Here’s a sure-fire way to boost your count of Olympic medals

Source: live mint 


Empirical data shows that the host country gets benefitted from hosting the Olympics. It raises their medal count.


Hosting Olympic Games is an economic disaster, even in non-pandemic times. A recent estimate suggests that the cost doubled from initial expectations to $15.4 billion. This includes an additional $3 billion due to the one-year delay and related pandemic-control measures.

Nonetheless, there exists a positive correlation between hosting and medals won by a country. The empirical data shows that GDP, growth rate, population, etc. variables are not a guarantee of more medals, but hosting is. 

Boost to the host country:
  1. A look at the count of gold, silver, and bronze shows that the host country gets a significant boost, one that persists in subsequent games. 
  2. Japan’s incredible haul for Tokyo 2020, with 27 gold medals, puts it third behind the US and China. Significantly, it captured the top prize in 7.9% of all events. It is much higher than 3.9% in Rio 2016 and 2.3% for London 2012. 
  3. Spain’s Golden Games (Host) at Barcelona in 1992 saw it grab 5% of the gold on offer, putting it sixth. 
  4. Australia jumped from 3.3% in its Green Games (the event prior to hosting) to 5.3% in Sydney 2000. It climbed to 5.7% four years later in Athens, then slid to 4.6% in Beijing.
Analyzing other variables:
  • There’s little to suggest any connection between the Olympics and economic performance. Being rich doesn’t hurt, with the US consistently near the top. China’s increasing wealth over the past 30 years to become the world’s second-largest economy has coincided with its increasing share of medals. But then, the Indian economy is also very big, but its performance shows a different result.
  • Thus, medal performance cannot be explained by GDP growth. China has expanded along with its sporting might, yet Vietnam’s incredible rise since 1990 comes with minimal improvement in athletic results.
  • Population too doesn’t correlate with performance, as India, Indonesia, and Pakistan all lag in medals despite having a high population.

Doubtless, there are numerous contributors to performance, including institutionalized support for athletic programs, access to facilities and coaching, and illegal performance-enhancing drugs. But the data indicate that the best way to boost results is to enjoy the home-ground advantage.

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