As I mentioned in this post, my first data analysis will be about the European Taekwondo Junior Championships of the last 15 years. Here, we are talking about 8 championships, 37 participating nations, 510 medals count recorded, and around 600 more combined data (ranks, averages, ratios, etc.). There are lots of data available and thus we have to sort them and select the most interested ones!
As an introduction, I discuss below the essential variables I will use in my future analyses.
- Rank: the nations are ranked according to the number and the metal (or “color”) of the medals won, in descending order. The color prevails upon the number. Therefore, a country with only one gold medal gets a better rank than one with two silver or bronze medals – like Switzerland and Croatia in 2005.
Besides, two nations with the exact same result obviously share the same rank. That’s one of the reasons why we will use this information with caution. For example, if we look at the 1999 championships, Romania finished at the last place and was ranked 15th with one bronze medal – note that the ranking does not include the nations that haven’t won any medals. In the 2011 championships though, the results are less “concentrated”: Armenia and Slovenia both finished at the last place and was ranked 23th, also with one single bronze medal. If we don’t pay attention, such a gap for the same result can mislead our interpretation of the evolution of the results of a nation.
- Total number of points: for the Taekwondo medals – Gold, silver, bronze, we consider as a WTF rule that bronze, silver and gold medals are worth respectively 1, 4 and 7 points. We will use the number of points combined with other data to calculate several ratios (see below). If we only take into account this single parameter, we can end up with huge gaps complicating our interpretation work. For instance, between 2005 and 2007, France multiplied its total number of points by 43!
- Total number of medals: literally the number of medals won in an event. That’s the data we will be using the most since getting one athlete to win a medal confirms the elite level of a national federation – at least for one category of the martial art in question. Besides, contrary to the weighted total number of points, the number of medals varies moderately from year to year – x10 vs. x43 in the (extreme) example mentioned above.
- Points per medal ratio: the number of medals reveals the nations within the elite, yet with this ratio – calculated by dividing the total number of points by the number of medals won – we can identify the most “efficient” ones.
In 2009, the Greek and Serbian federations both got three athletes among the top-placed competitors, and thus won three medals. However, Greece got one silver medal and two bronze medals, versus three bronze medals for Serbia. Therefore Greece had a points per medal ratio of (1*4+2*1)/3 = 2, higher than the ratio of 1 of Serbia. Studying this ratio over long periods of time, it’s possible to assess if a federation can not only train top tier athletes, but also turn them into gold medalists.
I haven’t posted any studies yet so this information must seem kind of… theoritical. However, this post will serve as a reference for future analyses. I will update it little by little as I write studies to make it more clear and relevant.