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Olympic medals and demo-economic factors: Novel predictors, the ex-host effect, the exact role of team size, and the “population-GDP” model revisited

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  • Vagenas, George
  • Vlachokyriakou, Eleni

Abstract

The present study revisited the problem of estimating Olympic success by critical demo-economic indicators. The sample consisted of the 75 winner countries at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games (not previously analyzed). Medal totals were log-linearly regressed on land, population, GDP, urban population, inflation, growth rate, unemployment, labor force, health expenditures, ex-host, and team size. Multiple regression assumptions were tested with proper diagnostics including collinearity. Olympic team size was the best single predictors of Olympic medals (R2=0.690, p<0.001), and as an alternative criterion variable was significantly regressed on population, growth rate, health expenditure, and unemployment (R2=0.563, p<0.001). Medal totals were significantly regressed on population, ex-host, health expenditure, growth rate, and unemployment (R2=0.541, p<0.001). The classical population-GDP model extracted only 28% of the variance in total medals (R2=0.277, p<0.001), and this was slightly improved when combined with unemployment (R2=0.365, p<0.001). It appears that the size of the Olympic team plays the role of transmitting the composite impact of a country's size and economy to the end-phase of Olympic success. Winning Olympic medals depends on the combined potential of population, wealth, growth rate, unemployment, ex-host, and social-sport expenditures. Larger and wealthier countries win more medals by “producing” larger Olympic teams as a result of possessing more athletic talents and better support for social and sport related activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Vagenas, George & Vlachokyriakou, Eleni, 2012. "Olympic medals and demo-economic factors: Novel predictors, the ex-host effect, the exact role of team size, and the “population-GDP” model revisited," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 211-217.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:spomar:v:15:y:2012:i:2:p:211-217
    DOI: 10.1016/j.smr.2011.07.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Calzada-Infante, Laura & Lozano, Sebastián, 2016. "Analysing Olympic Games through dominance networks," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 462(C), pages 1215-1230.
    2. Contreras, Jose L. & Corvalan, Alejandro, 2014. "Olympic Games: No legacy for sports," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 268-271.

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