Monday, March 1, 2010

Prediction Correct: Canada Got Home-Country Boost

Summary: Canada’s Olympic performance verifies that the host country does indeed win more medals than they would without home-field advantage.

Around the time the 2010 Winter Olympics began, we did an analysis which found that in eight of the past nine Olympics, the home-country did better than they do on average in terms of both overall medals and gold medals.

Now that the games are over, we decided to review our predictions.

We said that Canada - the host nation - would win 6 or 7 more medals than would otherwise be expected, including one or two additional gold medals.

This was based off the average medal increase that host countries saw over the past nine Olympics. Keep in mind there is a lot of variation on how much better the host country does. In theory, Canada should have brought in 2.57% additional available medals than they do on average during the Winter Games, including 2.1% additional golds.

We weren’t too far off.

With 26 medals overall - 14 of which were gold - Canada secured 1.68% more medals than they have on average. In a really surprising feat, they secured 9.91% more golds than on average.

In other words, Canada earned four or five more medals than they would have had the Olympics been outside their country, and a whopping eight or nine additional golds.

Meanwhile, the United States beat Canada (and the rest of the world) in the overall count (with 37 total medals), but lost in terms of gold medals (with only 9).

We really didn’t do too bad. We actually picked up about 4% more medals overall than on average for Winter games (though we did drop 0.14% in terms of golds). Perhaps our generally sound performance was due (at least in part) to Vancouver’s close proximity to the U.S. Our fans had a relatively short trip to make to support our athletes.

Either way, these findings further solidify our argument that Americans should always support their cities for hosting the games, regardless of politics.

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