Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic Medals: Counts and Scoring

First, let me start by saying that I love watching the Olympics.  I prefer the winter, but I am just as involved in the summer games.  I would consider qualifying to attend the Olympics as a competitor a major life accomplishment let alone winning any sort of medal.  These athletes spend most of their lives up to that point honing their skills in order to succeed in their sport.  It is amazing to watch them compete, regardless of the sport.

When the media ranks a country's success at the Olympics, it is almost always in terms of their medal count.  The total number of gold, silver, and bronze medals that a country's athletes have won during the games.  However, I think that a total medal count only tells part of the story.  So I have put together a data viz that assigns points to the type of medal awarded:  3 for gold, 2 for silver, 1 for bronze.  I'm sure I am not the first person to think about doing this, however, you rarely see this in the mainstream media.  I can understand why.  Earning a bronze is an accomplishment in and of itself, even if the athlete would have preferred gold.  

However, I thought it would be interesting to see how countries would be ranked on scoring the type of medals earned versus their total medal count.

This data viz was pretty straight forward except for the sorting.  Some of the countries had similar medal scores, but different medal counts (and vice versa).  I wanted those countries that shared the same medal score/count to be sorted by their medal count/score.  It appeared to me that when the measure used for sorting is equal the Tableau default is to sort alphabetically.  So when Japan and France had the same medal score France was listed first and then Japan.  However, Japan had a higher medal count so I wanted them to be sorted ahead of France.  There is no explicit feature for secondary sorting based on a second measure.  So I created a calculated field that combined the medal score and the medal count into a new number that was then used for sorting.  It took me a while to figure that out, but it seems to be working for the time being.

My medal count data comes from Google and I'll be updating it once a day usually in the morning around 9am EDT.

Let me know your thoughts!  And as always, thank you for taking time to read my blog.

1 comment:

  1. I have seen also interesting chart, medals per capita. Totally different perspective.