Monday, July 13, 2015

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Medal Counts Fundamentally Flawed

In 1982, Bruce Feirstein's classic Real Men Don't Eat Quiche blew away the medal count theory by observing that Bruce Jenner's accomplishment, winning the Decathlon, was far more impressive than the feats of Mark Spitz, who won several gold medals in swimming. Real Men don't shave their legs.

Medal counts simply don't work. The medal for prancing around a floor mat is not equal to the medal for super heavyweight boxing. The medal for jumping into water while making the smallest splash is not equal to the medal for throwing a 16-pound ball farther than anyone else. And did you know there are 20 different events for paddling across a pond, while there's only one Decathlon?

Real Man's Olympics determines the winning country the only way possible: by basing a country's score on the manliness of each event won. Judged events get marked down. Redundant events get marked down. Events requiring men to wear nothing but skin-tight underwear (this means you, cycling and swimming) get marked down.

You can change the manliness scores for the events and see how those changes affect the outcome.

More site information, including details about the scoring formula, is available below.


2012 Summer Games — London, England, Great Britain, United Kingdom

1st:         Great Britain     152.94
2nd:       United States   82.85
3rd:        Korea, South     75.1
4th:        Hungary              59.97
5th:        Jamaica               57.59
6th:        Kenya  41.51
7th:        Italy      41.46
8th:        Germany            39.28
9th:        Iran       37.44

10th:      Poland 37.44

EventProsCons

Rating (out of 10)

Winner

Archery — Individual Archery

Aim at something and shoot it. This is a contest of strength as well as aim.


Korea, South

Archery — Team Archery

Same as above.

Team sport, plus we already have a real archery medal.


Italy

Athletics — 109 yards

"World's Fastest Man" title on the line.


Jamaica

Athletics — 120 yard Hurdles

Okay, there could be hurdles between you and your destination.

If you're going to have obstacles, go all the way with the Steeplechase.


United States

Athletics — 219 yards

Event pollution between the 109 yards and the marathon.


Jamaica

Athletics — 437 yards

More event pollution.


Grenada

Athletics — 437 yard Hurdles

Still not the steeplechase.


Dominican Republic

Athletics — 875 yards

More event pollution.


Kenya

Athletics — 1640 yards

More event pollution.


Algeria

Athletics — 3281 yard Steeplechase

As good a simulation as we have of getting from Point A to Point B.


Kenya

Athletics — 5468 yards

More event pollution.


Great Britain

Athletics — 10936 yards

More event pollution.


Great Britain

Athletics — 4x109 yards

The country with the top 4 fastest men.

Team sport.


Jamaica

Athletics — 4x437 yards

Seems redundant.


Bahamas

Athletics — Decathlon

This guy can do it all. He is the World's Greatest Athlete.

None.


United States

Athletics — Marathon

Fastest man over distance.


Uganda

Athletics — 12.43 mile Walk

Well, it is purely speed-based...

...But why is this even here? We don't have one-legged races. Or races where people run backwards. Why have any restrictions on how you get there? Especially one that leads to such a fruity gait.


Communist China

Athletics — 31.1 mile Walk

See above.

See above.


Russia

Athletics — Long Jump

A nice, simple question: who can jump the farthest?


Great Britain

Athletics — Triple Jump

Perversion of the long jump with a bunch of silly rules.


United States

Athletics — High Jump

Who can jump the highest?


Russia

Athletics — Pole Vault

Who can jump the highest...

...with a pole, for some reason.


France

Athletics — Shot Put

See that 16 pound ball? Throw it as far as you can!


Poland

Athletics — Discus

Another distance throw.

We already have the shotput. Plus this only weighs 4 pounds, 7 ounces.


Germany

Athletics — Javelin

Wikipedia describes this as "a polearm used as a hand-hurled missile weapon".


Trinidad and Tobago

Athletics — Hammer

Basically a shotput at the end of a 4-foot pole.

Same as the shotput, plus some mechanical advantage. Normally that would cost points, but think how much clobbering could be done with this thing! (And in Scotland, men do this in kilts. Yeah.)


Hungary

Badminton — Singles

One-on-one, mano-a-mano contest.

It's badminton.


Communist China

Badminton — Doubles

Well you still have to beat somebody.

It's badminton AND it's one of those "team" things.


Communist China

Basketball — Basketball

One team against one other team.

Again, there's a big sports league that plays this for real. Plus, there's women's basketball at the Olympics. Point loss there.


United States

Boxing — Light Flyweight

Pounding the tar out of your opponent! Yes!

But this is like an award for the prettiest girl at an ugly contest. We don't care for arbitrary restrictions, so we only care about the unlimited weight class.


Communist China

Boxing — Flyweight

See above.

See above.


Cuba

Boxing — Bantamweight

See above.

See above.


