Monday, November 29

An Olympic basketball title should count as 12 gold medals in the medal rankings. Let me tell you why

Because the consolation game in his sport was scheduled for hours after the US men’s basketball team defeated France in the final, Kevin Durant and his friends had to wait a bit before they could get on the podium. and listen to the hymn. It didn’t seem worth the effort when each was presented with a tray to select a hunk of metal that accounted for roughly 8.3 percent of the only gold medal they had ever won for the United States at the Tokyo Olympics. . It was a bit embarrassing when they started arguing amongst themselves about which one was worthy of receiving the final cut.

Yes, that is not what happened.

This is not how it works in the Olympics, it never has been.

So why does the world keep tallying it up like that?

Many have come to believe that the RBI is a vacant statistic, but it is Einstein’s theory of relativity compared to the Olympic medal rankings. They are ridiculous.

DECOURCY: Lillard took a step back so Team USA could advance and win gold

Instead, each US male basketball player was able to select from a pile of a dozen gold medals and, like many winning teams, the US men chose to place the medal around the teammate’s neck. adjacent. Like their counterparts on the women’s basketball team, they left the Olympics with 12 gold medals. Not one. However, in the widely distributed medal tally through the media, that counts as a basketball gold for each gender.

You would think that nearly two decades after “Moneyball” revolutionized the way statistics are processed in sports, and analysis became one of the most important aspects of how nearly all athletic competitors chase achievement, tallying of Olympic medals should present a more accurate picture of the various competitions. which took place for 19 days in Tokyo.

I am not a statistical genius. One of my favorite aspects of the Journalism and Communications major at Point Park University was the absence of a math requirement. But I can recognize when a basic set of numbers is telling a lie about sports. So in 2008, I invented the DeCourcy Podium Count (DPC).

Why is it called that? Well, it was my idea. You have the Pomeroy College basketball rankings, named after creator Ken Pomeroy. You have Beyer’s speed figures, named after Andrew Beyer, the Washington Post’s longtime horse racing writer. If someone wanted to borrow my idea and call it something else, I’d be fine with that as long as it becomes the standard by which the performance of nations is judged at each edition of the Olympic Games. I’m magnanimous that way.

The United States is featured in the medal tally for having accumulated 39 gold medals and 113 total medals, ahead of runner-up China in both categories (38 golds, 66 total). This is not even close to being correct.

DeCourcy’s podium count takes into account how the athletes participated in each victory, specifically how many were on the Olympic podium during the ceremony that followed each result. Using this more accurate accounting, the United States accumulated 99 gold medals and 252 medals in total. China finished with 51 golds and 127 medals in total). Host country Japan, partly due to their victories in softball and baseball, surpassed China, winning 63 gold medals and 124 total.

It has never been reasonable to count as the equivalent of a gymnast doing two 90-second routines – qualifying and final – 12 basketball players cooperating in six basketball games lasting 40 minutes each. That does not mean that one sport is superior to another. That is, if one divides their competition in a variety of ways and declares five individuals and a four-person team as winners, and another organizes their competition so that a 12-person team is the champion, then the only sport has been coined. nine gold medals and the other 12.

It is basic logic.

Interestingly, the truth of the DPC is reflected in how the Olympic results are discussed. No one said about American women’s basketball players Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird that they now each have 41.67 percent of a complete gold medal after playing for the winning team in five consecutive Games. No, each was described as a winner of five career gold medals, since the Athens games in 2004.

But when the final golds were awarded, the coast-to-coast media described the United States as the one that had surpassed China in the race for the most gold medals.

In fact, it was never close, even though the US success rate declined, for the second Olympiad in a row. In Rio five years ago, the United States won 118 gold medals. Americans were a long way from that figure in Tokyo, even if DPC numbers could describe them as dominating the competition overall.

It is important to tell the truth in journalism. That’s why it’s about time the medal count was replaced by DeCourcy’s podium count. We all conquered third grade math years ago.

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