Every performance culture has a scoreboard. In your neighborhood, it’s the size of your
heart lawnmower. In the corporate world, it’s revenue, net income and of course, the stock price. In sports, it’s… well, the scoreboard.
The Olympics? It’s got an overall scoreboard as well. It’s called the Overall Medal Count, in which the total medals for each country are tallied. The two primary measures are total medals and gold medals. And it’s a dead serious business for the major countries of the world, and one of the purest forms of measuring Talent you’ll ever find.
Who’s favored this year? The Wall Street Journal breaks it down:
"Handicapping the Olympics is difficult because there are so many events and variables at work. Some forecasters focus on a country’s recent economic history and population, rather than the athletes themselves, to make their medal-count predictions. The Wall Street Journal did its own forecast, taking into account recent national and international competitions in every Olympic sport and interviews with experts. Then, instead of anointing an absolute first-, second- and third-place finisher in each event, the forecast assigned probabilities to the top medal contenders. The U.S. softball team, which outscored its opponents 71-6 in the last world championship, is a heavy favorite to win the gold, while the German women’s soccer team — which won the 2007 World Cup but has strong rivals in Brazil and the U.S. — is only a slight one. With the help of sports actuary John Dewan, owner of Baseball Info Solutions, we tallied those probabilities and ran 1,000 simulations to calculate the chances of a host of outcomes, like China’s winning the gold-medal count.
Our prediction: The U.S. will likely continue its Olympic winning streak, both in golds (47 to 38 over second-place China) and total medals (110 to 93, with China second and Russia third on both counts). The Americans’ strength lies primarily in swimming and track and field, where they are projected to get 29 golds. The Chinese athletes will likely do little in those two sports, which together account for 81 of the 302 available golds, diminishing their chance of winning the most golds. To be sure, our model might be overly influenced by the opinions of American observers, and injuries and disqualifications could affect the actual results. Yet, according to the simulations, there is only a 7.4% chance of China winning the gold-medal tally, which in most countries is considered the standard of Olympic supremacy. (Americans tend to focus on the overall count, says Darryl Seibel, a U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman.)"
So there you have it – the ultimate talent scoreboard plays out in front of your eyes over the next two weeks. PS – If you are a citizen and not rooting for the USA in the olympics, it’s OK for you to move. We’ll write often… Even the Chinese knew what to do when the American athletes walked into the Bird’s Nest in Bejieng – cheer like crazy (second only in volume to China, but what are you going to do – it’s a road game for Uncle Sam, people). People still want everything you have in America, for all the handwringing and self-analysis we do.
To get you in the mood to root hard for the US of A, I’ve clipped my favorite pregame anthem from the past decade below. It was this or Neil Diamond, but Kid Rock won me over with the Rick Mahorn warmup jacket, plus the gender equity angle since his drummer (pictured with him below) is a woman.. Plus, he’s Kid Rock…
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.