Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Monday, May 16, 2005

Old teams?


I took a look at the age distribution for the U.S. WOC teams. I was inspired by some of the discussion over on Attackpoint. You can read the whole discussion here,though it is long and not always interesting.

One post in particular inspired some thinking. Here is a part of it:

...the depth and strength of the field during Team Trials is such that a WOC team with average age 45+ is possible. The fact of this is alarming!

I don't actually think the author of the comment meant it as fact, but it did inspire me to look at ages of the U.S. WOC teams for 2004 and 2005 (people who have a good memory and have been reading this page for years might remember I looked at the age of orienteers at the WOC in 2003 back in July of that year).

For the 2005 WOC team:

Average age: 30.75
Median age: 28

For the 2004 WOC team:

Average age: 32.38
Median age: 31.5

So, both the average and median ages have gone down in just one year.

I also took the two WOC teams (2004 and 2005) and compared the age distribution of those U.S. WOC teams with the age distribution of all of the teams at the WOC in Switzerland. The U.S. in 2004 and 2005 certainly had a lot of old runner -- 25 percent of our WOC runners were over 40 (compared to just 2.4 percent of all the WOC runners in Switzerland). But, the U.S. about the same portion of runners in the 21-25 age group (37.5 percent for the U.S. compared to 36 percent for all of the teams in Switzerland).

Looking at some data is usually a good idea. You can learn something. I learned (though I can't say I was surprised): the 2005 U.S. WOC team is measurably younger than the 2004 team. The U.S. has a lot of over 40 WOC appearances, but a normal amount of young senior WOC appearance (21-25 years old). That mix of veterans and young orienteers seems like a good thing to me.

posted by Michael | 7:44 PM


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