Olympic Z Scores

What follows is a unique way of “scoring” results from the Winter Olympics.

This score is based on the “dominance” of each medal winner’s performance. It uses the performer’s Z Score based on his or her time or actual score in comparison with all other performers in the same event.

An average Z score for all athletes in any event would be approximately 0.00. The farther a score is from 0.00, the more exceptional it is. If a performance is timed, that exceptionality will be indicated by a negative figure; the more negative the Z Score, the more exceptional the performance. For events that are scored, the Z Score will be positive.

Accompanying each result is a scale indicating how it should be viewed based on historical norms. This will vary depending on the sport.

Here are results from Monday’s gold medal events in bobsled and speed skating. Scores for medal winners are included.

 

Bobsled

Historical norm: In bobsled, a Z Score lower than -1.72 is historically exceptional. A Z score between -1.20 and -1.71 is within the usual range for a gold medal. The best Z Score ever recorded in bobsled is -2.16, by the East Germany’s team in the 1976 men’s four-man event. The best American performance is -1.94 by the two-man team in 1936.

 

Two-man

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)                         Z Score

  1. Canada 86                                   -1.49
  2. Germany 86                                   -1.49
  3. Latvia 91                                   -1.43

 

Speed skating

Historical norm: In freestyle skiing, a Z Score lower than -2.40 is historically exceptional. A Z score between -1.50 and -2.40 is within the usual range for a gold medal. The best Z Score ever recorded in speed skating is -2.92, by Norway’s Johan Olav Koss in the 1994 5000 meters.

 

Men’s 500 meter speed skating

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)         Z Score

  1. Havard Lorentzen, Norway 41                     -2.17
  2. Min Kyu Cha, Korea 42                     -2.14
  3. Tingyu Gao, China 65                     -1.34

 

Scores from previous 2018 events

Women’s 500 meter speed skating

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)         Z Score

  1. Nao Kodaira, Japan 94                     -1.93
  2. Lee Sang-Hwa, Korea 33                     -1.42
  3. Karolina Erbanova, Czech 34                     -1.41

 

Men’s 10000 meter speed skating

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)         Z Score

  1. Esmee Viser, Netherlands 23                   -1.42
  2. Martina Sablikova, Czech 85                   -1.24
  3. Natalia Voronna, Russia 98                   -1.00                                     

 

Men’s 10000 meter speed skating

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)         Z Score

  1. Ted Bloemen, Canada 77                   -1.13
  2. Jorrit Bergsma, Netherlands 98                   -1.01
  3. Nicola Tumolero, Italy 32                   -0.37

 

Women’s 1000 meter speed skating

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)         Z Score

  1. Jorien Ter Mors, Netherlands 56                     -1.91
  2. Nau Kodaira, Japan 82                     -1.70
  3. Miho Takagi, Japan 98                     -1.57

 

Men’s 1500 meter speed skating

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)         Z Score

  1. Kjeld Nuis, Netherlands 01                   -2.41*
  2. Patrick Roest, Netherlands 86                   -1.56
  3. Min Seok Kim, Korea 93                   -1.50

*Kjeld Nuis’ score of -2.41 equals the 10th best Z score in Olympic speed skating history, and is the third best in the history of the men’s 1500 meter race.

Women’s 1500 meter speed skating

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)         Z Score

1              Ireen Wust, Netherlands              114.35                   -1.91

  1. Miho Takagi, Japan 114.55                   -1.80
  2. Marrit Leenstra, Netherlands 115.26                   -1.43

Men’s 5000 meter speed skating

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)         Z Score

1              Sven Kramer, Netherlands           369.76                   -2.19

  1. Ted-Jan Bloemen, Canada 371.60                   -1.46
  2. Sverre Lunde Pedersen, Norway 371.60 -1.46

Note: Kramer’s score of -2.19 is seventh-best in the history of the Olympic men’s 5000 meter race.

