO) 7

Nothing particularly new in any of that.

Now we can look a little bit more at medal re-assignments. We danced around that a bit in the first two posts on the subject, because medal re-assignments are announced slowly (if at all), and are often subject to litigation or arbitration at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Witness the case of Nesta Carter, Jamaican sprinter who won a gold medal in 2008 in the 4×100 relay, alongside one Usain Bolt. Carter had a positive re-test that was announced in late 2016, but it is still in arbitration at the CAS and no final decision has been announced, so the medal has not been removed, neither from Carter, nor Bolt, and thus no medal(s) has/have been re-assigned.

But here are the medal re-assignments we do know about:

  • 2008 Women’s Athletics 10,000 metres.  Elvan Abeylegesse (TUR) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Shalane Flanagan (USA) to silver, and Linet Masai (KEN) to bronze.
  • 2008 Women’s Athletics 4×100 relay.  Russia [Gold] disqualified. Advance Belgium to gold, Nigeria to silver, and Brazil to bronze.
  • 2008 Women’s Athletics 4×400 relay.  Russia [Silver] disqualified. Advance Jamaica to silver, and Great Britain to bronze.
  • 2008 Women’s Athletics 5,000 metres.  Elvan Abeylegesse (TUR) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Meseret Defar (ETH) to silver, and Sylvia Kibet (KEN) to bronze.
  • 2008 Women’s Athletics Discus throw.  Yarelis Barrios (CUB) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Olena Antonova (UKR) to silver and Song Aimin (CHN) to bronze.
  • 2008 Women’s Athletics High jump.  Anna Chicherova (RUS) [Bronze] disqualified. Advance Chaunté Lowe (USA) to bronze.
  • 2008 Women’s Athletics Hammer throw.  Oksana Menkova (BLR) [Gold] disqualified. Advance Yipsi Moreno (CUB) to gold, and Zhang Wenxiu (CHN) to silver.
  • 2008 Women’s Athletics Javelin throw.  Mariya Abakumova (RUS) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Christina Obergföll (GER) to silver.
  • 2008 Women’s Athletics Long jump.  Tatyana Lebedeva (RUS) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Blessing Okagbare (NGR) to silver.
  • 2008 Women’s Athletics Shot put.  Nataliya Khoroneko (BLR) [Silver] and Nadezhda Ostapchuk (BLR) [Bronze] disqualified. Advance Misleydis González (CUB) to silver, and Gong Lijiao (CHN) to bronze.
  • 2008 Women’s Athletics Steeplechase.  Yekaterina Volkova (RUS) [Bronze] disqualified. Advance Tatyana Petrova-Arkhipova (RUS) to bronze.
  • 2008 Men’s Athletics 4×400 relay.  Russia [Bronze] disqualified. Advance Great Britain to bronze.
  • 2008 Men’s Athletics Pole vault.  Denys Yurchenko (UKR) [Bronze] disqualified. Advance Derek Miles (USA) to bronze.
  • 2008 Women’s Modern Pentathlon Individual.  Viktoriya Tereshchuk (UKR) [Bronze] disqualified. Advance Anastasiya Samusevich (BLR) to bronze.
  • 2008 Women’s Weightlifting +75 kg.  Olha Korobka (UKR) [Silver] and Mariya Grabovetskaya (KAZ) [Bronze] disqualified. Advance Ele Opeloge (SAM) to silver, and Maryam Usman (NGR) to bronze.
  • 2008 Women’s Weightlifting 48 kg.  Chen Xiexia (CHN) [Gold] and Sibel Özkan (TUR) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Chen Wei-Ling (TPE) to gold.
  • 2008 Women’s Weightlifting 58 kg.  Marina Shainova (RUS) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Jong-Ae O (PRK) to silver.
  • 2008 Women’s Weightlifting 63 kg.  Irina Nekrasova (KAZ) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Ying-Chi Lu (TPE) to silver.
  • 2008 Women’s Weightlifting 69 kg.  Liu Chunhong (CHN) [Gold] disqualified. Advance Oksana Slivenko (RUS) to gold.
  • 2008 Women’s Weightlifting 75 kg.  Cao Lei (CHN) [Gold] disqualified. Advance Alla Vazhenina (KAZ) to gold.
  • 2008 Men’s Weightlifting 94 kg.  Ilya Ilyin (KAZ) [Gold] disqualified. Advance Szymon Kołecki (POL) to gold.
  • 2008 Men’s Wrestling 120 kg Greco-Roman.  Khasan Baroyev (RUS) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Mindaugas Mizgaitis (LTU) to silver, and Yury Patrikeyev (ARM) to bronze.
  • 2008 Men’s Wrestling 60 kg Greco-Roman.  Vitaliy Rəhimov (AZE) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Nurbakyt Tengizbayev (KAZ) to silver, and Ruslan Tumenbayev (KGZ) to bronze.
  • 2012 Women’s Athletics 800 metres.  Mariya Savinova (RUS) [Gold] disqualified. Advance Caster Semenya (RSA) to gold, and Yekaterina Poistogova (RUS) to silver.
  • 2012 Women’s Athletics 1,500 metres.  Asli Cakir (TUR) [Gold] disqualified. Advance Maryam Jamal (BRN) to gold. No other advancement.
  • 2012 Women’s Athletics 20 km walk.  Olga Kaniskina (RUS) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Qieyang Shenjie (CHN) to silver, and Liu Hong (CHN) to bronze.
  • 2012 Women’s Athletics 4×400 relay.  Russia [Silver] disqualified. Advance Jamaica to silver, and the Ukraine to bronze.
  • 2012 Women’s Athletics Discus throw.  Darya Pishchalnikova (RUS) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Li Yanfeng (CHN) to silver.
  • 2012 Women’s Athletics Hammer throw.  Tatyana Lysenko (RUS) [Gold] disqualified. Advance Anita Włodarczyk (POL) to gold, Betty Heidler (GER) to silver, and Zhang Wenxiu (CHN) to bronze.
  • 2012 Women’s Athletics Shot put.  Yevgeniya Kolodko (RUS) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Gong Lijiao (CHN) to silver, and Li Ling (CHN) to bronze.
  • 2012 Women’s Athletics Steeplechase.  Yuliya Zaripova (RUS) [Gold] disqualified. Advance Habiba Ghribi (TUN) to gold, Sofia Assefa (ETH) to silver, and Milcah Chemos Cheywa (KEN) to bronze.
  • 2012 Men’s Athletics 50 km walk.  Sergey Kirdyapkin (RUS) [Gold] disqualified. Advance Jared Tallent (AUS) to gold, Si Tianfeng (CHN) to silver, and Robbie Heffernan (IRL) to bronze.
  • 2012 Men’s Athletics Javelin throw.  Oleksandr P’iatnytsia (UKR) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Antti Ruuskanen (FIN) to silver and Vitezslav Vesely (CZE) to bronze.
  • 2012 Women’s Weightlifting 53 kg.  Zulfiya Chinshanlo (KAZ) [Gold] disqualified. Advance Shu-Ching Hsu (TPE) to gold.
  • 2012 Women’s Weightlifting 63 kg.  Maiya Maneza (KAZ) [Gold] disqualified. Advance Christine Girard (CAN) to gold.
  • 2012 Men’s Weightlifting 85 kg.  Apti Aukhadov (RUS) [Silver] disqualified. Advance Kianoush Rostami (IRI) to silver.

