Olympic economics: All about the dollars, not just the gold

a0b9c3b0dbaab6b7c7fedc01bdebef49

Can money buy Olympic medals? Not exactly, but a new study by two Goldman Sachs analysts shows that a country’s income can have a significant effect on how their athletes perform and — in turn — how many medals they bring home.

The report, called “The Olympics and Economics” by José Ursúa and Kamakshya Trivedi, takes a close look at the effect money and income can have on a country’s overall success and within specific sports at the games. They took a look at variables including GDP per capita, the ratio of income to that of the US, democracy and hosting duties, and then studied their combined effects on winning medals.

Turns out, richer countries — those with “superior growth environments and higher incomes”— can usually expect to win more medals.

The sports that were most influenced by those factors were canoeing, diving, fencing, swimming and table tennis.  Equestrianism, gymnastics and wrestling were also highly influenced by the factors.

Adversely, sports that aren’t as expensive to train for like football, softball and triathlon, were the sports least affected by the factors.

“Progress and improvement in economic growth have historically often equaled progress in sport,” the authors wrote. “This trend — with a few economically significant countries winning a bulk of the Olympic medals on offer — has continued in recent times. For example, less than 10 countries participating in the 2008 Beijing Olympics won more than half of the almost 1,000 gold, silver and bronze medals that were distributed.”

Additionally, the report proves that “home court advantage” is a very real thing. Countries that are hosting the Olympics tend to bring home more medals than they do when traveling elsewhere for the games, though not in every sport.

“In some cases, hosting the Olympics has meant increasing the number of medals by more than 50 percent with respect to what countries would have otherwise attained,” the report stated.

Historically, hosting countries can expect to win about 1.5 to 3 more medals per game in events like cycling, gymnastics, rowing, sailing, swimming and wrestling. Other sports like football, rhythmic gymnastics and water polo don’t find as much benefit from the so-called “home court advantage.”  

But when it comes to a financial win for host countries, the results have been mixed. The 1972 Munich Olympics and the 1976 Montreal Olympics both had significant financial losses. However, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics all turned a profit, according to the report.

The researchers note that it is too early to predict whether the London Olympics will be profitable, but the city’s infrastructure plans for the Games were finished on schedule and even below budget. Though, that very budget has been quite the investment at an estimated £8.5bn (about $13.3 billion).

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.