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Olympic medals: An alternative table – with US 15th – BBC News

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The Olympics medals table was again dominated by the biggest countries like the US, which finished top. But how would the table look if population and wealth were taken into account?

When it comes to counting the medal spoils, there is a strong sense of deja vu. Every four years, the same few countries wrack up medal after medal – the US, China, Russia – and Tokyo 2020 was no different.

The US won 113 medals total, including 39 golds, the most of any country.

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So what makes countries like the US dominate, while others lag behind? Economists and data nerds have a few theories.

“It’s still loud and clear from the patterns that what matters is population, level of income, and political system,” says David Forrest, an economist at the University of Liverpool who researches Olympic predictions.

Population matters, Mr Forrest says, because the bigger the pool of athletes, the more likely it is for a country to produce true competitors.

“It’s clear that very few people who are born have got the potential to be a world-class athlete,” he says.

Take a country like Luxembourg, which has a population of 633,622. It sent 12 athletes to compete in seven sports, and won no medals. Meanwhile the US, which has the third-largest population in the world, sent 613 athletes to compete in 35 sports and took home more medals than any other country.

Some countries over-perform, given their population size. The BBC came up with an alternative ranking, which looked at the number of medals won per million people. In this scenario, the tiny European nation of San Marino, with a population of just over 33,000, comes out on top, even though it earned only three medals. The US didn’t even crack the top 20, coming in at 60th place.

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But population, by itself, is not enough to guarantee a country sweeps the podium.

“If a country is very poor, it won’t have the resources to convert that potential into actual ability to compete on a world stage,” he says.

“They’ve got to have the ability to participate in sport in the first place. For example, they might have a great natural ability in swimming that is waiting to be developed – but actually there won’t be any swimming pools.”

When poorer countries do win, they tend to win at sports that are lower-cost, like wrestling, he says, while wealthy countries outperform in expensive sports like equestrian and sailing.

When taking into account the average national wealth per person, China and Russia (numbers two and three in total medals) actually did better than the US. Under these alternate rankings, China comes in first, and Russia second, with Kenya coming in third place.

The US, normally top dog, lagged behind at number 15.

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There are cultural and political factors too. Mr Forrest says that countries that used to belong to the Soviet Union tend to have an advantage, because of the strong sports infrastructure that was established by communist regimes.

Commonwealth countries also tend to do better than expected compared to their size and wealth. Mr Forrest believes that’s because Britain was a pioneer in developing sport as we know it today, and brought that enthusiasm for athletic competition with them around the world.

Australia, which often cracks the top-10 for total medal count, is a prime example.

The sports a country chooses to compete in matter too.

In India, cricket is the national sport but is not played at the Olympics. India also does tend to excel at hockey, which is played at the Olympics, but that only yields a maximum of two medals, one for men and one for women. Whereas sports competed by an individual, such as gymnastics, swimming and athletics, can yield several per athlete.

“In general, it doesn’t do you a lot of good to be keen on team sports,” Mr Forrest says.

Simon Greave, head of sport analyses at data company Neilsen Gracenote, says it’s these myriad factors that make predicting Olympic medal counts tricky. If you just use variables like population and GDP per capita, you tend to underestimate some of the country’s top performers.

Past performance, he says, is a much better predictor of who will do well – but that’s still only a rough estimate.

“What you won’t pick up is countries that are improving fast or declining fast, and I think that’s the interesting part in all of this,” he tells the BBC.

To better gauge the Olympic winners, Mr Greave takes into account not only past athletic performance, but how each country has done at other international sporting competitions since the last Olympic games.

Taking that into account, he predicted that India would actually have its best year yet, which it did, finishing 33rd in terms of most medals won. That smashed its previous record of 51st, from 2008.

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Ticats list Watford as starting QB vs. Stampeders – TSN

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David Watford has been listed as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats starting quarterback for Friday’s game against the Calgary Stampeders.

The move comes after Watford took the majority of snaps in practice this week with Jeremiah Masoli limited due to a rib injury. Tiger-Cats head coach Orlondo Steinauer told said Thursday the decision would be based on how Masoli was feeling.

Watford has completed six passes this season for 78 yards.

Masoli opened the season as the team’s starting quarterback, but was replaced by Dane Evans. Evans was ruled out for four-to-six weeks with an Oblique injury on Monday.

Masoli, 33, has completed 41 of 66 passes this season for 371 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.

The Tiger-Cats will be looking to get back to .500 with a win Friday against the Stampeders (2-4).

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AC Leonard receives an additional one-game suspension; six players fined – CFL.ca

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TORONTO — The Canadian Football League announced the following on Thursday:

Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive lineman A.C. Leonard has been suspended for one additional game due to a verbal abuse and unacceptable behaviour towards the doping control officers. Leonard was previously suspended for two games for failing to provide a sample for drug testing.

Fines from Week 6:

  • Saskatchewan Roughriders safety Mike Edem was fined for a tourist hit on Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver Nic Demski.
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris was fined for grabbing Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive back Christian Campbell’s facemask in a reckless and unsafe manner.
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais was fined for his involvement in instigating the altercation between the two teams.
  • Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Justin Lawrence was fined for a chop-block on Edmonton Elks defensive lineman Jake Ceresna.
  • Edmonton Elks linebacker Nyles Morgan was fined for kicking Calgary Stampeders offensive lineman Bryce Bell.

