Olympic Shorts: Medal prediction is not quite the gold standard


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The Independent Online

Most of the country spent the final hours of the Olympic Games willing Team GB to get the one last gold it needed to reach the 30-medal mark, few more so than the Goldman Sachs staff who used econometric models to predict how many medals each nation would win.

They got the identities of the top four nations correct and, while they significantly underestimated the dominance of the USA and China in terms of the number of medals they would win, their formula brought them desperately close to Team GB's total of 29 gold medals. The authors Jose Ursua and Kamakshya Trivedi's prediction for Great Britain: 30 golds. So near, yet so far.

Games sets matches

It has been an emotional couple of weeks, especially for the couples who decided to use the Olympic Games as the stage upon which to get engaged. Their number includes Pete Reed, a gold medal-winning Team GB rower, who asked his girlfriend to marry him in the midst of Sunday's Closing Ceremony.

He said: "I had my guys there with me. It was in the middle while everybody was having a big party, I managed to find my way into the crowd and did it all properly.

"I found her. I knew where she was sitting. I had a quick chat. It was wonderful. We are both thrilled."

Olympic waive

Perhaps it was the sort of Olympic goodwill that seemed to envelope the country which prompted parking inspectors to waive more than 2,500 fines they could have imposed on drivers caught in the Games Lanes, supposed to provide a clear path through London for Olympics VIPs. The waived penalty notices were worth more than £370,000. Westminster Council apparently preferred to give most of the 2,944 drivers a bit of a talking to than a fine.

Sporting chance

The uptake of sport among children has been singled out as one of the most important aspects of the Olympic legacy with Prime Minister David Cameron already moving to try to promote competitive sport in schools with changes to the national curriculum. But, as the Labour Party highlighted, that just leaves academies and Michael Gove's flagship free schools, which – under existing legislation – are free to ignore the national curriculum.

Quote of the day

"I have to say to Britain, you guys did a great job."

Tumua Anae of the USA water polo team

BoJo does a Mo

Boris Johnson paid tribute to Mo Farah as he declared London 2012 "the greatest Games ever" at a press conference yesterday.

The Mayor of London even did the "Mobot".

Stat of the day: 22.9 million

The Olympics Closing Ceremony drew an average audience figure of 22.9 million to BBC1. The peak audience was 26.3 million.