Who Competes with Whom in the Olympic Games?: Competition Frequency and National Similarities

Physica A 513: pp. 447-455, January 2019

22 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2017 Last revised: 24 Dec 2018

See all articles by Hyeseung Choi

Hyeseung Choi

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Hyungsoo Woo

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Ji-hyun (Jason) Kim

Yonsei University School of Business

Jae-Suk Yang

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Date Written: November 1, 2017

Abstract

In the Olympic Games, professional athletes representing their nations compete fairly under the principles of sports regardless of the political and ideological differences that the competing nations may have. Despite the efforts of the International Olympic Committee to minimize political and economic influences, political and economic powers may still influence the results of the Olympic Games. In this paper, we examine how these direct competitions between nations changed over time during the period from 1952 to the recent 2016 games. To unveil patterns, we compare the Olympics in the Cold War and post-Cold War periods, identifying differences in geographical, economic, political, and cultural characteristics. We analyze the abovementioned characteristics by examining pairwise data representing competitions between two nations for each sporting event of the Olympic Games. First, we employed a network-based approach by using the maximum spanning tree (MST) algorithm. Then, we conducted a regression analysis using a gravity model to investigate the common characteristics. Our analysis shows that during the Cold War, no common characteristics defined the relationships between directly competing nations. However, in the post-Cold War era, we find that countries engaging in more competitions were similar in economy size such as GDP or GDP per capita. Also, countries of similar genetic and linguistic origin tended to compete more often. Our study differs from prior studies in that we utilize pairwise country data. Our focus is on the dyadic relations between countries that directly engaged in competition during the Summer Olympic Games from 1952 to 2016 and how these relations changed over time due to the influences of political and economic factors during and after the Cold War.

Suggested Citation

Choi, Hyeseung and Woo, Hyungsoo and Kim, Ji-hyun (Jason) and Yang, Jae-Suk, Who Competes with Whom in the Olympic Games?: Competition Frequency and National Similarities (November 1, 2017). Physica A 513: pp. 447-455, January 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3046049 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3046049

Hyeseung Choi

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) ( email )

373-1 Kusong-dong
Yuson-gu
Taejon 305-701, 130-722

Hyungsoo Woo

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) ( email )

373-1 Kusong-dong
Yuson-gu
Taejon 305-701, 130-722
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Ji-hyun (Jason) Kim

Yonsei University School of Business ( email )

50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu
Seoul, 120-749
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)
+82-2-2123-6573 (Phone)

Jae-Suk Yang (Contact Author)

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) ( email )

291 Daehak-ro
Yuseong-gu
Daejeon, 34141
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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