I will say, as an Olympic statistician, that trying to keep up with these disqualifications and medal re-assignments, and changing all the results, is one of the more challenging things we face.

There will be more as several others are under consideration and, as noted, several are under arbitration with the CAS. The IOC has not always made overt announcements of these medal re-assignments so it can be very difficult to keep track of this, although we have been in contact with people at the IOC to stay on top of it.

So as of mid-September 2017 that is the status of the 2008-12 Olympic doping testing – again, because of the uncertainty in some of the medal re-assignments, please understand that it is to the best of our knowledge.

Olympic Costs and Venue Construction

A few months ago we looked at Olympic costs and how they related to both the number of athletes at the Olympics and the number of events contested, correcting all the figures against inflation. The post can be seen here – http://olympstats.com/2017/06/19/olympic-costs-rio-2016-and-future-projections/.

In that post we briefly touched on venue construction being affected by the number of events but did not analyze it deeply. Venue construction has been mentioned a lot in the recent awarding of the Games to Paris (2024) and Los Angeles (2028), in which Paris noted it had only to build “a few venues” including the Olympic Village and a media centre, while Los Angeles promised it did not need to build a single venue, a fact I look at somewhat dubiously.

When Peter Ueberroth was named head of the Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympics, he famously later noted that his first project was to go and read all the previous Official Reports, to get some handle on Olympic Costs and what affects them. He did this at the Helms Foundation Library, which no longer exists, but has been subsumed within the LA84 Foundation Library in Los Angeles, a direct offspring of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Ueberroth noted that, to him, the most important and biggest cost faced by organizing committees (OCOGs) was the need to build venues and he decided he would host the 1984 Olympics by building as few of them as possible. He was helped by the fact that Los Angeles has and had myriad athletic facilities that he was able to use. He did end up having to build a velodrome, a swim stadium, and shooting range, but was able to get the velodrome and swim stadium paid for by sponsors – 7-Eleven and McDonalds, respectively.

So it appears that building venues and stadia is important in terms of the costs of the Olympics, but the question is how important is it, and can we estimate final Olympic costs based on how many venues the OCOG have to build? And is there a way to determine these figures?

Turns out, our Olympic stat group, the OlyMADMen, has compiled information on the venues of all the Olympics, in addition all the other facts our database contains. The venues can be found at our main site – www.olympedia.org – which for now is a private site, although we can provide access. Here is one of those pages of venues:

Further, we have detailed information on each venue, including, in most cases, the dates on which they were constructed. So we have a fairly good estimate of how any venues were constructed for each Olympics. To make this estimate, we made the assumption that any venue built within four years of the Olympics at which it served as a venue was likely constructed for that Olympics.

And what did we find? Here is the table of venue construction since the 1960 Roma Olympics, listing the percentage of all venues that were constructed specifically for each Olympic Games:

Year Host City Venue%
1960 Roma 37.9%
1964 Tokyo 43.3%
1968 Mexico City 24.2%
1972 Munich 30.3%
1976 Montréal 29.2%
1980 Moscow 19.2%
1984 Los Angeles 23.3%
1988 Seoul 46.9%
1992 Barcelona 43.6%
1996 Atlanta 27.6%
2000 Sydney 51.7%
2004 Athens 67.6%
2008 Beijing 67.6%
2012 London 37.9%
2016 Rio de Janeiro 54.1%

That doesn’t tell us much, although Los Angeles and Atlanta did not build many venues, and notably, Moscow in 1980 especially did not.

In our last post on Olympic costs, we looked carefully at how those costs were related to the number of athletes and the number of events. Venues are directly related to events, although you might not think so. But when you add new events, you may need to build new venues. Think of whitewater canoeing, which requires a completely new, fairly expensive venue for only a few events added onto the canoeing program. Or BMX cycling and mountain biking, which each require new venues for the cycling program, although the mountain bike venue is relatively construction free.

So since venues and events are related, we preferred to look at how venue construction related to costs per athlete at each Olympic Games. Here are the numbers for venue construction percentage and costs per athlete since 1960, with all figures corrected against inflation, using 2000 US dollars:

Year Host City Venue% Cost/Athlete
1960 Roma 37.9% $85658
1964 Tokyo 43.3% $2294729
1968 Mexico City 24.2% $176132
1972 Munich 30.3% $392644
1976 Montréal 29.2% $763404
1980 Moscow 19.2% $920500
1984 Los Angeles 23.3% $136960
1988 Seoul 46.9% $712264
1992 Barcelona 43.6% $918012
1996 Atlanta 27.6% $178787
2000 Sydney 51.7% $214034
2004 Athens 67.6% $994191
2008 Beijing 67.6% $2246903
2012 London 37.9% $759428
2016 Rio de Janeiro 54.1% $823864

A couple of Games are obvious outliers here. Mainly Tokyo 1964 and Beijing 2008 are by far the most expensive Olympic Games ever (talking only Summer Olympics), which we knew. Further, omitting those 2 outliers, the modern era of costs and construction seems to begin in 1972, so we looked at venue construction vs cost/athlete since 1972, and omitted the absurdly expensive Beijing Olympics. Here is what that comparative table looks like, ranked in ascending order of venue construction percentage (VCP):

Year VCP Cost/Athlete
1980 19.2% $920500
1984 23.3% $136960
1996 27.6% $178787
1976 29.2% $763404
1972 30.3% $392644
2012 37.9% $759428
1992 43.6% $918012
1988 46.9% $712264
2000 51.7% $214034
2016 54.1% $823864
2004 67.6% $994191

Is there anything we can make of this table, which seems to jump around quite a bit? Here is what the chart looks like for this table:

The dots on the chart are the data points, comparing costs against VCP, while the straight line is the best fit denoting the Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC). The PCC for this comparison is 0.3671. For those not familiar with PCC it analyzes if two sets of data are correlated together, i.e., if one moves up, does the other move up, and vice-versa. The PCC can range from 1 to -1. A PCC of 1 indicates a perfect correlation between two data sets, which rarely exists, while a a PCC of -1 is a perfect negative correlation, meaning if one set of data moves up, the other always moves down. A PCC of 0 equals no significant correlation in either direction.

So what does a PCC of 0.3671 mean? Unfortunately, there is no hard answer to that and it is open to interpretation. It is a positive number, meaning there is some correlation. But it is not very close to 1 so it is, at best, only a fair correlation between Olympic costs per athlete and VCP. Checking the PCC for its statistical significance, one finds it is weak, with a p-value between 0.15 and 0.10.

So this analysis somewhat supports Peter Ueberroth’s original contention, although not strongly. The number of athletes and number of events may still be a better predictor of overall Olympic costs, although venue construction certainly figures into the equation, at least to a degree, and it is directly related to the number of events.

USA OLYMPIANS AND THEIR COLLEGES

This will be somewhat of a different post as it will deal only with USA Olympians. I don’t often do that, trying to always deal with the international set of Olympians but there are some reasons for this.

