Ranking medals and winners
In the ranking of teams on the Olympic medal table, there is the eternal dilemma of what criterion to use. Some use the number of gold medals won, others use the total number of medals won. For example, who should rank higher? A country with a single gold (G) or one with five silvers (S) and five bronze (B)? Most would say the latter.
What about a country (X, say) with 4G, 4S, 4B as opposed to one (Y, say) with 3G, 6S, 5B? Which should really be ranked higher? Now it's not so obvious. Depending on who is doing the ranking, they usually choose the method that gives them the higher placing. So X would go for "more golds" while Y would go for "more medals".
What is needed is a method that attempts to put a relative point value on a gold, silver or bronze medal. I find that the following works well: four points for gold, two points for silver and one point for bronze.
So a gold is worth twice as much as a silver which is worth twice as much as a bronze. (As a Trini, I'm tempted to give ten points for bronze and one each for gold and silver). In this way, country X would earn 28 points while country Y would earn 29 points and so should rank higher.
As I write China has 34G, 21S, 18B while the US has 30G, 19S, 21B. China has more golds, more silvers and more total medals and should obviously rank higher. But one does not get a good feel for how much ahead they are. Using the points system, China would earn 196 points while the US would get 179, a comfortable lead.