The common method of ranking medal success at the Olympic Games 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.
The 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:
- If an athlete has a total medal count of 6 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze (44 points), he would rank lower than an athlete with 5 golds, 6 silver, 4 bronze (46 points), but higher than an athlete with 7 golds only (42 points).
- These medal counts would be equal (42 points): 7 gold medals only, or 6 gold, 3 silver and 0 bronze, or 6 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze, or 5 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze.
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.
- medal tables from all Olympic Games
- Comparisons of weighted points and demographic systems.
- Poll: which weighted ranking system is best?
- About Olympic Medals
- For some time I've been wondering which system would be the most appropriate. And I came to this one. Because we all agree that the gold is much more worth than the other two. But also, I think that the silver and bronze are more close than 2/1; so 3/2 I think is more appropriate. (from Stipe, July 2012)
GOLD = 8
SILVER = 3
BRONZE = 2
This system would mean some of these relations:
1x gold > 2x silvers
1x gold < 3x silver
1x gold >= 4x bronze
1x gold < 5 bronze
1x gold >= 2x silver + 1 bronze
1x silver < 2x bronze