# Comparison of Weighted Ranking Systems at the Olympics

Counting the number of medals won at the Olympics may not be the fairest system of determining the most successful countries. For example, at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the USA finished second in the gold count to China, but were ahead of them in the total medal count. This created quite a bit of discussion about which ranking system should be used. The Americans were obviously quite happy with their usual system of counting total medals, but the rest of the world generally did not agree.

Maybe there is an even better system. Here is a description of a few of the different systems for ranking countries based on the medals won. You can see a comparison of how these systems affect the table order using the 2008 medal table as an example. We have also used the same ranking systems to compare the performances of the top medal winning athletes from the Olympic Games. See also the comparison of demographic ranking systems.

## Weighted Ranking Systems

• simple point system (3:2:1) — gold 3 points, silver 2 points, and bronze 1 point. A simple intuitive formula that is commonly used as an alternative to counting golds or total medals. According to Wikipedia, this weighting method is part of the Fibonacci sequence which values a gold medal as much weight as a silver and a bronze medal combined.
• New York Times weighted point system (4:2:1) — gold 4 points, silver 2 points, and bronze 1 point. An exponential points system giving ' Medal Points' described in the New York Times in 2008.
• 1908 London point system (5:3:1) — gold 5 points, silver 3 points, and bronze 1 point. This was the system first introduced in 1908 by the organizers of the London Games.
• Luchies Olympic Formula (LOF) point system (5:3:2) — gold 5 points, silver 3 points, and bronze 2 point. A system presented by blogger Michael Luchies. "Olympics;Gold Or Overall Medals Determine Winner? New Formula to Decide Games Champion" Published August 18, 2008 (no longer online)
• Topend Sports point system (6:2:1) — gold 6 points, silver 2 points, and bronze 1 point, something I tried to give more value to gold medals, while still giving some value to silver and bronze. There is no scientific theory to this one, it just seems reasonable to me.