The post deals with USA Olympians and their college affiliations. This is somewhat unique to the USA that has a strong collegiate sports program, while most other nations focus on club sports.

Further, in some of the work I do with the US Olympic Committee (USOC) I am often asked which states have the most Olympians. That’s a difficult question to answer, trying to tell where somebody is “from.” I am a case in point – born in New Jersey, mostly raised in Massachusetts, lived most of my life in North Carolina, and now live in New Hampshire and South Carolina, I’ve lived in 10 states and 1 Canadian Province. Where the hell am I “from”?

So my default was to list athletes that had been born in a state, died in a state, and attended college in the state, which gave pretty good lists. Unfortunately our database of USA Olympians and their colleges was incomplete.

The reason for that is that we list the affiliations of athletes, but only those at the time of their Olympic participation. So if they attended Harvard, but later competed in the Olympics for the New York Athletic Club, Harvard would not be listed. So I felt like I had to do a fairly complex search to track down as many college affiliations as I could.

It is a Sisyphean task, and one that can never be completed. As I type this, somebody is enrolling in graduate school that I have “missed,” and the list will change yearly, and probably more frequently than that. But with the able assistance of Hilary Evans (@OlyStatman), we’ve come up with very complete lists of USA Olympians and the college affiliations, many of them attending multiple colleges.

As in my day job as a medical journal editor, I must list the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The database we compiled lists USA Olympians only, and only those in medal sports, not including demonstration sports. It does not include USA Olympians who were alternates or did not compete, and it does not include the USA competitors in the Arts Competitions from 1912-48. It also does not include Paralympians.

To be listed with a college affiliation, all we needed to know was if the athlete “attended” such a college – this list says nothing about graduation.

We excluded foreign athletes attending US colleges. Many of our US colleges have hosted foreign athletes who have later competed at the Olympics, but we are not including those, because of the original purpose of the database, as described above.

We excluded coaches, trainers, therapists, physicians, and other ancillary personnel who accompany the Olympic teams. As I attended the greatest university in the United States, and have three degrees from Duke (’73 BA, ’84 MD, ’90 Ortho), I would have liked to include Mike Krzyzewski, and other Duke coaches who have worked at the Olympics, to increase our “Olympian” count, but that is not the purpose of this project.

In summary, the database includes USA Olympians only, who competed in medal sports only, and who attended any known college, USA or otherwise, although the vast majority are US colleges. Many colleges have different lists, including foreign athletes, alternates, demo sport athletes, coaches and affiliate personnel, Paralympians, and others. We have no problems with any such lists, but the purpose of our project was to obtain a list of USA Olympic competitors and their college affiliations so we used the inclusion and exclusion criteria as above.

We have used multiple sources. First we used our Olympedia (www.olympedia.org) database, pulling any college affiliations for USA athletes. We also examined our text bios on the USA Olympians on Olympedia and pulled out the colleges mentioned. Then, we used a USOC database from 1990 that lists college affiliations. All USA Media Guides from 1956-2016 were fully examined. We also checked online lists of colleges and their Olympians. We then were fortunate enough to have contact with CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America), via Doug Vance, their Executive Director, and Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff. Doug contacted his membership and many of them sent us lists of their Olympians. Thanx to Doug and Bill for their help with this project.

Finally, Hilary Evans (@OlyStatman) did what Hilary always does, and better than anybody, which is find things nobody else can. Hilary went thru the entire list and found many missing and obscure affiliations.

The entire database of USA Olympians and their colleges can be found in the attached Excel spreadsheet (USA Olympians Colleges), but let’s look a little at who the leading colleges are.

The most prominent finding is that California colleges have contributed huge numbers of Olympians to the @TeamUSA effort. In fact the four leading schools, in terms of number of athletes, are: 1) Stanford, 2), UCLA, 3), USC, and 4) Cal Berkeley. Here is the top 20 by # of athletes, games attended, and medals won (Games = # of games attended by their athletes):

College Athletes Games Medals Rank
Stanford University 289 408 282 1
UCLA 277 394 241 2
Southern Cal 251 357 228 3
U Cal Berkeley 212 283 201 4
Harvard University 210 276 121 5
Yale University 149 187 113 6
University of Michigan 145 189 131 7
University of Minnesota 140 191 68 8
University of Pennsylvania 131 166 71 9
University of Colorado 128 189 27 10
University of Washington 122 159 72 11
University of Wisconsin 121 172 74 =12
Dartmouth University 121 169 40 =12
The Ohio State University 104 147 98 =14
University of Texas 104 144 123 =14
Indiana University 103 133 95 16
Princeton University 102 135 64 17
Cornell University 92 114 47 18
University of North Carolina 89 121 52 19
Columbia University 80 117 59 20

If we break this down by state, one of the original purposes of this search, this becomes even more dramatic. California has almost three times as many Olympians attending college there as the next US state, New York. Here are the top 10 states by # of Olympians:

State Athletes Games Golds Medals
California 1668 2363 678 1302
New York 559 795 110 239
Massachusetts 456 604 89 257
Pennsylvania 394 497 67 184
Mchigan 313 415 99 219
Colorado 288 431 28 76
Texas 276 364 157 254
Illinois 238 318 44 120
Minnesota 210 293 22 87
Connecticut 205 262 81 153

Pretty dominant for California, isn’t it? Of note, athletes from California colleges have almost as many gold medals and medals as the next 9 highest ranking US states.

What about if we look at Summer and Winter? Surely California colleges cannot have the most Winter Olympians, can they? No, they don’t, that honor going to the University of Minnesota. Here are the lists of the top 10 for Summer and Winter USA Olympians:

Season College Athletes Games Gold Medals
Summer UCLA 280 396 136 243
Summer Stanford University 280 394 144 275
Summer Southern Cal 249 352 114 228
Summer U Cal Berkeley 202 269 124 199
Summer Harvard University 160 200 36 85
Summer Yale University 133 170 52 101
Summer University of Michigan 129 169 71 121
Summer University of Pennsylvania 127 162 22 70
Summer University of Washington 115 149 34 70
Summer University of Texas 104 144 80 123

 

Season College Athletes Games Gold Medals
Winter University of Minnesota 93 122 15 49
Winter Dartmouth University 79 113 5 22
Winter University of Colorado 61 91 0 9
Winter Harvard University 50 76 11 36
Winter University of Utah 46 83 3 9
Winter University of Wisconsin 44 73 8 32
Winter University of Vermont 39 61 1 5
Winter Boston College 37 51 2 20
Winter Boston University 32 44 5 22
Winter Northern Michigan University 31 51 4 31
Winter Westminster College 29 45 2 5

What about by gender? Are there any differences among the colleges USA men and women Olympians have attended? Not really big differences, but here are those top 10 lists:

Gender College Athletes Games Gold Medals
Female UCLA 119 180 74 131
Female Stanford University 110 163 70 131
Female Southern Cal 71 111 38 84
Female U Cal Berkeley 69 102 49 90
Female University of North Carolina 58 85 22 33
Female University of Texas 45 61 29 44
Female University of Wisconsin 42 61 6 29
Female University of Florida 38 60 30 52
Female University of Arizona 37 57 28 51
Female Harvard University 36 58 7 30

