Rob Wood

Rob's Sports, Fitness & Science Blog

Entries Tagged as 'Olympic Games'

My Olympic Gold Medal Predictions

July 27th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Olympic Games

Olympic Games MedalsWith the Olympic Games starting now, I feel like it is time for me to make my predictions for the final medal tally. It seems like  everyone else is doing it. I have discussed a few prediction models on this site that use science and results from recent competitions. My prediction is based on something a little less scientific, my gut feeling and reflection, so don’t place too much emphasis on it. It will be interesting to see how my list performs compared to the other predictions, only time and a bit of number crunching will tell.

Here is my final top 10 predictions for gold medals won:

  1. 40 USA
  2. 33 China
  3. 26 Great Britain
  4.  24 Russia
  5. 15 Germany
  6. 11 Japan
  7. 10 Australia
  8. 10 Italy
  9. 9 France
  10. 8 South Korea
UPDATE: Now that the Olympics are over, it is time to score how well my predictions were. I got the first four in order. The only country I did not predict to make the top 10 was Hungary, which finished 9th on the official table with 8 golds, pushing Japan outside the top 10. How accurate were these predictions? Using my analysis method comparing the top five actual to the predicted medals for those countries, I achieved an percentage accuracy score of 85%, only just below the best by Goldman Sachs (87%), out of all the medal predictions for 2012.
my order prediction predicted medals actual position actual golds
1 USA 40 1 46
2 China 33 2 38
3 Great Britain 26 3 29
4 Russia 24 4 24
5 Germany 15 6 11
6 Japan 11 11 7
7 Australia 10 10 7
8 Italy 10 8 8
9 France 9 7 11
10 South Korea 8 5 13

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Swimming is our favorite sport, but only every 4 years

June 18th, 2012 · No Comments · Gymnastics, Olympic Games, Swimming

We have a poll running on this site asking what is your favorite summer Olympic Games sport? The clear leaders at the moment are swimming, gymnastics, and track & field. This also matches the results of the most viewed sports on the Olympics website in 2004. To most Olympic watchers, the popularity of these sports is not surprising, but it should be if you consider that the undisputed most popular sport in the world (world football/soccer) is also one of the sports on the Olympic program, and other very popular sports that are on the program are basketball and tennis.

Outside of the Olympic period, you rarely see  swimming, gymnastics, and track & field televised, and there are no stadiums full of spectators at these sports every week. The reality is that they are not that interesting to watch – except at the time of the Olympics it seems. It is football (whatever code), basketball, baseball, cricket and many other sports that are more popular with the fans week in and week out. At Olympic time, unfortunately it is not just the sports fans that are watching, so the most entertaining sports are not necessarily the most watched and getting the most attention.

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Women’s Equality at the Olympic Games

April 1st, 2012 · 2 Comments · Olympic Games

1900 Olympic Games PosterI recently wrote about  Women Olympic Games Pioneers in which I discussed some of the early women participants at the Olympics, and the slow move to equality in women’s participation at the Olympic Games. There has been some great moves towards creating the opportunity for women to compete in the same sports as the men, with the inclusion of women’s boxing now completing the set so there are women’s events in all sports on the program. This is a great thing, but the reality is that there are huge barriers for women to even compete in any sport in some countries of the world, let alone the Olympic Games.

Up until now, three Muslim countries have never before sent a female athlete to compete at the Olympics: Qatar, Brunei, and Saudi Arabia. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Charter clearly promotes equality: “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind.” However, the IOC seems to be doing very little to support the women competitors from these countries.

Each of these countries have made comments that suggest there may be sending some female participants to London, but we will have to wait and see. If Qatar are serious about their bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, they need to send a clear message to the IOC, as it seems the IOC is not sending any clear messages back at them.

Related Pages: women at the OlympicsFirst Female Olympic Medalist

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Women Olympic Games Pioneers

March 21st, 2012 · No Comments · Olympic Games

helene pourtales first olympic medalistWith the addition of women’s boxing to the Olympics for 2012, all sports on the program now have events for women. However, women have had a long road to equality at the Olympics. There are some interesting stories and little known facts about early female participation in the Olympic Games.

The Ancient Olympic Games was limited to males athletes only, and they had to be free and Greek speaking too, with only male spectators allowed as the athletes participated in the nude! The only way women were able to take part was to enter horses in the equestrian events. There are records of several winning women horse owners. As the owner of the horse teams, they were credited with the victory, though they were most likely not present at the events.

Following on from the Ancient Olympics, women were also not invited to the first edition of the modern Olympic Games in 1896. Women participated for the first time at the 1900 Paris Games with the inclusion of women’s events in lawn tennis and golf. There were also three French women competing in croquet and there was at least one woman sailor as part of mixed crews.

It is commonly believed that first woman to win an Olympic event was England’s Charlotte Cooper, who won the tennis singles title and also the mixed doubles event. However, a month or two earlier Swiss sailor Hélène de Pourtalès won a gold medal as part of a team in the 1-2 ton Olympic sailing event. Charlotte Cooper is clearly the first woman Olympic champion, as winner of the women’s tennis singles tournament, though Hélène de Pourtalès should be rightly heralded as the first woman to compete at the Olympics and the first female Olympic gold medalist.


