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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

USAW ranking system, Part 2 - Use your data

Warning! :  This is a FACT Based Analysis- not emotional or politically motivated analysis. As you will see, the change in the ranking system from the 2011 system to the 2012 system has significant differences. The numbers are the numbers and are not biased by my current status as a Nationally Ranked athlete. Finally, where I use myself as an example, it is to illustrate points. I would rather single myself out versus singling out athletes that I do not train with. Hence, I do not point out other athletes by name.

As a Part 2, Let us take a look at:
Analysis 1. The sensitivity of the 3rd place average ranking system, if using different set's of years
Analysis 2. Evaluate how the change from "projected placement" ranking system to 3rd place average system shifts the rankings.  

Goal:
1. Dispell long held misconceptions on team selection by providing a simplistic numerical analysis.
2. Summarize results upfront for those with short attention spans

Summary of Results:

1. When looking at the "3rd place average" taken over the last five years at the World Championships or Olympic Games by weight class, there is nominal change to the rankings if you do 2year, 3 year, or 4 year average of third place at the World Championships. In only one case did the Olympic Team change.  This is expected.

2. In 2011, USAW used a "projected placement" ranking system, which ranked athletes based on how they might place at the last World Championships.  If we used this system in 2012, the results would be:
  - The top 2 spots would remain the same (ie no difference in the Olympic Team)
 -  AND A very different Top 7 and a different Pan AM Team


Are you ready for the results?  Here they are...



Analysis 1: What happens if the "3rd place average" was taken over different years? Is there a big change?
Not really.
The difference is nominal. We expect this as we are averaging a measely amount of data points.


Analysis 2: What happens if we used the 2011 ranking system, would it e drastically different? YES!


Note, the Olympic Team would stay the same; however, you would have a different top 7.
For fun, I checked out what my ranking would be.

As it turns out, I would be projected to place at the World championships as high as someone who is currently ranked 11 spots higher than me. This is fact.

Analysis 2.2: What happens if we used the 2011 Ranking system on the Pan Am Team Rankings?
We get a big difference.
Method for this calculation: Comparisons were done for the 2011 Pan Am Games, 2010 Pan Am Championships, and 2010 Pan Am Championships with Colombia taken out.  I looked at both years as 2011 is not a good representation as countries have limited slots for the Pan AM Games.  Although 2010 is a better representation, Colombia will not be competing at the 2012 championships, hence I took their athletes results out.

Here it is:
Note, as it appears that some athletes have opted out of the Pan Am Team, I am taking the USAW 2012 ranking list for the Pan Am Team, and, again, for posterity seeing where I stack-up as well.   As expected, the 2011 USAW ranking method yields very different results.

Finally, there are a number of ties if we use the USAW projected placement system.  If we break ties on Sinclair, the rankings might look like this:


Note: I show ties being broken on Sinclair as other countries do this.  I believe USAW broke ties using percent of 1st place. Eitherway, the rankings using the 2011 system are way different than the 2012 rankings for lifters outside the top 2.

Recommendations on how we can get a better ranking system?
That topic is outside the scope of this post.  I will have to use actual statistical tools for that. I will address this in the future and am glad to support the USAW in any future efforts to improve athlete rankings.

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