 

Gender College Athletes Games Gold Medals
Male Stanford University 187 255 81 154
Male Southern Cal 185 252 76 145
Male Harvard University 183 232 43 100
Male UCLA 166 223 62 112
Male U Cal Berkeley 149 189 82 118
Male Yale University 134 168 53 102
Male University of Pennsylvania 120 150 19 59
Male University of Michigan 117 152 66 114
Male University of Minnesota 111 145 17 46
Male University of Colorado 97 144 6 21

It does get more interesting when we look at sports and years, as many colleges often have certain sports for which they are best known (did I mention Duke and basketball?). Here are the leading 2-3 colleges for each of the sports on the Olympic Program:

Sport College Athletes Games
Alpine Skiing University of Colorado 29 40
Alpine Skiing Dartmouth University 22 31
Sport College Athletes Games
Archery Arizona State University 5 9
Archery Texas A&M University 3 7
Sport College Athletes Games
Athletics Southern Cal 87 121
Athletics UCLA 72 126
Athletics Stanford University 54 64
Sport College Athletes Games
Badminton Arizona State University 5 7
Badminton UCLA 4 4
Sport College Athletes Games
Baseball Stanford University 5 5
Baseball LSU 4 4
Sport College Athletes Games
Basketball UCLA 15 15
Basketball University of Tennessee 12 17
Basketball University of North Carolina 12 13
Sport College Athletes Games
Beach Volleyball UCLA 13 16
Beach Volleyball Stanford University 4 7
Beach Volleyball U Cal Santa Barbara 4 5
Sport College Athletes Games
Biathlon Dartmouth University 12 15
Biathlon University of Vermont 5 10
Biathlon Middlebury College 5 6
Sport College Athletes Games
Bobsledding SUNY Plattsburgh 8 9
Bobsledding Cornell University 5 6
Sport College Athletes Games
Boxing Northern Michigan University 7 7
Boxing Idaho State University 4 4
Boxing The Ohio State University 3 3
Sport College Athletes Games
Canoeing University of Maryland 13 20
Canoeing Cal State Long Beach 7 9
Canoeing Dartmouth University 7 8
Sport College Athletes Games
Cross-Country Skiing Dartmouth University 17 29
Cross-Country Skiing University of Vermont 12 21
Cross-Country Skiing Middlebury College 9 14
Sport College Athletes Games
Curling Bemidji State University 5 6
Curling University of Wisconsin 4 5
Curling University of North Dakota 3 3
Sport College Athletes Games
Cycling University of Colorado 13 16
Cycling Penn State University 4 7
Cycling University of Arizona 4 6
Cycling University of Wisconsin 4 5
Cycling Cal State Northridge 4 4
Cycling U Cal Berkeley 4 4
Sport College Athletes Games
Diving The Ohio State University 21 29
Diving Indiana University 17 22
Diving Southern Cal 12 18
Sport College Athletes Games
Equestrian Events US Military Academy 19 23
Equestrian Events University of Pennsylvania 3 10
Sport College Athletes Games
Fencing Columbia University 28 45
Fencing New York University 25 45
Fencing University of Pennsylvania 15 25
Sport College Athletes Games
Figure Skating Harvard University 13 24
Figure Skating Colorado College 8 11
Figure Skating University of Colorado 7 9
Sport College Athletes Games
Football University of North Carolina 20 31
Football UCLA 17 22
Football University of Virginia 16 19
Sport College Athletes Games
Freestyle Skiing University of Utah 11 23
Freestyle Skiing Westminster College 9 12
Sport College Athletes Games
Golf Harvard University 3 3
Golf Columbia University 2 2
Golf University of Georgia 2 2
Sport College Athletes Games
Gymnastics UCLA 30 33
Gymnastics Penn State University 11 12
Gymnastics University of Illinois 10 15
Sport College Athletes Games
Handball Adelphi University 7 11
Handball US Air Force Academy 4 4
Sport College Athletes Games
Hockey University of North Carolina 17 23
Hockey Old Dominion University 10 11
Hockey Princeton University 9 14
Sport College Athletes Games
Ice Hockey University of Minnesota 68 83
Ice Hockey Boston College 32 42
Ice Hockey Harvard University 29 41
Sport College Athletes Games
Judo San José State University 15 22
Judo University of Colorado 6 7
Sport College Athletes Games
Luge University of Montana 5 9
Luge DeVry University 5 8
Sport College Athletes Games
Modern Pentathlon US Military Academy 22 23
Modern Pentathlon University of Texas 3 4
Sport College Athletes Games
Nordic Combined Dartmouth University 7 8
Nordic Combined University of Denver 6 6
Sport College Athletes Games
Rowing Harvard University 72 94
Rowing University of Washington 66 80
Rowing U Cal Berkeley 58 67
Sport College Athletes Games
Rugby Football Stanford University 15 18
Rugby Football U Cal Berkeley 8 9
Rugby Football Santa Clara University 5 7
Sport College Athletes Games
Sailing Harvard University 19 20
Sailing Yale University 12 17
Sailing Princeton University 10 12
Sport College Athletes Games
Shooting West Virginia University 10 16
Shooting University of Colorado 7 11
Shooting Troy University 6 10
Sport College Athletes Games
Short-Track Speedskating Northern Michigan University 19 29
Short-Track Speedskating University of Colorado 4 6
Sport College Athletes Games
Skeleton SUNY Plattsburgh 2 3
Sport College Athletes Games
Ski Jumping Dartmouth University 6 7
Ski Jumping University of Vermont 4 6
Ski Jumping University of Wyoming 4 4
Sport College Athletes Games
Snowboarding Westminster College 5 7
Snowboarding Colorado Mountain College 3 6
Sport College Athletes Games
Softball UCLA 11 20
Softball University of Arizona 4 8
Softball Cal State Fresno 4 7
Sport College Athletes Games
Speedskating University of Wisconsin 11 23
Speedskating University of Minnesota 10 16
Speedskating Marquette University 7 15
Sport College Athletes Games
Swimming Stanford University 60 81
Swimming Southern Cal 59 78
Swimming University of Texas 51 72
Sport College Athletes Games
Synchronized Swimming The Ohio State University 5 8
Synchronized Swimming Stanford University 5 7
Synchronized Swimming DeAnza College 5 5
Sport College Athletes Games
Table Tennis Princeton University 2 2
Sport College Athletes Games
Tennis Stanford University 6 10
Tennis Harvard University 5 5
Sport College Athletes Games
Volleyball Southern Cal 24 34
Volleyball UCLA 19 25
Volleyball Stanford University 17 27
Sport College Athletes Games
Water Polo Stanford University 39 64
Water Polo UCLA 37 52
Water Polo Southern Cal 27 35
Sport College Athletes Games
Weightlifting Pikes Peak Community College 4 5
Weightlifting The Ohio State University 3 6
Weightlifting University of Illinois 3 6
Weightlifting Southwestern Louisiana University 3 4
Weightlifting U Colorado-Colorado Springs 3 3
Sport College Athletes Games
Wrestling Oklahoma State University 29 37
Wrestling University of Oklahoma 15 23
Wrestling Iowa State University 14 15

The above are not separated by gender and you can see the female influence in several sports, notably in basketball, where the University of Tennessee ranks highly, and football (soccer), where the University of North Carolina ranks first, both based primarily on their female players.

