Results of the Winter Olympic Medal Predictions: Using Data and Changing Factors
Graettinger's Olympic Prediction Model
Medals Won at the Sochi Olympics
Becoming an Olympian: Making Predictions Based on Data
As the Winter Olympics continue, we tune in to each event and become excited to see how each athlete will perform and which country will leave Sochi with the most medals. Some people, however, already have a good idea of which countries will be victorious. During the 2012 Summer Olympics, an economics professor at Colorado State, Dan Johnson, predicted medal winners by using economics. Nearly two years later, two brothers, Dan and Tim Graettinger, have emerged with different data to predict the 2014 Winter Olympic medal winners.
After the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Dan and Tim Graettinger began wondering why certain countries win medals while others do not. As data miners for Discovery Corps, Inc., they constantly analyze data from different perspectives and summarize it to gain useful information. Data mining allowed them to use past information to predict the future on a daily basis and so they considered how data mining could allow them to predict a country's amount of medal wins at the Olympics and how close their predictions could be to the actual number of medals awarded.
When trying to predict winners, we might think that the most important data to analyze would be individual athletes, their achievements in the past, and their performance in a sport. The Graettinger brothers disregarded the athletes altogether when making their predictions and collected as many different pieces of data about a country as possible. After running many regression analyses, the Graettinger's discovered that the four variables to best predict the number of medal wins per country were geographic size, GDP per capita, value of exports, and latitude of the Nation's capital.
The most essential piece of the puzzle for their predictions, and the most surprising, was using a country's medal count from the previous Summer Olympics. The Graettinger's figured out that no nation won a medal in the Winter Olympics without winning at least one medal in the previous Summer Olympics. Keep in mind though that the Graettinger's found that the country hosting the Olympics often over performed their predictions.
So who will come out on top? The Graettinger's have predicted that the United States will come home with the most medals, 29, followed by Germany with 23 and China with 22 medals. We will check in at the conclusion of the Olympics to see if their predictions were right.
To leave you with something to snack on, how can your department use data to predict the future? What information can make the biggest impact? Record and follow your data to see common trends that could help you in the long run and allow you to become an Olympian of Student Affairs.