Great Britain

Boxing — Lightweight

See above.

See above.


Ukraine

Boxing — Light Welterweight

See above.

See above.


Cuba

Boxing — Welterweight

See above.

See above.


Kazakhstan

Boxing — Middleweight

See above.

See above.


Japan

Boxing — Light Heavyweight

See above.

See above.


Russia

Boxing — Heavyweight

See above.

See above.


Ukraine

Boxing — Super Heavyweight

This is the only real boxing event. This guy could take anybody at the Games.

None at all.


Great Britain

Canoeing / Rowing — Canoeing Flatwater One-Man 219 yards

A sprint on the water: a man and his oar, in perfect harmony.

Splitting points with kayaking, because we don't need both.


Ukraine

Canoeing / Rowing — Canoeing Flatwater One-Man 1094 yards

Splitting points with kayaking.


Germany

Canoeing / Rowing — Canoeing Flatwater Two-Man 1094 yards

"Oh, I need some help paddling my canoe..." Splitting points with kayaking.


Germany

Canoeing / Rowing — Kayaking Flatwater One-Man 219 yards

A sprint on the water: a man and his oar, in perfect harmony.

Splitting points with canoeing, because we don't need both.


Great Britain

Canoeing / Rowing — Kayaking Flatwater One-Man 1094 yards

More event pollution. Splitting points with canoeing.


Norway

Canoeing / Rowing — Kayaking Flatwater Two-Man 219 yards

"Oh, I need some help paddling my kayak..." Splitting points with canoeing.


Russia

Canoeing / Rowing — Kayaking Flatwater Two-Man 1094 yards

More event pollution. Splitting points with canoeing.


Hungary

Canoeing / Rowing — Kayaking Flatwater Four-Man 1094 yards

More event pollution. Splitting points with canoeing.


Australia

Canoeing / Rowing — Canoeing One-Man Slalom

Like the previous event, but with steering.

Steering is overrated. Also splitting with kayaking.


France

Canoeing / Rowing — Canoeing Two-Man Slalom


Great Britain

Canoeing / Rowing — Kayaking One-Man Slalom


Italy

Canoeing / Rowing — Rowing Single Sculls

Singles.

The guys here have TWO oars instead of one. Obviously worthy of another round of medals for everybody. Oh wait, it isn't.


New Zealand

Canoeing / Rowing — Rowing Coxless Pair

See above.


New Zealand

Canoeing / Rowing — Rowing Double Sculls

See above.


New Zealand

Canoeing / Rowing — Rowing Lightweight Double Sculls

"Lightweight"? You're joking.


Denmark

Canoeing / Rowing — Rowing Coxless Four

Are we there yet? There appear to be 20 different ways to paddle across a pond. There aren't 20 different ways that anybody cares about...


Great Britain

Canoeing / Rowing — Rowing Quadruple Sculls

See above.


Germany

Canoeing / Rowing — Rowing Eight

There's something to be said for putting together the fastest thing on the water.

There are women's versions of all these, you know. These guys are lucky to be getting all these points.


Germany

Canoeing / Rowing — Rowing Lightweight Coxless Four

Lightweight. And they expect points.


South Africa

Cycling — BMX

Man-powered Excite Bike in real life! Risk of big wipeouts.

The course is a bit contrived.


Latvia

Cycling — Omnium

The "Scratch Race" - it's actually a straight-up race!

Contrived non-races: Flying Lap, Points, Elimination, Pursuit, Time Trial


Denmark

Cycling — Road Race

Uses local terrain. No stupid track games: everybody starts at the same spot, and the winner is the first to finish.

Shared by all cycling events: Stupid hats. Spandex. Contributes to "Lance Armstrong Syndrome", which causes sufferers to dress this way and parade around town.


Kazakhstan

Cycling — Road Time Trial

One-at-a-time race against the clock. Seems unnecessarily boring, doesn't it?


Great Britain

Cycling — Track Team Pursuit

Same as above, but with a team! I honestly don't understand why cycling is a team sport at all.


Great Britain

Cycling — Track Individual Sprint

If there's a sprint, ++points.


Great Britain

Cycling — Track Team Sprint

Except:

Help! The AIR is slowing me down! I'm going to get right up behind you, hold still...


Great Britain

Cycling — Track Keirin

There's a sprint at the end.

There's a pacer in this one. Go fast, but not too fast. hmm.


Great Britain

Cycling — Mountain Cross Country

Real-world usefulness. Not a duplicate of previous events. Nice!

Still exacerbates Lance Armstrong Syndrome.


Czech Republic

Diving — 3.3 yard Springboard

None.

Gracefulness in men's athletics should be a side-effect of getting something done. It certainly shouldn't exist for its own sake.


Russia

Diving — 10.9 yard Platform

None.


