Olympic Ranking Index

A Look into Canada’s Rank in Olympic Sports
2015-2018

Insight Unit
Sport Canada

November 2019

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Olympic Ranking Index [PDF version - 772 KB]

List of abbreviations

AUS
Australia
AUT
Austria
CAN
Canada
CHN
China
CZE
Czech Republic
ETH
Ethiopia
FIN
Finland
FRA
France
GBR
Great Britain
GER
Germany
HUN
Hungary
ITA
Italy
JAM
Jamaica
JPN
Japan
KEN
Kenya
KOR
Korea
NED
Netherlands
NOR
Norway
NZL
New Zealand
POL
Poland
RUS
Russia
SLO
Slovenia
SUI
Switzerland
SWE
Sweden
USA
United States of America

About

The Olympic Ranking Index (the Index) is a product of Sport Canada, based on data collected and compiled through the Sport Tracking, Assessment, and Technical Statistics (STATS) database.

The Index offers a system to determine Canada’s annual ranking on the basis of its aggregate results across all senior world championships and Olympic Games that occurred over a four-year period. The Index provides a fair, consistent and objective foundation to track, compare and evaluate a nation’s overall performance over time.

A number of indicators are used: gold medal count, medal count, medal points, top 5 count, top 5 pointsFootnote 1, top 8 count, and top 8 pointsFootnote 1. These indicators help produce three indices:

  1. Combined Olympic Ranking Index
  2. Summer Olympic Ranking Index
  3. Winter Olympic Ranking Index

This report is divided into three sections:

  1. Results
  2. Sport Ranking
  3. Methodology

A Paralympic version of this index, called Paralympic Maturity Index, has been developed to provide a system for tracking and evaluating nations’ performances on the basis of their aggregate results across all Paralympic senior world championships and Paralympic Games. This is in a separate document.

Summary of Canada’s Olympic Ranking 2015-2018
Indicators Combined Rank Summer Rank Winter Rank
Gold medal count 11 17 5
Medal count 9 12 3
Medal points 9 15 3
Top 5 count 8 11 4
Top 5 points 9 13 4
Top 8 count 7 11 3
Top 8 points 8 11 3

Summary

Combined Olympic Ranking Index
Combines both winter and summer Olympic events.
Summer Olympic Ranking Index
Track results across all summer Olympic events.
Winter Olympic Ranking Index
Track results across all winter Olympic events.

The results are presented within three indices that evaluate Canada’s performance during the 2015-2018 period.

Medal Performance Indicators

(Points awarded to each medal colour: gold = 5pts, silver = 3pts, bronze = 1pt)

Systemic Success and Depth of Field

When used in combination with medal indicators such as medal percentage, they assess systematic success and depth of a nation’s teams.

Seven indicators are used to track and evaluate Canada’s overall performance over a four year timeframe.

2015-2018 Event Count Summary

Season Sport 2015 2016 2017 2018 2015-2018
Summer Archery 5 4 5 - 14
Athletics 47 47 47 13 154
Badminton 5 5 5 5 20
Baseball 1 - 1 - 2
Basketball - 4 2 3 9
Boxing 10 13 10 5 38
Canoeing 16 16 16 16 64
Cycling 18 18 19 22 77
Diving 8 8 8 - 24
Equestrian - 6 - 6 12
Fencing 10 11 12 12 45
Field Hockey - 2 - 1 3
Golf - 2 - - 2
Gymnastics 18 18 14 18 68
Judo 14 14 15 15 58
Karate - 12 - 10 22
Modern Pentathlon 2 2 2 2 8
Rowing 14 14 14 14 56
Rugby - 2 - 2 4
Sailing 10 10 10 10 40
Shooting 5 15 5 15 40
Skateboarding 1 2 2 1 6
Soccer 1 2 1 - 4
Softball 1 1 1 1 4
Sport Climbing - 2 - 2 4
Sport Parachuting - 5 - - 5
Surfing 2 2 2 2 8
Swimming 37 34 37 - 108
Synchro Swim 2 2 2 - 6
Table Tennis 3 4 3 2 12
Taekwondo 8 8 8 - 24
Team Handball 2 2 2 - 6
Tennis 2 5 2 - 9
Triathlon 3 3 3 3 12
Volleyball 2 4 2 2 10
Water Polo 2 2 2 - 6
Weightlifting 15 15 16 14 60
Wrestling 18 18 25 18 79
Winter Alpine Skiing 13 - 11 13 37
Biathlon 11 11 11 11 44
Bobsleigh and Luge 9 9 9 9 36
Cross Country Ski 12 - 12 12 36
Curling 3 3 3 3 12
Figure Skating 5 4 5 5 19
Freestyle Ski 8 - 8 8 24
Hockey 2 2 2 2 8
Nordic Combined 3 - 2 3 8
Ski Cross - - 2 - 2
Ski Jumping 4 - 4 4 12
Snowboarding 10 - 10 10 30
Speed Skating 22 22 22 22 88
Total - 384 385 394 316 1,479

