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Size matters in race to win Sochi Olympic medals

As the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics get underway in Russia, a new report claims socio-economic data can help predict the winners and losers this year.

Predicting the big winners at this year's winter games, "larger, developed countries" dominate the top of the projected medals table, according the report by PwC , with the top three places taken by the U.S., Germany and Russia.

Reseachers at the global professional services firm said they based their conclusions on a number of "key" economic and demographic factors — from average income levels and population to the number of ski resorts per capita, level of snow coverage and recent "form" at the Winter Olympics.

Whether the country is the host nation and has a "tradition" of winter sport success are also key determinants, according to the report.

(Read more: Why Sochi Olympics isworth $50 billion)

"Our results show that the size of a country's economy is significant in determining their success at the Winter Olympics, with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and population appearing as significant variables" they noted. "However, being a large economy is not sufficient on its own for a strong performance."


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