Monday, August 29, 2016

Medals by Population - Rio

Back in 2014, I put together this post in which I figured out how the medal to population ratio played out during the Olympics.  I'm now doing the same thing for the Rio Olympics.  From the Sochi description:
Anyway, the idea was to sort the medals by population of the country. Therefore smaller countries would get more credit per medal. This makes some sense. The larger the country, the easier it should be to find an elite individual. So I decided to crunch some numbers. Note: I'm going to figure medals per million people. My population numbers are from Wikipedia and I'm simply hoping that no one cared enough to mess with this info. Also, I rounded to the nearest million so there may be some messiness with the numbers. Also, I'm not doing the entire medal count. Just the top ten, with a few extras that are special.
This time I'll do the top thirteen.  I have my reasons.

13. China - 19.66 medals per million people.  The Chinese did very well in this Olympics with 70 medals, the second most overall.  They are penalized by their very large population.  In a sense, this measure will never be fair to them.  If they had medaled in each competition, they would have gotten their number down to 4.48.
12. Brazil  - 10.79 medals per million.  Brazil won 19 medals for their 205 million people.  This was their best at a summer Olympics and they won gold in men's soccer, getting revenge over the German team that whipped them a couple of years ago in the World Cup.  I bet they're happy.
11. Japan - 3.1 medals per million.  It will be interesting to compare this number in four years in Tokyo.  In 2016, they won 41 medals.  Can they do better while hosting?
10. United States - 2.68 medals per million people.  The U.S. did a fantastic job at these games.  They won 121 medals for 324 million people.  This included domination in gymnastics and swimming.  I wonder when that domination will stop?
9. Russia - 2.57 medals per million.  It will be interesting to see how much this number changes over the next few years as various athletes are stripped over their medals.  Russia should have been barred from these games.
8. South Korea - 2.43.  I think of South Korea as more of a winter Olympics champion but maybe I have that wrong.  Let's see, in 2012, they actually won 28 medals compared to the 21 this time.  So, yes, I'm wrong.
7. Italy - 2.18 medals per million.  Italy has about 61 million people and they won 28 medals.  I think of any country with a population over 50 mil as being a 'large' country, so they definitely qualify.  Good games for Italy.
6. Germany - 1.95.  The Germans break the '2 medals per million persons' barrier.  I continue to be surprised that Germany has 81 million people.  I don't have a good grasp on the size of various countries, I guess.
5. Canada - 1.64 medals per million.  Canada has about 36 million people, so they are outside of my arbitrary 'large' country category.  In Rio, they won 22 medals and I bet they're happy with how they did.
4. France - 1.60.  A great year for the French, too.  With about 67 million persons, they fall into the 'large' category.  ('Gros'?)  Anyway, very good numbers.
3. United Kingdom - 0.91.  Great Britain won 67 medals for 61 million people, the best ratio for the 'large' countries.  That's two more than they won in 2012, so I'm sure they're happy.
2. Netherlands - 0.89 medals per million people.  Back in Sochi, the Dutch won an insane amount of medals from speed-skating.  This time, they won 6 of their 19 medals for cycling.  Not quite as dominating, and more spread out among other sports.
1. Australia - 0.83  The Aussies won 29 medals for 25 million people.  By my quick count, 21 of those medals had to do with the water (swimming, diving, sailing, etc.).  They are very good in the water.  They have a strong claim to have 'won' the Rio Olympics!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Books About the Olympics

How could I not click on a link called 'The 10 Best Books About the Olympics'?  (Btw, I think I've read precisely zero of these.)

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Past Olympics

In the summer before the London Olympics started, I 'live-blogged' a coffee table book about past Olympics.  It was wildly successful.  The FP Gal even said she was enjoying it.  The posts are findable under the 'Olympics' label but I'm going to put them all in one place.

1896-1906 is here.

1908-1924 is here.

1928-1932 is here.

1936 and 1948 are here.

1952 and 1956 are here.

1960 and 1964 are here.

1968 and 1972 are here.

1976 and 1980 are here.

1984 and 1988 are here.

1992-1996 is here.

1998-2004 is here.

These were a bunch of fun to put together.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


When I put DF to bed, he asks me questions before we turn on his music.  Tonight, his last question went like this:

DF: What does a cowboy wedding look like.
Me: ...uh, I don't know.
DF: (thinking) Would the pinata be shaped like a horse?
Me: ...
DF: Maybe with a crown on it.  (pause)  And a cape?
Me: I have no idea.

I love the way his mind works, but I won't pretend that I understand it.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Delay or Move the Olympics?

The Harvard Public Health Review is calling for the Rio Olympics to be delayed or moved to a different city, and I'm not so sure that they're wrong.  The problem is the Zika virus.  Rio is right in the heart of the problem area.  As the review points out, not only is it a risk for the people traveling there, but when they leave, they will spread that risk to (literally) the entire world.
Which leads to a simple question: But for the Games, would anyone recommend sending an extra half a million visitors into Brazil right now?  Of course not: mass migration into the heart of an outbreak is a public health no-brainer.  And given the choice between accelerating a dangerous new disease or not—for it is impossible that Games will slow Zika down—the answer should be a no-brainer for the Olympic organizers too.  Putting sentimentality aside, clearly the Rio 2016 Games must not proceed.