Results

PointsFootnote 2

Figure 1: Canada’s Combined Points
Figure 1: Canada’s Combined Points – text version
Year Medal points Top 5 points Top 8 points
2015 109 247 583.5
2016 106 233 530
2017 107 239 611
2018 127 248 535
Figure 2: Canada’s Summer Points
Figure 2: Canada’s Summer Points – text version
Year Medal points Top 5 points Top 8 points
2015 45 109 263
2016 50 130 316
2017 30 84 259
2018 38 80 183
Figure 3: Canada’s Winter Points
Figure 3: Canada’s Winter Points – text version
Year Medal points Top 5 points Top 8 points
2015 64 138 321
2016 56 103 214
2017 77 155 353
2018 89 168 352

Medal Points

Top 5 Points

Top 8 Points

Generally, Canadian athletes place mostly in the top 8 in competitions rather than in the top 5 or top 3; thus resulting in more top 8 points for Canada.

Combined Olympic Ranking Index

Figure 4: Combined top 8 points, 2015-2018
Figure 4: Combined top 8 points, 2015-2018 – text version
Nation Top 8 points
USA 5,341
CHN 3,491
RUS 3,415
GER 3,412
FRA 2,748
JPN 2,588
GBR 2,516
CAN 2,260
Figure 5: Combined top 5 points, 2015-2018
Figure 5: Combined top 5 points, 2015-2018 – text version
Nation Top 5 points
USA 2,729
CHN 1,813
RUS 1,707
GER 1,647
JPN 1,317
FRA 1,314
GBR 1,193
NED 1,031
CAN 967
Figure 6: Ten-year (2009-2018) trend of top 8 nations based on combined medal points
Figure 6: Ten-year (2009-2018) trend of top 8 nations based on combined medal points – text version
Nation 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
USA 1,253 1,251 1,203 1,227 1,216 1,295 1,292 1,338 1,408 1,541
RUS 974 963 943 951 1,024 1,061 1,074 1,043 950 871
CHN 1,186 1,171 1,230 1,171 1,106 1,104 1,072 981 946 964
GER 907 917 883 837 814 834 797 811 812 842
FRA 455 509 492 513 529 668 686 693 715 678
JPN 283 361 397 418 435 466 495 509 612 698
GBR 461 533 582 643 647 616 611 617 607 585
NED 322 302 298 314 359 420 455 473 495 533
CAN 426 455 485 470 485 503 459 461 448 449

Summer Olympic Ranking Index

Figure 7: Ten-year (2009-2018) trend of top 8 nations based on summer medal points
Figure 7: Ten-year (2009-2018) trend of top 8 nations based on summer medal points – text version
Nation 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
USA 1,003 977 908 924 910 1,014 996 1,048 1,121 1,167
CHN 1,053 1,030 1,086 1,032 981 984 942 850 817 840
RUS 802 820 794 817 864 844 825 778 694 706
GBR 432 502 549 615 620 584 568 574 566 545
JPN 231 303 350 371 391 414 432 442 511 577
FRA 363 417 402 401 381 500 498 486 506 465
GER 496 507 483 484 479 531 499 505 461 447
AUS 409 405 395 357 360 379 374 367 374 381
CAN 132 137 146 130 137 166 162 175 166 163
Figure 8: Summer top 8 points, 2015-2018
Figure 8: Summer top 8 points, 2015-2018 – text version
Nation Top 8 points
USA 4,083
CHN 2,990
RUS 2,638
GBR 2,301
JPN 2,032
GER 1,981
FRA 1,951
AUS 1,599
Figure 9: Summer top 5 points, 2015-2018
Figure 9: Summer top 5 points, 2015-2018 – text version
Nation Top 5 points
USA 2,145
CHN 1,567
RUS 1,356
GBR 1,100
JPN 1,073
GER 922
FRA 916
AUS 759