Related Pages: women at the OlympicsFirst Female Olympic Medalist

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Little Known Olympic Games Countries

March 19th, 2012 · No Comments · Olympic Games

You would be surprised about some of the countries that have once participated at the Olympic Games. Regions such as Saarland and Bohemia participated at previous Games, but no longer exist independently. The Saar existed from 1947 to 1956 in part of Western Germany that was occupied by France, and only competed at one Olympics in 1952 before joining Germany. Bohemia athletes competed at the Olympic Games between 1900-1912. After World War I, Bohemia became part of the new Czechoslovakia, which itself lasted until 1993 when it split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Then there are short lived unions, such as The United Arab Republic which was made up of Egypt and Syria, and the West Indies Federation, a combined team from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. Both of these teams competed at the Olympics only once, in 1960.

What about athletes with no team – athletes from Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia competed as Independent Olympic Participants in 1992, and athletes from East Timor competed as Individual Olympic Athletes at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Also, after the break up of the Soviet Union, the independent states competed under the banner of The Unified Team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

I wonder which teams competing in 2012 in London will one day join this list of past teams. Border disputes and wars will continue, and the countries of the world will continue to evolve. But, no matter what, most athletes will have a country to compete for, even though the names may change.

Related Pages: all Olympic Participating Countries, past participating countries


We Just Want To See A Snow Leopard

February 28th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Olympic Games, Winter

Did you hear about Ghana’s first ever participant at the Winter Olympics, Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong (nicknamed the ‘Snow Leopard’)? He competed in the men’s alpine skiing slalom event, finishing in 47th (2nd last) place. I did, but I did not hear about who won. It is another reminder of why I don’t get too excited about the Winter Olympics. The media think that it is more important to fill up their coverage time with human interest stories rather than the sporting results. As a sporting fan I watch sport to see the action, the competitiveness and the champions. At each Olympics the same thing seems to happen – the media outlets focus their telecast towards the common man, non sports fan, who are more interested in gossip and drama.

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A New Drug

October 3rd, 2008 · No Comments · Olympic Games, Sports Medicine

When any athlete beats their opposition by a large margin at the international level, there are always suspicions that an artificial aid has been used. I have always thought that when something is too good to be true, it often is. At the Olympic Games there were two athletes that dominated the opposition and surprised many: Bolt and Phelps. Why has the questions not been asked? As in many of these cases, time will tell, and then people may be saying ‘why did we not see it? It was right in front of my eyes”.

Related Pages: Doping in Sports, Michael Phelps Profile,


Radio vrs TV Olympic Coverage

October 2nd, 2008 · No Comments · Olympic Games, Spectators

By all accounts the TV coverage of the Olympic Games in Australia by channel 7 was disappointing. The TV coverage is not made for the sports fan. They spent too long interviewing the families of athletes, delving into the stories behind the stories, and about China and Beijing. What the sport fan wants is educated commentary of whole events, without breaks at crucial points in the events. The alternative on Australia TV was SBS, which was better as it showed continuous coverage of some events, but the mainstream sports were not given to them to show. What we did hear on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) radio coverage was excellent. I wonder why they cannot take lessons from radio for the TV coverage. The radio is able to convey the excitement of events as they are happening, cross from one event to the other when they are on at the same time, and be thoroughly entertaining.

Related Pages: Summer Olympic Games, Australia at the Olympics


Missing it All

October 2nd, 2008 · No Comments · Olympic Games, Spectators

The Olympic Games have come and gone, and I practically missed it. I have been traveling around Australia in a campervan (see website) with no TV and mostly out of radio range as well. We stopped at caravan parks that have a TV room a few times and dropped in for a beer at the pub to catch a little bit of the highlights, but there is so much on you need to sit in front of the TV all day to get a good viewing. We did manage to regular buy the newspaper to read about what was going on, and to check the news updates on our mobile phone. On a positive note, we did miss a lot of the disappointing TV coverage, and what we did hear on the radio coverage (ABC) was as usual excellent.

Related Pages: Summer Olympic Games, Australia at the Olympics


Unusual Olympic Fuels

October 2nd, 2008 · No Comments · Olympic Games, Sports Nutrition, Track & Field

Does fast food make you fast? Usian Bolt (which has to be one of the greatest names for a sprinter – like he was born to run fast) was quoted as saying he eats McDonalds nuggets before his events, as if it was some kind of wonder pill. Similarly, Australian race walker Jarred Tallent (winner of silver in the 50 km walk) was also in the local press revealing that he fuelled himself on pizza on the eve of his race and coke during the final stages of his race. Pizza is his favorite food and he finally gave in after two weeks at the food hall night before race. After his 20 km race he threw up during the final stages and afterwards, and after his pizza binge, he was afraid it would happen again. Where are the sports dietitians advising these athletes? Why would they risk one of the most important events in their sporting careers? They were obviously good enough to still win their races despite having junk food, but please don’t brag about it as if it helped you. There is too much fast food eaten in this world already, we don’t want our elite athletes promoting it too.

Related Pages: sports nutrition



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