The Summit Daily’s 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics ‘platinum medalists’
March 1, 2018
A gold medal is great and all, but in the wake of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, the Summit Daily was left to wonder: Who was the best of the best at this year's games?
Just who were the "platinum medalists?"
We tackled this question by partaking in a bit of statistical calculation. And we focused it on the 53 2018 Winter Olympic events that determined their gold medalists based on fastest time completing a course or race track.
These events range from Alpine and cross-country skiing, to sliding events such as bobsled, luge and skeleton, to speedskating.
For the sake of statistical consistency, there were a handful of judged events we didn't include in this calculation. These omitted competitions include slopestyle snowboarding (Sorry, Red Gerard!), halfpipe skiing and figure skating — events that determine their champions based on judge's scores.
With the timed events our goal was to find out just how much better each of the gold medalists' times were at this year's Olympics compared to the silver medalists' time in second place behind them. And, though some timed races take hours while other events take mere seconds, we were able to compare across these disciplines by quantifying the percentage difference between the gold medal winner's time and the time for the silver medalist.
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And once we calculated just how much better all 53 gold medalists were than the respective silver medalists, we drew a cutoff line.
That cutoff line is at 0.57 percent as that was the mean — or average — percentage difference between all 53 gold and silver medalists in the timed events.
Above that? You're platinum! Below that? You're merely golden.
Of the 19 Summit Daily selections at this year's games, both Norway and Germany fielded three platinum medalists, including German biathlon gold medalist Laura Dahlmeier, who completed the 7.5-kilometer sprint course an astounding 1.88 percent faster than second place.
Dahlmeier was Germany's top platinum medalist, while Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjoergen was best for her country, finishing the ladies 30-kilometer mass start classic race with a time 2.17 percent better than silver medal position. That might not seem like a lot, but considering 43 of these 53 gold medalists defeated silver medal by less than 1 percent, that's saying something.
Then there's the most platinum of all of the gold medalists at this year's games. Bjoergen was second fiddle at the 2018 Olympics of all the platinum medalists. The home country South Korean ladies 3,000-meter speedskate relay team was 3.34 percent faster than anyone else in that race, the runaway champions of this year's games.
As for the Americans, not a single athlete or team made our platinum medal cutoff. The closest? That would be Vail Valley Alpine skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin, who won the gold medal in the women's giant slalom event at a pace 0.28 percent faster than second place.
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