I have very little interest in the Olympics – and strongly object to the hundreds of pounds of my taxes that will be wasted in 2012 – but I do get a regular report of recent events over the dinner table, and a thought occurred to me tonight….
I think there should be a unit of Olympic achievement for countries. We might call it the Apollo. Your Apollo score would be something like the number of medals won divided by the number of your athletes attending and by the population of your country and its GDP. You’d also want to subtract something for the proportion of your athletes who had tested positive on drugs tests in the past…
Rose says it’s more complicated than that, because so many athletes do not train in their own country; they get scholarships to US universities, so the GDP of their country is less relevant. And I think an athlete who gets medals in several different disciplines should score more than one who just gets the 100, 200 & 400m medals in the same thing.
So it’s far from trivial. The definition of the Apollo would need to be refined over time.
Still, it might make an interesting discussion in the pub. If you wanted a realistic measure of a country’s sporting achievement, how would you do it?