Olympic Standings: Who is the world's best? (3-2 thur 3-8)

It has always intrigued me to look at the Olympic standings in the New York Times and watch the United States in first place by total medals.  The first thing I think about is the relative unimportance of a gold vs. a bronze.

The Canadian papers show Canada in first place with Germany at second and the USA in third.  They go by number of gold medals.

Who's process is more fair.  The Mathletes say "neither."  They think a gold should be weighted more than a silver and bronze.  We discussed a number of scenarios like 3:2:1; 10:3:1; etc.  The 1908 London Olympics used 5:3:1.  The Internaitonal Olympic Committee currently uses 5:2:1 and the United States Olympic Committee uses 5:3:2 because of the way they pay athletes for medals won ($25,000 for a gold, $15,000 or a silver, and $10,000 for a bronze).

The Mathletes applied the IOC and USOC ratios to the standings and then re-ranked the countries.

Finally, I introduced my method which is per capita.  Mathletes that are comfortable with division can divide the population of each country by the total medals.  Check out the attached excel spreadsheet for the results.  Go Norway.

Olympic_Standings.xls117.5 KB