Certain schools appear frequently on the above lists, as you would expect. Notably, Stanford and UCLA are among the top 3 in 9 sports, while Dartmouth, Harvard, and the University of Colorado are listed in 6 sports.

And here is how the top colleges have changed over the years, looking only at the top USA colleges represented at each Games:

Season Year College Athletes
Summer 1896 Harvard University 6
Summer 1900 University of Pennsylvania 12
Summer 1904 Christian Brothers' College St. Louis 11
Summer Yale University 11
Summer 1906 Yale University 3
Summer 1908 Cornell University 9
Summer 1912 Cornell University 8
Summer Harvard University 8
Summer 1920 US Naval Academy 22
Summer 1924 Stanford University 19
Summer 1928 Southern Cal 13
Summer 1932 Southern Cal 15
Summer 1936 Southern Cal 21
Summer 1948 U Cal Berkeley 14
Summer Southern Cal 14
Summer 1952 Southern Cal 17
Summer 1956 Southern Cal 19
Summer 1960 Southern Cal 23
Summer 1964 Southern Cal 26
Summer 1968 UCLA 16
Summer 1972 UCLA 27
Summer 1976 UCLA 31
Summer 1984 UCLA 35
Summer 1984 U Cal Berkeley 16
Summer 1988 UCLA 28
Summer 1992 UCLA 27
Summer 1996 UCLA 35
Summer 2000 UCLA 40
Summer 2004 UCLA 34
Summer 2008 Stanford University 31
Summer 2012 Stanford University 29
Summer 2016 Stanford University 30

 

Season Year College Athletes
Winter 1920 Dartmouth University 2
Winter 1924 Harvard University 2
Winter 1928 Harvard University 3
Winter 1932 Yale University 7
Winter 1936 Dartmouth University 4
Winter Harvard University 4
Winter 1948 Dartmouth University 8
Winter 1952 University of Minnesota 9
Winter 1956 University of Minnesota 7
Winter 1960 University of Minnesota 9
Winter 1964 University of Minnesota 13
Winter 1968 University of Minnesota 10
Winter 1972 University of Colorado 11
Winter 1976 University of Wisconsin 9
Winter 1980 University of Minnesota 9
Winter 1984 University of Minnesota 9
Winter 1988 University of Vermont 7
Winter 1992 Dartmouth University 9
Winter 1994 Northern Michigan University 11
Winter 1998 University of Colorado 12
Winter 2002 University of Utah 12
Winter 2006 University of Utah 11
Winter 2010 Westminster College 18
Winter 2014 Westminster College 19

There you can see some trends. In the early years of US Olympic participation the Ivy League schools contributed the most Summer Olympians, while since 1924 it has always been a California school.

Finally, one thing is obvious about this analysis – there have been a lot of smart young men and women on @TeamUSA, but we went a bit further. What about graduate schools?

We have that information as well, broken down by type of graduate or professional school, so here we list the top schools by each type, but also the known number of USA Olympians for each type of graduate or professional school.

Type GradProf Athletes
Business School Harvard University 8
Business School Stanford University 6
Business School University of Pennsylvania 4
Business School Totals 52
Type GradProf Athletes
Chiropractic School Cleveland Chiropractic College 2
Chiropractic School Totals 5
Type GradProf Athletes
Dental School Indiana University 1
Dental School Loyola University New Orleans 1
Dental School New York University 1
Dental School Temple University 1
Dental School The Ohio State University 1
Dental School University of the Pacific 1
Dental School Totals 6
Type GradProf Athletes
Graduate School Columbia University 13
Graduate School Stanford University 10
Graduate School The Ohio State University 10
Graduate School University of Pennsylvania 10
Graduate School Totals 255
Type GradProf Athletes
Law School Harvard University 11
Law School Columbia University 4
Law School Cornell University 3
Law School Stanford University 3
Law School U Cal Berkeley 3
Law School University of Chicago 3
Law School Southern Cal 3
Law School Totals 70
Type GradProf Athletes
Medical School Harvard University 4
Medical School University of Pennsylvania 4
Medical School Columbia University 3
Medical School Stanford University 3
Medical School University of Cincinnati 3
Medical School Totals 69
Type GradProf Athletes
Rhodes Scholar Oxford University (GBR) (Balliol College) 2
Rhodes Scholar Oxford University (GBR) (Magdalen College) 2
Rhodes Scholar Oxford University (GBR) (St. John's College) 2
Rhodes Scholar Totals 9
Type GradProf Athletes
Veterinary School University of Pennsylvania 2
Veterinary School Totals 5

Impressive that these tremendous athletes, who spend so much time training and competing, have also excelled academically. As to the Rhodes Scholars, there have been 34 known Rhodes Scholars among all Olympians, with 9 of those coming from the United States. Here is that list:

Name NOC Sport Rhodes
Bill Bradley USA BAS 1965 Rhodes Scholar – Worcester College
John Carleton USA CCS/NCO 1922 Rhodes Scholar – Magdalen College
Eddie Eagan USA BOB/BOX 1922 Rhodes Scholar – New College
Tom McMillen USA BAS 1974 Rhodes Scholar – University College
John Misha Petkevich USA FSK 1973 Rhodes Scholar – Magdalen College
Annette Salmeen USA SWI 1997 Rhodes Scholar – St. John’s College
Bill Stevenson USA ATH 1922 Rhodes Scholar – Balliol College
Norm Taber USA ATH 1913 Rhodes Scholar – St. John’s College
Alan Valentine USA RUG 1922 Rhodes Scholar – Balliol College

So that’s it. Full details can be found in the spreadsheet that lists all USA Olympians and their academic affiliations, which is linked above. Let us know if you see any errors or additions. As we stated, the list can never be complete and almost by necessity, is certainly incomplete.

 

Olympic Costs – Rio 2016 and Future Projections

This is a revision of a post I did last week on Olympic costs, related to the recent announcement of Rio 2016 costs. I withdrew the post when an error was noted in parts of one column. Unfortunately that column affected several others, so I had to re-do the stats. Thanx to Rich Perelman who noted an error on the numbers for LA 1984, which alerted me to the error in that column.

This revision will be some of what I presented last week, but the revision of the data actually revealed some stats that were new to me and could be important in predicting participation figures and Organizing Committee (OCOG) costs at future Olympic Games, so I will discuss those in some detail. This will be somewhat of a long post but I think an important one.

The Rio de Janeiro Organizing Committee announced the final budget figures for the 2016 Olympics, with expenses of $13.1 billion (US). A huge number and well over the original projected expenses predicted during Rio’s candidature – the Oxford Olympics 2016 Study had Rio costs estimated as $4.6 billion. As I’ll discuss further on, candidature projected expenses are usually not close to the final numbers, but perhaps this post can help with that.

