As the London 2012 Olympics came to a close, one nation stood atop the podium reserved for bronzest nation: Canada.
Getting there was a climb. On August 8, as The Tyee reported at the time, Canada was third bronzest, then moved to second bronzest the next day and by Sunday, when all the medals had been won and tallied, there was Canada, winning the gold in winning bronze.
How do we calculate bronzest nation status? By looking at all nations that have won a significant number of medals (we're saying five or more) and figuring the ratio of their bronzes to their combined silvers and golds. Whoever has the largest proportion of bronze medals to other medals at the end of the Olympics wins. It's that simple.
Throughout the London 2012 Games, Canada showed tremendous focus in keeping its eye on the prize, winning a dozen bronzes while resisting the temptation to pile up similar numbers of silvers or golds. Result? A victorious 2:1 ratio of bronze medals to silvers and golds combined (12 bronze, five silver, one gold).
Poland and Azerbaijan tied for second by both achieving 3:2 ratios. Each produced identical medal totals: six bronze, two silver, two gold.
Using the Tyee formula for deciding who is the bronzest nation of all, Canada leaves ballyhooed sports powers such as the United States and China in the dust. U.S. athletes may have won 17 more bronze medals than ours did, but they also were stymied by winning a combined total of 75 gold and silver medals as well. That gave the U.S. a 29:75 ratio compared to Canada's 2:1, dropping the Americans so far back in the bronzest race that it is like the lights were turned off and everyone had gone home by the time they crossed the bronzest medal ratio finish line.
China's ratio? Worse even than the U.S. performance, put far, far out of the running at 22:65 (22 bronze to 65 silvers and golds combined.)
The Tyee employed social media to the utmost in attempting to alert Canadians and indeed the entire world to our carefully thought out approach to evaluating and then bragging about a nation's medal performance, but the paltry attention we received on Twitter seemed to tell us that we were alone in our enthusiasm for the self-esteem building implications.
Then, Sunday morning, CTV flashed a table on the television screen proudly placing Canada's medal total of 18 at the top of all nations who had one just one gold medal, but had won other medals, too. CTV's approach might have been a bit less mathematically elegant than ours, but it's another way of going about it. So you know what we say? Good work everyone! We did it right.
David Beers is editor of The Tyee.