So, what happens?  I don't believe that the IOC will cancel, delay or move the Olympics.  Moving them, at this late date would be a logistic nightmare.  Even London, which hosted the summer games four years ago, would be hard pressed to have the same venues open three months from now.  (Though a #Shakespeare400 themed Olympics would make me happy.)  There are no other locations that would be better prepared.
The Olympics have never been canceled before without a war to blame.  (Both WWI and WWII knocked off some of the games.)  Disease outbreak almost certainly won't do it.  Can you imagine the outrage from Brazil and the rest of Latin America if the first Olympics in South America is canceled due to disease concerns?  It will regularly be described as racism against brown people.  If the IOC has to choose between vague health concerns of a little understood disease and being called racist, it will be an easy choice.
Every Olympiad brings with it stories of a host city that isn't ready for the games.  Those stories have come especially hard and fast for Rio.  Usually those stories are overplayed and I hope that's the case here.  The 2016 Olympics will be starting in less than three months, in Rio, as scheduled.
Let's hope that they're prepared.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pandemonium, But In a Good Way

During the Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics in London, there was a sequence that I really enjoyed.  It was titled 'Pandemonium' and it was a kind of history of the Industrial Revolution.
The visuals were great, especially the rings at the end, but what really got me was the music.  I simply loved it.  But there was a problem.  I couldn't find it to buy, anywhere.  I quickly tracked down the artist, Underworld, and the name of the music, 'And I Will Kiss', but I couldn't buy it.  I couldn't find it as a stand alone single.  Couldn't find it on an Underworld album.  It just wasn't available.
Well, that's not completely true.  It was on the soundtrack for the Olympics, called 'Isles of Wonder', but iTunes didn't have that either.  Amazon didn't either.  I was stuck.  Until I happened to try a couple of weeks ago and found that Amazon had somehow let some used copies slip through the embargo.  Less than $5 later, I bought one, and now I have it.  (Plus, other music used during the ceremonies, including 'Chariots of Fire', which isn't a bad thing to own.)
I can't understand why this wasn't easier to buy.  Putting the material up to buy in America can't be that difficult.  And with downloadable music being everywhere, it's not like they would need to create physical copies to distribute.  Baffling.
I'm genuinely surprised at how hard it is to find certain movies and music.  The movie 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' never had a soundtrack, despite the wonderful and hard to get music all over it.  This should be an obvious 30th anniversary item, set for June of this year.  Who would object to having this out there?  The people that own the rights to the music?  They'd be turning down free money.

Anyway, in this strange and sometimes baffling age, I found something nice that I wanted.  If Rio wows me this summer, I hope the search for their music isn't as hard.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"My Senile Mother"

I had a wonderful call today.  The admin called, and after I confirmed her name, I asked for her phone number.  She started giving me a set of numbers and then stopped.  "Oh", she said, "I almost gave you my home number."  I laughed and said that the office one would probably be better.  She continued, "If you called my home number, you would have ended up speaking to my senile mother.  And you wouldn't want that."  I laughed again.  "And then I would have gotten home and she would have said [thick German accent] 'I had ze strangest call today...'".

Lady, you made my day.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Make Way for - Wha?

Tonight, I read to Leo.  We read 'Make Way for Ducklings'.  This book has made a reappearance at our house as it has been in storage for some time.  I have not read it with Leo before and I wasn't sure if he had read it all.  He assured me that he has, in fact, read it with mama.
Fair enough.
We got to this page:
And I said, "Doesn't he look nice?"
Leo said he did not.  Again, I asked him if he had read this before.  The policeman (who is named Michael) is awfully nice.  Later on in the book he stops traffic for the ducks and even calls in a car from Central to help direct traffic for them.  This is a nice policeman.
When I asked him if had read it before, he assured me that he had.  So I asked him what happens later on.  He pointed to the night stick and said, 'he takes that and stabs the ducks'.  Whaaaat?  I told him that isn't quite how I remember it.
We read on.  Sure enough, there is no stabbing.  The police are very nice and the ducks are finally settled in to there new surroundings.  We finished up and I closed the book.  Very quickly, Leo told me that someone had ripped out the page where the stabbing takes place.  I told him I didn't think so. Quite honestly, there is very little stabbing in the books that we read to him.  There is some stabbing in the books that Felix reads.  Maybe some in Relia's too.  But none for Leo.  I don't know where he gets it.  Does every three year old sound like a budding killer, or did we just get lucky?

We also looked at the front cover.  The book was a Caldecott winner and they have the medal imprinted on the cover.  He looked at that and told me that the circle was from the 'first' cover but someone remade it so it would have ducks on it.
Leo has a very different concept of 'Make Way for Ducklings' than almost anyone else in the world.