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Public editor: How should the Olympic medal standings be done?

The Globe and Mail’s Olympic medal ranking has Canada in fourth, while the IOC list has Canada in third.

With Monday morning's final list of Sochi Olympics medal standings, a few readers have written in complaining that The Globe and Mail chose an inferior way to rank the countries.

One reader said a front-page retraction was in order: "The front page of the Globe, Feb. 24, shows a 'Medal Standings' table. It is actually showing the total medal count. Medal standings are ranked by the number of gold medals won, followed by silver, then bronze. Google 'medal standings Sochi' and the Google results show Canada ranked third with 10 gold medals behind Russia (13) and Norway (11). The U.S. places fourth with 9. Canada also beat the U.S. in silver medals with 10 versus 7. C'mon Globe, give credit where credit's due!"

As the reader said, The Globe's list ranked the countries by the total number of medals won. It had Russia first with 33, the United States second with 28, Norway third with 26 and Canada fourth with 25.

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The official Sochi website lists Canada in third because it tallies according to the most golds won. In this case, Russia is first with 13, Norway is second with 11 and Canada is third with 10.

Others have suggested that the most fair way of counting would be to give three points for gold, two for silver and one for bronze. Under this method, Russia would still win with 70 points, but Canada would be second with 55 points and Norway and the U.S. tied with 53.

I wrote last week that the most important thing was to remain consistent with the tally, regardless of where that put Canada. While the International Olympic Committee and official sites rank according to the number of gold medals won, Olympic committees of most countries focus on the total number of medals. The Canadian Olympic Committee stated before the Games that its goal was to surpass the "medal count" (total number of medals) we earned at Vancouver, not the "medal standings" (gold-weighted) as used by the IOC.

So, while we are done for this year, what do you think is the most fair way to count in future Olympic Games?

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About the Author
Public Editor

Sylvia Stead has been a reporter and editor at the Globe since 1975, after graduating from the University of Western Ontario in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. She won the Board of Governors Award there in 1974. As a reporter, Sylvia covered courts, education and Queen's Park. More

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