Organized Ticket Scalping

Kyle Whelliston describes the secondary market for Olympics tickets in Vancouver.

Predicting the Medal Count

Economists love to make predictions about the Summer Olympics, but the Winter Games generally attract less attention. One economist, however, does have some predictions for this year's Games.

The Olympic Effect

The potential benefits from Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics extend even beyond the Washington Park beautification project. A new paper by Andrew Rose and Mark Spiegel finds that hosting mega-events like the Olympics has a significant positive impact on a country’s exports. Interestingly, the authors also find that even unsuccessful Olympic bids […]

Answer to the Freakonomics Quiz: the IOC Was Coming to Town

I told you this was an easy one. A few days back, I asked why the park near my house was cleaner than ever before. It took only three comments (congratulations to Donny, the winner) to get the right answer: the International Olympic Committee was coming to Chicago. I happen to live about six blocks […]

What Japan and Stanford University Have in Common

Yesterday I posted a quiz to blog readers asking what Stanford University and Japan have in common. Honestly, it was not that easy, but somehow it took Noto only eight minutes from the time I made the post to provide the correct answer: they garnered the same number of medals in the 2008 Olympics: 25. […]

The Price of Olympic Competition

There have been a lot of posts here about various wrinkles in Olympic competition: medal count, citizenship flexibility, outlying statistics, etc. Here’s perhaps the smallest wrinkle of all, but one that I found fascinating. It falls under the “citizenship flexibility” category and concerns one Olympic athlete’s name. We wrote in Freakonomics that the name a […]

Olympic Wrap-Up: Jamaica Wins; Aussies Are 5th; U.S. Ranks 33rd; China Is 47th

The Olympic Games are now over. All that remains is tallying up which are the greatest sporting nations on earth. Following the norm of emphasizing the gold medal tally over the total medal count, we can now declare Jamaica the winner; with 2.2 gold medals per million inhabitants, it bolts ahead of any other country. […]

Who’s the World’s Fastest Runner?

Justin Wolfers’s excellent post on Usain Bolt‘s extraordinary 200-meter race mentions in passing that “it is only a fairly recent phenomenon that the 200-meter typically yields a faster average speed than the 100-meter sprint.” We’re living in a topsy-turvy world where the world-record pace is faster on a longer distance than a shorter distance. When […]

Media Bias: Olympic Edition

If you go to to study the Olympic medal counts, you will find the United States sitting proudly at the top of the list. When I last checked, the U.S. had about 13 more medals than China. Russia, in third place, has barely more than half the medals we have. Great Britain is in […]

Usain Bolt: It’s Just Not Normal

Usain Bolt‘s wonderful run in the Olympic 200-meter sprint reminds us that the normal distribution — the familiar bell curve beloved by economists and statisticians — can be wildly inappropriate when analyzing extremely selected samples. This morning’s New York Times shows Usain Bolt’s new world record, relative to the 250 greatest 200-meter sprints ever. Not […]