So how expensive was Rio relative to other recent Olympics? We’re only going to look at the numbers since the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which really started the “modern” era (post-television) of Olympic Games. The table below gives the figures for final expenses given by the Organizing Committees in their final reports. More important is to know how these are corrected against inflation (using US dollar inflation from historical data), which is noted in the right-hand column. The numbers below are given in millions (106) of US dollars, with 2000 as the benchmark year, so $1926 = $1,926,000,000. You can see how important the inflation corrections (IC) are. Tokyo 1964 spent $1.926 billion, but in actuality that would be $11.788 billion in 2000 dollars, more expensive in real dollars than any recent Games except Beijing.

Year Host City 106$ IC
1964 Tokyo $1926 $11788
1968 Mexico City $175 $979
1972 Munich $612 $2793
1976 Montréal $1383 $4636
1980 Moscow $2000 $4841
1984 Los Angeles $546 $931
1988 Seoul $4047 $6021
1992 Barcelona $7000 $8616
1996 Atlanta $1686 $1849
2000 Sydney $2279 $2279
2004 Athens $11600 $10500
2008 Beijing $30486 $24493
2012 London $10778 $7988
2016 Rio de Janeiro $13100 $9212

However, Beijing 2008 was a much, much bigger Olympics than Tokyo 1964. Beijing hosted 203 nations, 10,901 athletes, and 302 events; while Tokyo only hosted 93 nations, 5,137 athletes, and 163 events. A huge difference.

The important comparison between Games appears to be to use constant dollars, correcting for inflation, but also to correct for the number of athletes competing, and the number of events held.  You can do a regression analysis and see that both of those factors, as they increase, also increase OCOG costs – I’ll spare you that analysis. More athletes cost more – you have to feed them, house them, and protect them, and some organizing committees also provide travel expenses for some nations’ athletes. More events greatly increase costs because it often means new venues to be built, more security issues for each event, and more facility and personnel costs for each event.

I’ve used this before, but it turns out that the most effective comparison comes when you use the expenses, per athlete, per event, corrected for inflation, which I term EPAECI

EPAECI = expenses / (athletes * events), corrected for inflation

Now let’s see how Rio comes out when we do this comparison.

Year Host City IC Athletes Events EPAECI
1964 Tokyo $11788 5137 163 $14078
1968 Mexico City $978 5557 172 $1024
1972 Munich $2792 7113 195 $2014
1976 Montréal $4636 6073 198 $3856
1980 Moscow $4840 5259 203 $4534
1984 Los Angeles $931 6798 221 $620
1988 Seoul $6020 8453 237 $3005
1992 Barcelona $8616 9386 257 $3572
1996 Atlanta $1848 10340 271 $660
2000 Sydney $2279 10648 300 $713
2004 Athens $10499 10561 301 $3303
2008 Beijing $24493 10901 302 $7440
2012 London $7988 10519 302 $2515
2016 Rio de Janeiro $9212 11182 306 $2692

The last column is the important one – EPAECI – the statistic of interest, and now Rio 2016 doesn’t look so bad. In fact their EPAECI of $2,692 compares favorably to recent Olympics. Its almost the same as London, and less than Athens 2004, Barcelona 1992, and Seoul 1988. Many of the Games from 1964-2016 had an EPAECI in the $2,500-$3,000 range, and Rio was on the low end of that range. Admittedly the $13.1 billion was well above original projections, but below I’ll show how we can likely actually predict what the final number might be, based only on two relatively known factors.

Here is what the EPAECI looks like graphically:

A couple things stand out from this comparison. Tokyo 1964 is by far the most expensive Olympic Games of all-time (summer only – Sochi crushes it including the Winter Games). In fact, Rome 1960 had an EPAECI of $571 so the cost inflation at Tokyo 1964 is an Olympic record of sorts. Secondly, Beijing 2008 is the second most expensive Olympics ever, at a $7,440 EPAECI, which most people probably suspected. Thirdly, Rio now does not look like quite so bad in that chart, does it?

Further, 9 Olympics from the cohort of 14 were fairly similar – there were the expensive outliers of Tokyo 1964 and Beijing 2008, and the parsimonious outliers of Los Angeles 1984, Atlanta 1996, and Sydney 2000, but there are not major differences between the other 9 Olympics Games in term of EPAECI.

One might say that Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980 were over the historical average, but I would argue that they were not. Both Olympics had boycotts – 1976 by African nations opposed to a recent New Zealand rugby team visiting South Africa in the era of apartheid; and 1980 by a US-led boycott over the recent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Only 92 nations competed at Montreal, and 80 at Moscow, versus 121 at Munich in 1972. About 30 nations boycotted Montreal, and circa 60 boycotted Moscow – it’s not easy to be precise about those numbers. So there should have been about 122 nations at Montreal, and 140 at Moscow, and Montreal and Moscow planned for that many nations, and the requisite increased number of athletes, and spent money based on that planning. If you assume constant numbers of athletes per NOC, Montreal would have had 8,053 athletes and Moscow 9,203. Using those numbers the EPAECI for Montreal comes in at $2,908, and Moscow at $2,591, well within the historical $2,500-$3,000 range.

Finally, three Olympics stand out for their penury – Los Angeles 1984, Atlanta 1996, and Sydney 2000. What do they have in common? None of them were government-run Olympics, with all of them run as businesses that had to balance the books – and they did. These Olympics prove it can be done, but not by increasing costs at every corner, and trying to out-do the previous OCOG, or keeping up with the Joneses. Peter Ueberroth started this policy with Los Angeles 1984. Not always well liked while he was doing it, he should be applauded for showing how it can be done.

Of note, using the arguments above for Montreal and Moscow, the smaller 1984 boycott also makes Los Angeles 1984 look even better, as their EPAECI could have been as low as $560, a number not seen since Melbourne 1956.

However, OCOGs cannot keep costs low if they are forced to add more and more athletes and more and more events, and that is a problem. Rio had 306 events. Tokyo 2020 will likely have 339 events, with the recently announced addition of 15 events, and addition of 5 new sports (18 events) – baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing.

The onus, therefore, is on the IOC to decrease costs by minimizing the number of events and keeping the number of athletes as low as possible. The Olympic 2000 Commission, formed ad hoc after the 1999 Olympic Bribery Scandal, recommended maxima of 10,000 athletes, and 300 events. No Summer Olympics since 2000 has achieved either goal.

As I studied the data in looking carefully at the EPAECI, I realized that there is a way to predict how many athletes will compete at an Olympic Games, and it’s very accurate. Since we have reached the 21st century era of 200+ nations competing, and circa 300 events, the following formula has accurately predicted (within 1.5% in each case), the number of athletes that will compete at the Olympics:

Athletes = # Nations * # Events * 0.174

So since the IOC wants every nation to compete, the only effective way to keep down the number of athletes competing is to limit the number of events. Unfortunately, it seems to be going the other way. The only other factor that can be changed in the above formula is the 0.174, which would require having fewer athletes per nation, probably limiting the number of athletes allowed per event, or having stricter qualifying standards.

Now given that we can predict how many athletes compete, it dawned on me that we can also reasonably predict the costs of future Olympic Games. These are not the costs projected by Bid Committees, but actual costs that the OCOG will announce in their final reports. As Dick Pound once said, “Some of the greatest fiction can be found in bid committee books.”

