Analysis: Canadians will have their best Olympics ever; United States will struggle

February 7, 2014

While the Canadians are distracting us by whirling Polar Vortexes our way, they are getting ready to have their greatest Olympic performance ever.  And the United States will have a startlingly poor showing.

Who says?

Some analysts at Microstrategy who have done more math than you want to do – they designed a linear regression model using a country’s Gross Domestic Product, population, political system, previous medal counts and whether it was hosting the Olympics.  Based on their calculations, they predict that Canadian athletes will grab the most medals and the United States will finish seventh.

Courtesy of Microstrategy
Courtesy of Microstrategy

They predict only 16 medals for USA, down from leading the Vancouver Olympics four years ago with 37.  They counted Vancouver as practically a home-field advantage for Americans.

Canada, on the other hand, has been surging.  Over the past six Winter Olympics it’s medal count has climbed 7 – 13 – 15 – 17 – 24 – 26.  For Sochi, analysts Gianthomas Tewksbury Volpe and Vihao Pham predict a whopping 35 medals.

You can see their blog entry and a link to their full Olympic dashboard  with predictions, schedules and details about Team USA.

French economists Madeleine Andreff and Wladimir Andreff used some similar calculations but came out with a much more generous predictions for USA, estimating 36 medals to lead the Sochi Olympics. They predict Germany coming in second and Canada third, the same finish as four years ago.

The Microstrategy pair said the Russia hosts are one of the hardest to predict. Their model has Russia winning 18 medals and finishing sixth, just ahead of the US. The French economists put the host nation fourth with 24 medals.

The Post did not predict winners, but shows how powerful wealth has been as a predictor of success in previous Summer and Winter Games.

Dan Keating analyzes data for projects, stories, graphics and interactives. He was part of a team that won a Pulitzer at The Miami Herald for exposing vote fraud, and a team that was a Pulitzer finalist the year before for uncovering police fraud.
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Barry Svrluga · February 7, 2014