Researcher says Australia should be rated third on Olympic Games medal tally
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Researcher says Australia should be rated third on Olympic Games medal tally16-Aug-2012
Australia's Olympic gold medal count may have failed to meet expectations but statisticians have shifted the posts and upgraded our finishing place.
Image: Worth its weight in gol: Australia's Sally Pearson poses with her gold medal for the 100m hurdles in London. Source: Ben Curtis / AP
When measured against key social factors including population and wealth, researchers at Britain's University of Salford put Australia third in the Games placings.
Following 16 days of competition, Australia finished the London Olympics in 10th place on the medal table with seven gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze.
With pre-Games hopes of a top-five finish, the 35 medals were an underwhelming outcome.
Not according to economics Professor David Forrest from Salford, who said that in line with his calculations, Australia should have expected just 12 medals.
"We thought it would be worthwhile to determine how countries should perform as if they were all effectively starting from scratch, with no history of competing in the Olympic Games but with all other factors being considered," Prof Forrest said in a statement.
"These include Gross Domestic Product; population; government spending on recreation; the impact of hosting the next or next-but-one Olympics; and the effect of current and former communist political systems.
"The benchmark table shows that, far from performing badly, Australia punched well above its weight in this Olympics.
"The team's London 2012 collection of 35 medals may be the lowest for 20 years but this just emphasises how incredibly well Australia has done in Olympic competition - a weighted medal total of 12 is where they should typically be."
The ranking system pushes Australia well ahead of the United States and China, which took out first and second places respectively on the official medal tally.
New Zealand also sees a promotion on the statistical medal scale, from its official 15th place, to seventh.
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