Graphing Athletics for Rio 2016

By Darren Wilkinson from Chester-le-Street, England

Every new Olympic games brings with it a global, feverish excitement. The epic feats performed within its myriad of stadia and arenas will launch a fortunate few into the realms of superstardom and their performances will go down in legend. Not only do the games provide endless amounts of entertainment but huge amounts of statistics for the data enthusiast.

Here at the Centre for Sports Engineering Research we’re not short of data enthusiasts. We’ve also collated a large bank of athletic performances from the last 120 years (we’ve written some articles based on this data set in the past).

Our data set doesn’t only include performances from the Olympic games, it contains performances for every year since 1896 (the start of the modern Olympic movement). There are a few things that are important about this data, each year contains the top 25 performers of the year therefore a single athlete can only appear once in that year. We know who the top 25 athletes in a particular discipline but not necessarily the top 25 performances (a single athlete may account for 10 of these for example).

We will be adding articles about the 100 metre sprint, the Marathon, Pole Vault, Shot Put and Javelin.

In collaboration with fusionex we’ve created a number of datasheets which show the historical performances for a number of events. Over the course of the Olympics we’ll be publishing articles about the 100 metre sprint, the Marathon, Javelin, Shot put and Pole vault. In each case we’ll examine the data and the story they tell.

All the datasheets will be made available on our specific website

Please come back to see our data and explore the stories contained within!

Simon Choppin

Fusionex is a multi-award winning IT software group that helps businesses to improve – by becoming a more data driven organisation – through the use of its powerful and easy to use analytics platform.

About wiredchop

Simon Choppin Simon’s sports engineering career began at the age of six when he loosened the wheels of his skateboard in order to make it go faster. While the experiment was chalked up as his first failure, his resulting dimpled skull has provided an aerodynamic advantage in more recent sporting pursuits. Academically, Simon completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering with Mathematics at Nottingham University before joining the Sports Engineering Research Group at Sheffield to start his PhD. His main interests include work with high speed video, mathematical modelling of various sorts and experimental work involving machines with big buttons. As a sportsman, Simon has an unfortunate lack of talent for anything requiring skill, tactical awareness or the ability to learn from mistakes. He does however seem to posess the ability to move his legs around for a long time until other people get tired, for this reason you’re most likely to see him on a bike of some sort or running up a hill in offensively small shorts. Simon was fortunate enough to have a stint at the Guardian newspaper as part of the BSA’s media fellowship, which gave him the idea for this blog. Other than this, his writing experience includes his PhD thesis and various postcards to his Mum.