Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, July 29, 2006

US results in the middle qualifier compared to peer nations


How did the U.S. do in this morning's WOC middle qualifier against a group of "peer nations"?

First, some background. A few years ago I put together a list of nations that the U.S. could consider orienteering peers. Basically, these are nations that have some similarities to the U.S. in depth and quality of orienteering (with a few other factors included). If you're interested in the details (and before you send me an email griping about my list), you should read more on peer nations.

The original list I came up with back in 2004 is worth a look, but for this year I've modified the list. For the modified list, I shortened the peer nation comparison for the U.S. to:

New Zealand

For each U.S. competitor, I looked at the results and compared them to the runner from the peer nation list. If the U.S. runner finished behind the runner from the peer nation, the U.S. is scored one "loss." If the U.S. runner finished ahead of the runner from the peer nation, the U.S. is scored on "win." Then I add up all the wins and losses. To add some context, I looked at the results from the middle qualifying race in Japan, too.

2006: The U.S. had 7 wins and 25 losses.
2005: The U.S. had 4 wins and 15 losses.

The winning percentages are almost the same (21.8 percent this year compared to 21.1 percent in 2005). My sense as I looked at the results is that the U.S. was quite near having a good bit better record this year. If just a few things had fallen into place, the U.S. records might have been more like 12 wins and 20 losses.

Why compare to peer nations?

I put together the peer nation list with the idea that it could be a good way for the U.S. WOC team to look at their performance and to help set some goals. I wanted a very simple to use system. So simple that a runner standing at the results board would be able to look up and count up their score. You don't need a spreadsheet to calculate. I also wanted something that would encourage everyone to fight hard no matter how the run was going. Most U.S. runners go to a WOC with an idea that making the final is a personal goal. But, if you make a boom or two, that goal disappear. On the other hand, if you're fighting for wins against the peer nations, you've still got a chance to earn some "wins."

posted by Michael | 4:49 PM


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