Olympics Roundup

The pending London Olympics bring to mind all sorts of numerical constructs, including this article by Nate Silver of the New York Times (taking a break from political commentary for the Olympics? Here's James Fallows' thought about the American practice of stopping our campaigns in the summer.) Silver is writing about which sports (weightlifting, but not badminton) smaller nations should pick in order to put their athletes in medal contention. There was also an interesting article in yesterday's NY Times about nations, or sporting federations, using various undercover tactics to understand competitors', well, tactics.* And here's an article from The Atlantic.com about why hosting the Olympics is usually a bad economic bet.

So it seems like a good time for an update on the 2012 Greatest Sporting Nation quest. As you may recall, I mentioned it in this post last year, comparing sports ranking methodology with the New York City Public Schools methods rating methodology for schools. (The school raters would learn something from the sports raters.) The screenshot above is Greatest Sports Nation's look at the "Global Cup Progress." GSN also predicts that the US will "win" the Olympics, with "win" defined as most placements in the top eight of every sport, weighted by popularity (number of countries that participate in each sport) and whether the sport is a team or an individual sport. Junkies can read the full methodology here.

* Sorry if I'm putting you above your 10-article monthly limit if you're not a subscriber. The Atlantic Wire has a nice daily feature "Trimming the Times" that summarizes the 10 top stories every day.

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