Indian Olympic team is an outperformer

Strange, but true. As things stand this morning, India is one of the most efficient teams at the London 2012 Olympics when the performance is viewed as a ratio of medals won to the contingent size.

North Korea, with four medals so far, has a contingent size of 56, making it 7 percent, the super-outperformer of the Games. China is the next most efficient, with 24 medals won by their 389 strong Olympic team, a medal winning rate of 6 percent. Japan, with 17 medals won by their 303 participants, is also at 6 percent.

The Indian 84-member team, with the win by Gagan Narang, is already at a little over 1 percent. A couple of more medals (we won 3 in 2008) will see this ratio fly to 3.7 percent — and, incredibly, India could emerge as one of the best performing contingents at the London 2012 when seen by this prism.

Details of this, and other fascinating trivia, can be read at

Gagan Narang got India its first medal yesterday. PTI

The BBC exercise is interesting as it could well be used as a measure of the efficiency of those involved in the selection of national contingents for the Olympic Games. If the selection processes are fair and professional and unaffected by politics and personal biases, the ratio of medals: athletes is likely to reflect that.

So far, North Korea seems, clearly, to have got their team selection correct. With their team being only 56 strong, another couple of medals will see the dictatorship move to an unassailable medal to participant ratio. For Japan, for example, to outdo North Korea, they will have to almost match their 2008 performance and win 22 medals.

But with another medal North Korea will see the ratio move to 9 percent. For Japan to beat that, they will have to outdo 2008 and win at least 27 medals.

China, with 396 athletes and USA, with 530 athletes, though, will top this table as well. In 2008, China won 100 medals and the USA 110. If the squads were similar in size in 2008, China would have had an efficiency of more than 25 percent and the USA would have been just over 20 percent.

But India might just make it to the top ten if we win four medals — it would take us to 5 percent, just a tad below Japan’s current ratio.

Useless stats, maybe, but they make India look good.

Updated Date: Jul 31, 2012 11:32 AM

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