An additional fine from Week 5:

  • Toronto Argonauts defensive back Shaquille Richardson was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct in the Labour Day Classic against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

As per league policy, the amounts of the player fines were not disclosed.

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Hopkins converts second chance to give Washington wild win over Giants – Sportsnet.ca

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LANDOVER, Md. — Taylor Heinicke and Dustin Hopkins made the most of their second chances.

Washington needed every last second — and then some — to earn a long-awaited win over the New York Giants.

Hopkins made a 43-yard field goal on an untimed down — after a penalty negated his miss seconds earlier — and Washington beat New York 30-29 on Thursday night, snapping a five-game win streak for the Giants in the series.

It also gave Heinicke another moment in the sun after he cost Washington dearly with a late interception. The 28-year-old quarterback was making his second career start in the regular season and first since 2018 with Carolina. He became a bit of a sensation when Washington had to use him in last season’s playoffs against Tom Brady and Tampa Bay, but his team lost that game.

“It’s amazing,” Heinicke said. “The first start was what, two or three years ago in Carolina? Threw three picks, tore my tricep, it was just a brutal thing — and that was my last start until last year (against) Tampa. Come in to Tampa last year, had a good game, but ultimately fell up short. And finally get that first win.”

Heinicke, playing because of an injury to Ryan Fitzpatrick, threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns.

His interception set up Graham Gano’s fifth field goal of the game, which gave the Giants a 29-27 lead with 2:00 remaining. Heinicke then guided Washington back into field goal range.

“He does have the ability to throw the ball and make all the throws. We’ve seen that,” coach Ron Rivera said. “And he’s got a lot of confidence.”

Hopkins missed his first attempt to win the game, but he was given a reprieve when Dexter Lawrence was flagged for being offside. His next attempt was good, giving Washington (1-1) a wild victory.

“Somebody out there check on my mother,” Hopkins said. “She’s probably had a heart attack.”

Daniel Jones threw for 249 yards and a touchdown for the Giants (0-2). He also ran for 95 yards and a TD.

For most of the night, it was Washington’s highly touted defense that wasn’t pulling its weight. New York scored on its first four possessions of the second half, but after the Giants went up 26-20, Heinicke needed just 17 seconds to put Washington ahead.

J.D. McKissic slipped downfield for a 56-yard reception, and then Ricky Seals-Jones outjumped Adoree’ Jackson in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard TD that put Washington up 27-26.

The Giants had to punt after that, but as Washington was trying to run out the clock, James Bradberry picked off a pass by Heinicke, giving the Giants the ball at the Washington 20.

Washington’s defense forced a field goal, giving Heinicke another chance. Then the penalty on Lawrence gave Hopkins his extra opportunity.

“It’s going to be a tough lesson,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “I’m not going to put this on Dexter.”

After struggling to stop Justin Herbert and the Chargers last weekend, Washington’s defense had its problems again at the start of this game. New York went 79 yards in 11 plays the first time it had the ball, taking a 7-0 lead on a 6-yard run by Jones.

After Washington tied it on Heinicke’s 11-yard scoring pass to Terry McLaurin, Jones broke free for what initially looked like a 58-yard touchdown run. That play was shortened by a holding penalty, however, and the Giants settled for a field goal.

Washington took a 14-10 lead on a 2-yard TD run by McKissic in the final minute of the half.

Jones found Darius Slayton for a 33-yard TD in the third quarter that put New York ahead 20-14.

MISSED CHANCES

Washington’s biggest defensive breakdown wasn’t punished. With the Giants up 23-20 in the fourth quarter, Slayton was all alone behind the defense, but the pass bounced off his outstretched hands.

That play — and the penalties on the final field goal and the long run by Jones — will likely haunt the Giants during their long break before the next game.

“It’s a pretty tough one. You give it your all and fight and it comes down the tail end,” Giants receiver Sterling Shepard said. “See that first one miss and you see those flags it’s not a fun feeling at all.”

The Giants had 11 penalties for 81 yards. Washington had nine for 80 — and some of those were costly, too.

PERFECT AGAIN

Gano has now made 35 consecutive field goals, the longest active streak in the NFL. His five field goals Thursday included kicks from 47, 52 and 55 yards.

INJURIES

Giants: OL Nick Gates was carted off with a broken leg in the first quarter. Gates, normally a center, played guard Thursday after New York put Shane Lemieux on injured reserve.

Daniel Jones threw for 249 yards and a touchdown for the Giants (0-2). He also ran for 95 yards and a TD.

For most of the night, it was Washington’s highly touted defense that wasn’t pulling its weight. New York scored on its first four possessions of the second half, but after the Giants went up 26-20, Heinicke needed just 17 seconds to put Washington ahead.

J.D. McKissic slipped downfield for a 56-yard reception, and then Ricky Seals-Jones outjumped Adoree’ Jackson in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard TD that put Washington up 27-26.

The Giants had to punt after that, but as Washington was trying to run out the clock, James Bradberry picked off a pass by Heinicke, giving the Giants the ball at the Washington 20.

Washington’s defense forced a field goal, giving Heinicke another chance. Then the penalty on Lawrence gave Hopkins his second chance.

Washington: DT Matt Ioannidis left in the first half with a knee injury but returned to the game.

UP NEXT

Giants: New York returns home to face the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 26.

Washington: Two straight road games await Washington, with the first coming Sept. 26 against the Buffalo Bills.

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