Olympic winter games: hosting and legacy
Russian State University of Physical Education Sport, Youth and Tourism, Russia Introduction: In view of preparations for the forthcoming XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi certain problems become of great importance. They are: revisions of the Winter Olympics‘ programme, dynamics of national teams‘ results and the reasons of it. This research is an attempt to find out if the fact of hosting the Olympic Winter Games by a specific country influences the results of host national team.
The base of this research is the comparative analysis of host national teams‘ results in the Winter Olympics in the period of 1976-2010. During the aforementioned period the Olympic Winter Games were held in Canada (Calgary, 1988:
Vancouver, 2010), France (Albertville, 1992), Norway (Lillehammer, 1994), Japan (Nagano, 1998), United States (Salt Lake City, 2002), Italy (Turin, 2006) and will be held in Russia (Sochi, 2014).
The indices analyzed were:
1) The number of medals won by the host national team during the period under review
2) The host country rank in the medal table
3) The correlation of the gold medal‘s number with that of medals won.
According to these indices there were analyzed the results of each national team at the hosted Winter Olympics, three preceding and three (or less) subsequent Olympic Winter Games.
Methods: - Theoretical analysis and generalization;
- Comparison and confrontation.
Results: Analysis made has revealed that during the period preceding the Olympic Winter Games in the mentioned countries the results of their national teams were not stable. Specifically, the national teams of Canada and Norway had their best results at the Olympic Winter Games foregoing those held in their native countries. The different situation can be noted in the French and Japanese national teams whose results at the preceding Winter Olympics were worse that they have achieved earlier.
The Russian team has also demonstrated the instable results expressed in reduction of the total medal number after the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, following active rise of this index in Turin, and new decrease of it in Vancouver. The Italian national team in the preceding period has twice surpassed its own results gained in Turin, therewith the best results were showed 12 years before XX Olympic Winter Games in Italy. Only the results of the US team can be considered as stable. The majority of the national teams gained the best results at the Winter Olympics held in their native country as compared to the previous Olympic Winter Games. The above refers to the teams of Canada, Norway, France, Japan and the United States. Three last-named improved their results considerably in comparison with those at the preceding Games.
And in doing this the teams of Canada, France and the United States managed to increase the number of the medals won at the succeeding Winter Olympics, as to the rest teams the indices achieved at the Games held in native countries have remained the best. Examples of the Canadian, French, Norwegian and the US teams demonstrated the retention of results‘ stability confirmed by higher results of succeeding Winter Olympics compared to the preceding. The Canadian national Olympic team showed steady rise of results; the indices of the French team in 1994 were noticeably lower than in 1992, although still maintaining the tendency to increase. The results of the French national team in 2002 were better than they had in Albertville. The Norwegian team didn‘t achieve such high results at the following Winter Olympics as they did in Lillehammer, but its achievements during this period is higher than during the period foregoing the Olympic Winter Games held in Norway. The US team‘s results in Vancouver exceeded those in Salt Lake City.
Teams‘ medal ranking at the Winter Olympics held in their native countries was not the highest for the majority of the teams during the period analyzed. The 13th place in medal table taken by the Canadian team in Calgary was its worst result for 34 years since 1976 till, and the first position in Vancouver became the best success ever achieved by the team. In 2002 the French and the Norwegian teams managed to take the higher places in the medal table than they did at the Winter Olympics held in their countries. In spite of reduction of medal number in Turin the US team occupied the higher position. The only team that failed to improve the results after the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano was the team of Japan. Its best achievement during the analyzed period was the 7th place in Nagano. Thus, the host countries‘ teams, with the exception of the Japanese and the Italian, managed to improve their positions in the medal tables: the Canadian team has shifted from the 13th place in 1988 up to the 1st place in 2010; the French team – from the 7th place in 1992 up to the 6th in 2002; the team of Norway – from the 2nd place in 1994 up to the 1st place in 2002; the US team – from the 3rd place in 2002 up to the 2nd place in 2006. The highest ranking of the Russian national team was the 1st place at the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.
Later there was decline in the results of the Russian team and the 11th place in Vancouver turned out to be its worst index.
The changes in number of the gold medals and the total number of medals won have common tendencies as demonstrated by the French, the Norwegian, the US and the Italian teams. The changes of the total number of medals are in proportion to the changes of the gold medals‘ number.
However, there is no such correlation in the results of the Canadian, the Japanese and the Russian national teams. The Canadian team while increasing the total number of medals won from 4 in 1984 up to 5 in 1988 didn‘t manage to win any gold medals in 1988, though it won 2 gold medals in 1984. The Japanese national team was in the different situation: rise of the gold medals‘ number along with reduction of the total medals‘ number since 2002 till 2006; the same number of the gold medals in 1992 and 1994 along with the decreasing of overall number of medals.
At the 2010 Winter Olympics the Japanese team won more medals than at the 2006 Winter Olympics yet it failed to get any gold medals. In Vancouver the Russian team surpassed its own result in the total number of medals got in Salt Lake City, but as to the gold medals their number in 2010 was less than in 2002.
Conclusions: The analysis of the results achieved by the national teams of the countries, organizers of Winter Olympics, proves the lack of definite tendency to stable rise of teams‘ results during the period foregoing to the Olympic Winter Games held by their native countries, there is also no any clear tendency to achieve the best results at the Olympic Winter Games held in the homeland and to keep the Olympic legacy.
N.Y. Melnikova, A.Y. Nikiforova
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