Winter Olympic Ranking Index

Figure 10: Winter top 8 points, 2015-2018
Figure 10: Winter top 8 points, 2015-2018 – text version
Nation Top 8 points
GER 1,432
USA 1,259
CAN 1,239
NOR 1,220
FRA 798
NED 783
RUS 778
AUT 745
Figure 11: Winter top 5 points, 2015-2018
Figure 11: Winter top 5 points, 2015-2018 – text version
Nation Top 5 points
GER 725
NOR 616
USA 584
CAN 564
NED 424
FRA 398
RUS 351
AUT 340
Figure 12: Ten-year (2009-2018) trend of top 8 nations based on winter medal points
Figure 12: Ten-year (2009-2018) trend of top 8 nations based on winter medal points – text version
Nation 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
GER 411 410 400 353 335 303 298 306 351 395
CAN 294 318 339 340 348 337 297 286 282 286
USA 250 274 295 303 306 281 296 290 287 284
NOR 235 267 291 284 317 322 311 319 277 320
RUS 172 143 149 134 160 217 249 265 256 165
NED 125 126 132 146 173 218 227 233 242 236
FRA 92 91 90 112 148 168 188 207 209 213
AUT 169 131 190 195 173 187 169 170 183 174

The Four

Australia, Great Britain, and Norway are often identified as good candidates for performance comparison purposes with Canada. Australia and Great Britain focus their investments on performance efforts almost exclusively on summer sports. Norway mostly focuses its efforts on winter sports. Canada splits its investments in performance efforts among both.

The combined summer and winter ranking therefore provides an interesting comparative perspective by illustrating the overall performance outcome of each nation’s investment in Olympic sport.

Figure 13: Ten-year trend of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and Norway based on combined medal points
Figure 13: Ten-year trend of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and Norway based on combined medal points – text version
Nation 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
GBR 461 533 582 643 647 616 611 617 607 585
CAN 426 455 485 470 485 503 459 461 448 449
AUS 423 426 433 395 404 417 405 398 410 417
NOR 293 324 357 333 363 369 347 345 311 356

Sport RankingFootnote 5

This is a ranking of nations by sport over the 2015-2018 cycle. The sports displayed have the highest proportion of events over the cycle.

Summer

Athletics
Nation Medal points Top 5 Top 5 points Top 8 Top 8 points
USA 1 1 1 1 1
KEN 2 2 2 2 2
JAM 3 3 3 3 3
CHN 4 4 4 5 5
GBR 4 5 5 3 4
ETH 6 7 7 7 7
POL 7 8 8 6 8
GER 8 6 6 3 6
CAN 11 10 11 10 10
Cycling
Nation Medal points Top 5 Top 5 points Top 8 Top 8 points
GBR 2 3 2 4 3
NED 1 1 1 1 1
AUS 3 2 3 2 2
FRA 5 6 5 3 4
GER 6 4 6 5 6
USA 4 5 4 6 5
NZL 7 7 7 7 7
SUI 8 11 10 8 10
CAN 22 10 15 12 12
Swimming
Nation Medal points Top 5 Top 5 points Top 8 Top 8 points
USA 1 1 1 1 1
AUS 2 2 2 2 2
HUN 4 7 5 7 6
CHN 3 4 3 3 3
GBR 5 3 4 4 4
JPN 6 5 6 5 5
ITA 7 9 8 9 9
RUS 8 6 7 6 7
CAN 9 8 9 8 8