United States

Diving — Synchronized 3.3 yard Springboard

None.

Men's... synchronized... diving. I had to rewrite the code here to allow for negative scores.


Communist China

Diving — Synchronized 10.9 yard Platform

None.


Communist China

Fencing — Epee Individual

It's swordfighting. Cool. Epee is based on dueling where the first to draw blood wins.

First blood was developed to avoid killing the other guy.


Venezuela

Fencing — Foil Individual

Based on the sidearm of the 18th-century gentleman.

Complicated rules about hitting with "right of way" and "priority".


Communist China

Fencing — Sabre Individual

Unlike the others, can score with a swipe of the weapon.

"Right of way" etc.


Hungary

Fencing — Sabre Team

Team again.


Korea, South

Field Hockey — Field Hockey

You don't have ice in the summer, so I guess this is the best that can be done.

It's a girls' game.


Germany

Gymnastics — Floor Exercise

Is this the one with music? And props? And a lot of prancing and dancing around a big mat? Pass.


Communist China

Gymnastics — High Bar

These guys get some impressive speed and height above the ground when they flip around this 9-foot-high bar.

Judging. Judging in itself has some serious problems. And if an event requires judging to declare a winner, then is it really a sport? Or has it become "art"?


Netherlands

Gymnastics — Parallel Bars

Impressive strength required to do this.

See above.


Communist China

Gymnastics — Pommel Horse

Requires more technique, and less strength, than parallel bars or rings.


Hungary

Gymnastics — Rings

You've got to be Much Man to hold an Iron Cross or similar for any length of time.


Brazil

Gymnastics — Vault

The girls also do this one.


Korea, South

Gymnastics — Artistic Team

A little of each of the other Pros.

A little of each of the other Cons, plus "Team".


Communist China

Gymnastics — Trampoline

"Girls Jumping on Trampolines" is good...

...but unfortunately this is its opposite.


Communist China

Gymnastics — Artistic All-Around

A little of each of the other Pros.

A little of each of the other Cons.


Japan

Handball — Handball

Better than soccer because you can use your hands.

There's a women's version. And it's like soccer.


France

Judo — <= 132 pounds

Two guys in combat, so you've got a pretty good start there.

Again, we only care about the unlimited weight category.


Russia

Judo — <= 146 pounds

See above.


Georgia

Judo — <= 161 pounds

See above.


Russia

Judo — <= 179 pounds

See above.


Korea, South

Judo — <= 198 pounds

See above.


Korea, South

Judo — <= 220 pounds

See above.


Russia

Judo — > 220 pounds

It's a "fight" until one guy surrenders.

It translates to "gentle way". It's based on grappling. Along with the other Far Eastern "fighting" methods, comes packaged with a lot of nutty philosophy.


France

Modern Pentathlon — Modern Pentathlon

Epee, pistol, and (kind of) cross-country.

Swimming and show jumping. Swimming means these guys are leg-shavers. And doing something for "show" in an athletic event? This isn't gymnastics...


Czech Republic

Ping Pong — Singles

Ping-pong is a great game. It requires lightning-quick reflexes, and it's a blast to play. (Okay, maybe I'm biased towards ping-pong, but it's my site.)

But where does it fall on this scale, compared to the decathlon, or archery, or shotput.


Communist China

Ping Pong — Doubles

See above.

See above, plus it's a team.


Communist China

Shooting — 10.9 yard Air Pistol

Marksmanship. One of the few Olympic skills that would still be useful in modern combat.

An air pistol? At 10 yards? The women do this one.


Korea, South

Shooting — 27.3 yard Rapid Fire Pistol

Rapid fire. Yeah baby. No women's equivalent.


Cuba

Shooting — 54.7 yard Pistol

The purest precision shooting event.


Korea, South

Shooting — 10.9 yard Air Rifle

An airgun. At 10 yards. And the girls do this one.


Romania

Shooting — 54.7 yard Rifle Prone

You may need to hide and shoot at the same time!

If you have Three Positions, you don't really need this one.


Belarus

Shooting — 54.7 yard Rifle Three Positions

Prone. Standing. Kneeling. This guy can shoot you any way he likes.


Italy

Shooting — Trap

They don't use real birds. And why Trap when you can Double Trap? And until recently, Trap, Double Trap, and Skeet were a single mixed-sex competition.


Croatia

Shooting — Double Trap

They don't use real birds. And until recently, Trap, Double Trap, and Skeet were a single mixed-sex competition.


Great Britain

Shooting — Skeet

See above.

A woman won the last mixed skeet competition...


United States

Soccer — Soccer

A bunch of guys lightly jogging around. No particular skill involved, except pretending to be hurt. And they're not allowed to use their hands because... Socialists like arbitrary rules? I really don't know.


