What is it about?

The determinants of countries’ Olympic success have been investigated from many perspectives. However, the long-term effect of these determinants is not known. Information on the duration of success at the The Olympics can be useful in several ways. First, it helps with understanding the nature of medal-winning. Is it normal that a country always obtains Olympic medals, or is this a rare, extraordinary event? Second, understanding the determinants of the span of Olympic success could help with creating guidance for countries’ sports systems regarding how to formulate new strategies to maintain or increase medal winning.

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Why is it important?

Our results suggest that a country can maintain its performance in a sport for an average of 2.1 Olympic Games. The GDP, host country, Communist past, the number of medals in a sport, and the duration of the preceding medal-winning period are associated with successive medal-winning. Population size and the number of previous discontinuous medal wins decrease the duration of Olympic success.


Countries that aim to maintain consecutive Olympic medal wins should invest in sporting staff and facilities to ensure that adequate conditions for their sporting talents exist, through which they can fulfill their potential. With expenditure on staff, talent with Olympic podium potential can be earlier identified and prepared properly. The effectiveness of talent management plays a more determining role in the duration of (successive) Olympic success.

Professor Imre Ferto
Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences: Budapest

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: How long does a medal win last? Survival analysis of the duration of Olympic success, Applied Economics, April 2022, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2022.2039370.
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