We saw above that most (9/14) Olympics (since 1964) have had an EPAECI in the $2,500-$3,000 range, and I just showed how can we predict the number of athletes that will compete. The number of NOCs competing is now going to be pretty constant at 206 – there are just not many nations left in the world that could compete. If we know the number of events, since we can use NOC = 206, we can use our EPAECI range to estimate final Olympic costs. Let’s see how this works out for 2020-2028, comparing them to 2008-2016. Here we have to project US dollar inflation in the future, and I have used 2.5%/year, which is close to the historical mean.

We have to pick an EPAECI # for Tokyo 2020, Paris 2024, and Los Angeles 2028 (assuming that is how it works out). Tokyo 2020 seems to be overrunning cost estimates, and its previous Olympics set a very poor example, so I will use EPAECI = $3,000 for 2020, on the high end. I will assume Paris 2024 can come in on the low side, so will use EPAECI = $2,500. For Los Angeles 2028, I will go very low, since LA84 was only $620 (or $560 – see above), and Atlanta 1996 was only $660. It appears US-based Olympics (and Sydney 2000), run as businesses, can contain costs. I will not go that low for 2028 but will choose EPAECI = $1,000, well below historical average, but above recent US-Games precedents. In the below table, I have also projected slight increases in number of events for 2024 and 2028. Here are the predicted costs:

Year Host NOCs Athlts Evnts EPAECI 106$ IC
2008 Beijing 203 10901 302 $7440 $30486 $24493
2012 London 203 10519 302 $2515 $10778 $7988
2016 Rio 206 11182 306 $2692 $13100 $9212
2020 Tokyo 206 12150 339 $3000 $19395 $12357
2024 Paris 206 12260 342 $2500 $18161 $10482
2028 LA 206 12360 345 $1000 $8155 $4266

The last 2 columns show the projections, first in actual dollars, and then corrected for inflation. Paris 2024 would come in cheaper than Tokyo 2020, but actually more expensive than London or Rio, and that is because of the increased number of events.

Here are what the figures look like, graphically, first in actual and predicted dollars, and then corrected for inflation:

You can see in the above chart how good LA 2028 would look, cost-wise, and also that Paris 2024 will likely come in relatively more expensive than Rio 2016, due to the increased number of events.

Los Angeles 2028 could be the least expensive Olympics since Sydney 2000, at just over $8.1 billion. Since previous US-based Olympics, and Sydney, had EPAECI much lower than $1,000, that estimate for Los Angeles may well be high. Further, I suspect that number for LA 2028 is high, because all of its venues are already built, as opposed to most OCOGs.

There are several take home points from this analysis. 1) Olympic costs are related to the number of athletes competing and the number of events contested, two parameters that are largely outside of OCOG control, but actually controlled by IOC decisions; 2) The IOC can only control these Olympic costs by limiting the number of events contested, although they are going in the other direction, or by limiting the number of athletes per event and per nation, either by having less athletes per nation in each event, or with stricter qualifying standards; 3) Rio 2016 exceeded its predicted costs by a significant factor, but it was not relatively more expensive than recent Games; 4) This highlights that early predictions of Olympic costs by OCOGs are invariably low, and should be looked at with a jaundiced eye; 5) The future number of potential athletes competing can be predicted fairly accurately with a simple formula; 6) Using the predicted number of athletes competing, reasonable estimates can be made of potential Olympic costs using the EPAECI factor. The EPAECI-predicted costs will almost certainly exceed the predicted costs announced by bid committees and OCOGs; and finally, 7) Olympic costs have been well-controlled in the past 50 years by OCOGs that have not been government-run but run as businesses with a careful eye on the bottom line. It can be done.

Olympic Program Metastasis

The IOC today announced multiple changes to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Programme, adding numerous mixed events, several “street” events (such as 3×3 hoops), and trying to equalize the program by genders. One thing this will do, however, is greatly increase the size of the 2020 Olympics, something the IOC has been trying to ward off.

In 2000, in the wake of the Olympic Bribery Scandal, the IOC formed the IOC 2000 Commission to look at ways to revise the Olympic Movement and Games. Two of the recommendations were to limit the size of the Summer Olympics to 300 events and 10,000 athletes. Rio 2016 had 306 events and 11,182 athletes, and no Olympics since 2000 has had less than 10,500 competitors.

The IOC announced that there will now be 321 events at Tokyo, and by limiting athlete quotas in many sports, will decrease the number of competitors by 285 athletes. However, they did not take into account the 5 new proposed sports, which have been assumed to be a fait accompli – baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing. If one looks at the IOC’s own publication on this – see  https://stillmed.olympic.org/media/Document%20Library/OlympicOrg/…/Olympic-Pr…  – that would add another 18 events, bringing the total to 339 events for Tokyo 2020. Further, the IOC is projecting 474 additional athletes in the new sports, which more than eliminates the savings from the new sports quotas. This would bring the projected Rio total to about 11,500 athletes, and I would not be surprised to see it reach close to 12,000.

Here is how the Summer Olympic program has expanded since WW2:

Events Men Wom Mix Tot Increase Men% Women%
1948 112 19 5 136 5.4% 86.0% 17.6%
1952 117 25 7 149 9.6% 83.2% 21.5%
1956 116 26 9 151 1.3% 82.8% 23.2%
1960 113 29 8 150 -0.7% 80.7% 24.7%
1964 119 33 11 163 8.7% 79.8% 27.0%
1968 115 39 18 172 5.5% 77.3% 33.1%
1972 132 43 20 195 13.4% 77.9% 32.3%
1976 130 49 19 198 1.5% 75.3% 34.3%
1980 134 50 19 203 2.5% 75.4% 34.0%
1984 144 62 15 221 8.9% 71.9% 34.8%
1988 151 72 14 237 7.2% 69.6% 36.3%
1992 159 86 12 257 8.4% 66.5% 38.1%
1996 163 97 11 271 5.4% 64.2% 39.9%
2000 168 120 12 300 10.7% 60.0% 44.0%
2004 166 125 10 301 0.3% 58.5% 44.9%
2008 165 127 10 302 0.3% 57.9% 45.4%
2012 162 132 8 302 0.0% 56.3% 46.4%
2016 161 136 9 306 1.3% 55.6% 47.4%
2020 156 147 18 321 4.9% 54.2% 51.4%
2020Plus 165 156 18 339 10.8% 54.0% 51.3%

2020Plus are the numbers assuming the 5 new sports are accepted as proposed. That would come to 339 events and a 10.8% increase over the size of the Olympic Program. Since 1948 that will be the second biggest increase, after a 13.4% increase for Munich 1972. It is also about the same as Sydney 2000, which increased by 10.7%. The Munich increase was driven by a few new sports (archery, handball, and judo returned to the program after missing 1968), and new weight classes for men in weightlifting and wrestling. The Sydney increase was from a few new sports / disciplines (trampoline, triathlon, taekwondo), but mainly from adding women’s sports and events – modern pentathlon, water polo, weightlifting.

If you look at the table you will see the IOC is approaching gender equity with the program. Women will be able to compete in 51.3% of the 2020Plus Program, while men will be eligible in 54.0% of the Program (it adds to > 100% because of mixed events).

