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An Alternative Medal Tally Ranking System

The common method of ranking medal success at the Olympic GamesĀ is a ranking order based on the number of gold medals won. If there is an equal amount of golds, then the order is based on the number of silver then bronze.

This gold medal preferred method is used by the IOC and most media outlets during the Olympic Games. This method does not give any credit for winning minor medals other than helping to order those who have won the same number of gold medals. Another method commonly used in the US is ranking based on the total medals won. Considering total medals won is basically saying that a silver or bronze medal is worth as much as a gold medal. A fairer system seems warranted, something that takes into consideration both gold medals and minor medals won.

three olympic medalsThe Topend weighted medal ranking system

The Topend weighted medal ranking system is considered an improvement over the commonly used methods described above. It is a compromise system which incorporates both gold and total medal counts - it gives the most credit for gold medals, but then still some credit for the minor medals - so if an athlete has a large number of the minor medals without the corresponding golds then they may still rank well.

Topend Weighted Medal Tally System (6:2:1) — gold 6 points, silver 2 points, and bronze 1 point

Here are some examples:

As this method gives a high number of points for gold medals, it generally closely matches the ranking based on the gold medal only system, and only influences the order when there is a disproportionately large number of minor medals. You can see the ranking system in action and compare this system to the other known weighted ranking systems. See the comparisons of the ranking systems for the top ranked countries and top ranked athletes.

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Olympics Extra

The next Olympics will be in Paris 2024, followed by the Winter edition in Milan-Cortina 2026. Check out the list of Olympic Games sports, as well as discontinued and demonstration sports.

Major Events Extra

The largest sporting event in the world is the Olympic Games, but there are many other multi-sport games. In terms of single sport events, nothing beats the FIFA World Cup. To see what's coming up, check out the calendar of major sporting events.

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