Winter

Alpine Skiing
Nation Medal points Top 5 Top 5 points Top 8 Top 8 points
AUT 1 1 1 1 1
SUI 2 2 2 2 2
USA 3 4 4 7 5
NOR 4 3 3 4 4
FRA 5 5 5 3 3
CAN 6 9 6 9 7
SWE 6 6 7 6 6
SLO 8 10 8 10 5
Cross Country Ski
Nation Medal points Top 5 Top 5 points Top 8 Top 8 points
NOR 1 1 1 1 1
SWE 2 2 2 2 2
RUS 3 4 3 5 4
FIN 4 3 4 3 3
USA 5 5 5 4 5
ITA 6 7 6 10 9
CAN 7 7 7 8 8
SUI 8 7 7 6 6
Speed Skating
Nation Medal points Top 5 Top 5 points Top 8 Top 8 points
NED 1 1 1 1 1
KOR 2 2 2 3 2
CAN 3 3 3 2 3
CHN 4 4 4 4 4
USA 5 5 5 7 6
JPN 6 7 7 5 7
RUS 7 6 6 6 5
CZE 8 10 8 11 10

Methodology

The Olympic Ranking Index is a product of Sport Canada, based on data collected and compiled through the Sport Tracking, Assessment, and Technical Statistics (STATS) database.

The frequency of senior world championships varies from sport to sport and, in some cases, between disciplines of a sport. Consequently, the number of sports and events awarding medals at senior world championships differs every year, making it difficult to establish a consistent comparison method of a nation’s performance based on its total results at senior world championships from one year to the next. In order to reduce the impact of these annual variations, two parameters are considered in the development of the Index.

Parameters

1: Olympic medal events

The sports that are on the current Olympic program represent a total of 339 medal events. These events have well-established international competitive opportunities across continents. In addition, they are all regularly contested during senior world championships and Olympic Games. Although field sizes and number of entries per nation are generally more restricted during Olympic Games, the sport-specific and event-specific rules and conditions are the same in both types of competition. This, then, provides the first step to developing a consistent and valid comparative approach.

2: Four-year cycle

The use of aggregate results over a multi-year period is a well-established and proven method of ranking nations. Soccer, Volleyball and Figure Skating are just a few sports whose International Federation uses a World Ranking system based on aggregate multi-year results to rank nations, teams or athletes.

During any concurrent four-year cycle, every Olympic medal event, whether summer or winter, has one Olympic Games and at least one Senior World Championship. For the four-year cycle ending in December 2018, this represents a total of 1,479 events. Furthermore, the aggregate four-year total of events for any given sport tends to remain proportionate to the number of events on the Olympic program the sport represents out of the total of all Olympic events.

Limitations

1: Olympic sports and events only

The Index does not include results achieved in non-Olympic sports and non-Olympic events. The number of Olympic sports and events is a known and limited parameter while the number of non-Olympic sports and events is open. There are dozens of non-Olympic sports that have World Championships but that are either not played or not supported in Canada. There are also a number of non-Olympic sports that are well organized and supported in Canada and elsewhere, but are less widely represented. The absence of standards regarding minimum field sizes, number of nations, selection criteria and event frequency further complicates the identification of which non-Olympic sports and events could or should be included. Sports and events added to the Olympic program are included as of the third year preceding their debut at an Olympic Games. Sports and events discontinued from the Olympic program are removed following their last Olympic presence or in the year a replacement event is approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

2: The length of the ranking cycle has an effect on ranking

The four-year cycle aggregates performances across all of a sport’s Olympic events in each of its World Championships and Olympic Games of that four-year cycle. Sports that have both a large number of events and an annual World Championship carry more weight than sports that have worlds every 2 years or that have few events. In addition, a number of winter and summer sports have annual World Championships including in Olympic years. In order to avoid any double counting, a maximum of one result per year is included in the Index. Therefore, in the case of a sport having both Olympic and Worlds the same year, only the Olympic results are included for that year.

3: Ranking is based on four years

The Index provides an accurate representation of a nation’s ranking as of December 31 of each year based on the cumulated results of the past four years. This does not provide an accurate representation of results achieved for a specific year. Any given year’s results only account for approximately a quarter of the four-year ranking.

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