The Apollo

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?


You know, I like bicycling for the money it saves me on quick local transportation and for the exercise, but as a sport, it’s pretty boring to watch.

Honestly, I think most of us are better off burning thought effort on more important things. By “more important”, I am including such mundane rubbish as why cats purr when they’re content.

You should consult with my son Michael Dales on this problem, he had a brief moment of fame, via the Glasgow Herald, when he managed to solve the problem of the effect of Guinness on a person’s happiness / depression by reducing it into a quadratic equation. There was even a graph printed to represent the result. (Apparently based on his formula your happiness increased at a deminishing rate up to 5 pints and then you spiraled into a depression!)

They had someone on Radio 4 talking about measuring the Olympic achievements that way a few weeks back, they have an up to day table on the BBC website:

ha! There really is nothing new under the sun… especially not when it comes to my ideas!

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