Mexico

Swimming — 54.7 yard Freestyle

World's Fastest Swimmer. Not as great as World's Fastest Man, but it's something.

Body shaving. Fruity swimsuits.


France

Swimming — 109 yard Freestyle

We don't need anything but the 54.7-yard and the marathon. Plus these guys are shavers.


United States

Swimming — 219 yard Freestyle

See above.


France

Swimming — 437 yard Freestyle

See above.


Communist China

Swimming — 1640 yard Freestyle

See above.


Communist China

Swimming — Marathon

Endurance swimming. Outdoors. Much less intereference from turns.


Tunisia

Swimming — 109 yard Backstroke

Why do we care what stroke they use? All that matters is who's fastest, right? We don't have footraces where you have to do a jumping jack between each step, or do pirouettes or anything. That would be stupid.


United States

Swimming — 219 yard Backstroke

See above.


United States

Swimming — 109 yard Butterfly

See above.


United States

Swimming — 219 yard Butterfly

See above.


South Africa

Swimming — 109 yard Breaststroke

See above.


South Africa

Swimming — 219 yard Breaststroke

See above.


Hungary

Swimming — 219 yard Medley

See above.


United States

Swimming — 437 yard Medley

See above.


United States

Swimming — 4x109 yard Freestyle

The country with the top 4 fastest swimmers.

Team. And all 4 are shavers.


France

Swimming — 4x219 yard Freestyle

More event pollution.


United States

Swimming — 4x109 yard Medley

Again, just because a swimmer is fast using an inefficient stroke does not make him a fast swimmer.


United States

Tae Kwon Do — <= 128 pounds

Lightweights...


Spain

Tae Kwon Do — <= 150 pounds

See above.


Turkey

Tae Kwon Do — <= 176 pounds

See above.


Argentina

Tae Kwon Do — > 176 pounds

It's two guys in combat.

Like the other Far East "fighting" styles, requires swallowing a lot of philosophical garbage about "peace", meditation, "tenets" of Taekwondo, and a lot of other BS.


Italy

Tennis — Singles

Like ping-pong, but you're standing on the table. Requires precision, strength, speed, agility, and brains. One-on-one competition.

The girls play it too.


Great Britain

Tennis — Doubles

See above.

Team.


United States

Triathlon — Triathlon

Running. Definitely an endurance test.

Swimming (shaving), cycling (Spandex).


Great Britain

Volleyball — Normal

This is a girls' game.


Russia

Volleyball — Beach

This one is definitely better when played by the ladies. Why is this on the men's side?


Germany

Water Polo — Water Polo

Looks like a fun way to pass some time in the pool.

Serious competition? I just don't see it. (There's probably body-shaving, too.)


Croatia

Weightlifting — <= 123 pounds

A good old-fashioned test of strength.

A lightweight weightlifter is completely uninteresting.


Korea, North

Weightlifting — <= 137 pounds

See above.


Korea, North

Weightlifting — <= 152 pounds

See above.


Communist China

Weightlifting — <= 170 pounds

See above.


Communist China

Weightlifting — <= 187 pounds

See above.


Poland

Weightlifting — <= 207 pounds

See above.


Kazakhstan

Weightlifting — <= 231 pounds

See above.


Ukraine

Weightlifting — > 231 pounds

No judging, no "performance". Just strength, straight up.


Iran

Wrestling — Freestyle: Bantamweight

It's not the WWF, but it could still be entertaining.

Lightweights.


Russia

Wrestling — Freestyle: Featherweight

See above.


Azerbaijan

Wrestling — Freestyle: Lightweight

See above.


Japan

Wrestling — Freestyle: Welterweight

See above.


United States

Wrestling — Freestyle: Middleweight

See above.


Azerbaijan

Wrestling — Freestyle: Heavyweight

See above.


United States

Wrestling — Freestyle: Super heavyweight

It's like a fight.

But you can't punch the guy. And you have to wear some kind of weird skin-tight one-piece suit.


Uzbekistan

Wrestling — Greco-Roman: Bantamweight

Lightweights.


Iran

Wrestling — Greco-Roman: Featherweight

See above.


Iran

Wrestling — Greco-Roman: Lightweight

See above.


Korea, South

Wrestling — Greco-Roman: Welterweight

See above.


Russia

Wrestling — Greco-Roman: Middleweight

See above.


Russia

Wrestling — Greco-Roman: Heavyweight

See above.


Iran

Wrestling — Greco-Roman: Super heavyweight

It's like freestyle.

It's like freestyle, except with rules restricting the style. Why do we care how a guy is pinned?


Cuba

Articles

Scoring Formula

The scoring is exponential with base 1.5. An event rated at 10 counts half again as much as an event rated at 9. Where y is the effective score and x is the event's rating:
y = x/abs(x) times 1.5^(abs(x)) - 1

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