Home advantage in the summer Olympic Games is well known. What is not so well known is that countries that host the Olympic Games perform better in the games prior to, and following the games where they were hosts.
Objective: To model/quantify the significance associated with these ‘hosting’ effects and to explain the likely causes of Great Britain’s improved medals haul in Beijing, while looking at implications for London 2012 and beyond.
Results: Using all hosting cities/countries since the Second World War and analysing the number of medals awarded to competitors as a binomial proportion (p) response variable within a logit model, we identified a significant increase in the probability/odds of a country obtaining a medal in the Olympic games prior to, during and after hosting the Olympics.
Conclusions: Funding appears to be an important factor when explaining these findings. Almost all countries that have been awarded the games post World War 2, would appear to have invested heavily in sport prior to being awarded the games. A second factor in Great Britain’s success is the legacy of hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2002 (a post-hosting games effect) that undoubtedly provided an infrastructure that benefited, in particular, cycling. Whether the IOC either consciously or subconsciously take these factors into account is unclear when awarding the games to a city. What is clear is that based on these findings, Great Britain’s prospects of maintaining the Olympic success achieved in Beijing is likely to continue to London 2012 and beyond.
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