That is admirable and there are certainly no complaints about it. It follows Bach’s proposals in Agenda 2020 to have an event-based program instead of a sport-based one, and to achieve gender equity. But with a proposed 339 events, and maybe approaching 12,000 athletes, one has to wonder when the current era is one in which cities are refusing to bid for Olympics because they have become too big and too expensive. It may require further IOC legerdemain to reverse that trend.

Oldest Living Olympians

Adolph Kiefer died this morning (5 May) at his home in Wadsworth, Illinois. He was 1 month shy of 99-years-old. Kiefer was the world’s greatest backstroker in the 1930s and won a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in the 100 backstroke. At his death he was the seond oldest living Olympic medalist and gold medalist.

Our OlyMADMen group has one remarkable guy, Canadian Paul, actually known as Paul Tchir, whose hobby is studying the ages of Olympians and determining the oldest living this or that. He has a private Wikipedia page where he tracks these – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Canadian_Paul/Olympics.

For the record here are the current oldest Olympian records, courtesy of Canadian Paul’s webpage.

Oldest Living Olympian / US Olympian

John Lysak           16 Aug 1914   None      USA               1936 WLT

 

Oldest Living Olympic Medalist

Clara Marangoni    13 Nov 1915   Silver      ITA                1928 GYM

 

Oldest Living Olympic Gold Medalist

Durward Knowles  02 Nov 1917   Gold       BAH/GBR       Multiple SAI

 

Oldest Living US Olympic Medalist

John Russell         02 Feb 1920   Bronze    USA               1948 EQU

 

Oldest Living US Olympic Gold Medalist

Cliff Bourland        01 Jan 1921    Gold       USA               1948 ATH

 

For the record, besides Lysak, there is one other US Olympian still alive from the 1936 Berlin Olympics – Iris Cummings, a swimmer who was born 21 December 1920. Canadian Paul lists 9 Olympians in all still alive from those Games. There are no known Olympians alive from the 1932 Olympics, although Clara Marangoni (above) competed at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

Winter Olympic All-Time Medal Table Predictions

With the 2018 Olympic Winter Games now less than 10 months away, I have started looking at some stats related to the Winter Olympics. Since I often work with the US Olympic Committee at the Olympics, this has also entailed looking at @TeamUSA stats. One interesting stat is that the USA has won 96 gold medals at the Winter Olympics, and barring a complete reversal of recent performances, will go over 100 in PyeongChang.

I was also interested in how the USA stacks up on the overall medal list, and I noted that they are second, behind Norway in both gold medals and total medals won, but also that, over the last few Winter Olympics, they have moving up the list. The top four nations at the Olympic Games, in terms of medals won, are as follows:

Rank NOC G S B TM
1 Norway 118 113 101 332
2 United States 96 103 85 284
3 Germany 87 85 58 230
4 Austria 59 78 81 218

I’m not going to look any further at Austria. It looks like it is close to the top 3 nations, only slightly behind Germany, but in fact, it is much further behind than the above stats reveal. That is because Germany only includes medals won as a combined Germany, and from 1968-88 both West Germany (FRG) and East Germany (GDR) competed and if you include those medals, Austria is far behind.

Over the last few Olympics, the USA has improved a great deal and seemed to be closing in on Norway in terms of medals won and golds won. I was curious if this trend continued, when the USA might overtake Norway, if they did at all, or perhaps Germany might also do so.

Germany would be ahead now if the country had not been divided. Counting Germany and the GDR, they would have 126 gold medals and 340 medals, and lead both lists. Counting Germany and West Germany, they would have 98 golds, and 269 medals, distancing Austria. If you count a combined German team, counting all German medals, they have 137 golds and 379 medals, far ahead in both categories. That is, however, somewhat of a specious argument as from 1968-88 such a United Germany would have had 6-8 competitors in many individual events, far more than usually allowed.

For future predictions, the important years to look at are 1992-2014, because in 1992 Germany was again a unified nation. In addition, in the 21st century, Norway has not led the medal list, either in golds, or total medals, at any Winter Olympics, except for golds in 2002. It would appear that both Germany and the United States are catching up.

So are Norway’s days at the top of the Winter Olympics medal table numbered? We looked at the average number of golds and medals won at each Winter Olympics since 1992 by Norway, Germany, and the USA. We then predicted what would happen at the next few Winter Olympics, if all three nations continued to win medals at the same rate they have since 1992.

Here’s what the table looks like, going from 1992-2070:

Year NOC G Meds NOC G Meds NOC G Meds
1992 NOR 63 188 USA 47 134 GER 25 63
1994 NOR 73 214 USA 53 147 GER 34 87
1998 NOR 83 239 USA 59 160 GER 46 116
2002 NOR 96 264 USA 69 194 GER 58 152
2006 NOR 98 283 USA 78 219 GER 69 181
2010 NOR 107 306 USA 87 256 GER 79 211
2014 NOR 118 332 USA 96 284 GER 87 230
2018 NOR 127 356 USA 104 309 GER 97 258
2022 NOR 136 380 USA 112 334 GER 108 286
2026 NOR 146 404 USA 121 359 GER 118 314
2030 NOR 155 428 USA 129 384 GER 128 341
2034 NOR 164 452 USA 137 409 GER 139 369
2038 NOR 173 476 USA 145 434 GER 149 397
2042 NOR 182 500 USA 153 459 GER 159 425
2046 NOR 191 524 USA 161 484 GER 170 453
2050 NOR 201 548 USA 170 509 GER 180 481
2054 NOR 210 572 USA 178 534 GER 190 508
2058 NOR 219 596 USA 186 559 GER 201 536
2062 NOR 228 620 USA 194 584 GER 211 564
2066 NOR 237 644 USA 202 609 GER 221 592
2070 NOR 246 668 USA 210 634 GER 232 620

That’s a pretty busy table but here is what the chart of these projected medal tables look like:

As you can see in this chart, Norway starts out ahead in medals and gold medals, and stays ahead through 2070, although Germany and the United States both close the gaps slightly.

So will the USA or Germany topple Norway from the top of the Winter Olympic medal table? Not in my lifetime, and probably not in this century, unless things change.

Now it may be that they will change. The trend has been to add more and more X-generation and X-Games sports, such as freestyle skiing and snowboarding, and the United States has excelled at these sports. Germany not so much, but Germany is dominant in sliding sports. Unfortunately they’ve run out of them since we have sports going down the mountain sitting (bobsled), lying prone (skeleton), and lying supine (luge). I’m not sure how else they can slide down the mountain, unless they come up with a standing sliding event – ice surfing?

The above also assumes that the number of events on the Winter Olympics Program will remain about the same. The IOC has tended to add more and more events, but there are not many more Winter Olympic sports to add, and it’s hard to predict how these numbers may change if the number of events increases. It will depend on which events are added, whether they favor traditional winter events, favoring Norway, or they add X-sports, favoring the United States, and less so, Germany.

So for the foreseeable future, unless the Winter Olympic Program drastically changes, I think Norway will continue to lead the all-time Winter Olympic medal table through the 21st century.