Women’s 3000 meter speed skating

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)         Z Score

  1. Schtereekte, Netherlands 21                   -1.55
  2. Wust, Netherlands 29                   -1.54
  3. DeJong, Netherlands 02                   -1.41

 

 

Alpine skiing

Historical norm: In alpine skiing, a Z Score lower than -2.20 is historically exceptional. A Z score between -1.60 and -2.19 is within the usual range for a gold medal. The best Z Score ever recorded in alpine skiing is -3.05, by Switzerland’s Madeleine Berthold in the 1956 women’s downhill. Curiously, women have historically dominated the best alpine skiing performances. The best by a male alpine skier was -2.56 by Hans Peter Burass of Norway in the 1998 slalom.

Scores from previous 2018 events

 

 

Men’s giant slalom

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)                         Z Score

  1. Marcel Hirscher, Austria                 04                                   -2.75*
  2. Henrik Kristoffersen, Norway 31                                   -1.48
  3. Alexis Pinturault, France 35                                   -1.44                     

*Hirscher’s -2.75 Z Score is the fifth best in the history of Olympic alpine skiing. It is also the best Z Score ever produced by a male Olympic skier, surpassing the previous best of -2.57 by France’s Antoine Denarias in the 2006 downhill. The previous best Z Score in the men’s giant slalom was -2.40 by Austria’s Toni Sailor in 1956.

Women’s super giant slalom

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)                         Z Score

  1. Ester Ledecka, Czech 11                                     -1.41
  2. Anna Veith, Austria 12                                     -1.40
  3. Tina Wierthauer, Liechtenstein 22                                     -1.28

 

Men’s super giant slalom

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)                         Z Score

  1. Matteas Maier, Austria 44                                   -1.81
  2. Beat Feuz, Switzerland 57                                   -1.63
  3. Kjetil Jansrud, Norway 62                                   -1.56

 

Women’s slalom

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)                         Z Score

  1. Frida Hansdottir, Sweden 63                                     -1.88
  2. Wendy Holdener, Switzerland 68                                     -1.84
  3. Katharina Hallhuber, Austria 95                                     -1.66

 

Women’s giant slalom

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)                         Z Score

  1. Mikaela Shiffrin, USA 02                                   -1.50
  2. Ragnhild Mowinckel, Norway 41                                   -1.31
  3. Frederica Brignone, Italy 48                                   -1.28

 

Men’s downhill

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)                         Z Score

  1. Aksel Svindal, Norway 25                                   -1.88
  2. Kjetil Jansrud, Norway 37                                   -1.75
  3. Beat Fuez, Switzerland 43                                   -1.69                                                     

 

Men’s alpine combined

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Time (Sec.)                         Z Score

  1. Marcel Hirscher, France 52                                   -2.01
  2. Alexis Pinturault, France 75                                   -1.87
  3. Victor Muffat-Jeandet, France 54                                   -1.36

 

Figure skating

Historical norm: In figure skating, a Z Score lower than -1.80 is historically exceptional. A Z score between -1.20 and -1.79 is within the usual range for a gold medal. The best Z Score ever recorded in figure skating is -2.69 by Peggy Fleming of the USA in the 1968 ladies.

 

Scores from previous 2018 events

Men’s singles

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                                 Score                     Z Score

  1. Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan 85                   2.11*
  2. Shomo Uno, Japan 90                   1.69
  3. Javier Fernandez, Spain 24                   1.62

*Hanyu’s 2.11 Z Score is the ninth best by a figure skater in Olympic history. It is the second best by a male, trailing Yevgeny Plyuschenko in 2006.

Pairs

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                                 Score                     Z Score

  • Savchenko/Massot, Germany 9                     1.56
  • Sui/Han, China 47                   1.53
  • Duhamel/Radford, Canada 15                   1.22

 

Freestyle skiing/snowboarding

Historical norm: In freestyle skiing and snowboarding, a Z Score lower than -1.80 is historically exceptional. A Z score between -1.20 and -1.79 is within the usual range for a gold medal. The best Z Score ever recorded in freestyle skiing or snowboarding is -2.66, by Russia’s Vic Wild in the 2014 parallel slalom.

 

Men’s slopestyle

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                                 Score     Z Score

  1. Oystein Braaten, Norway                 00     1.01
  2. Nick Goepper, USA                 60     0.89
  3. Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, Canada 4        0.79

 

Men’s aerials

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Score                     Z Score

  1. Oleksandr Abramenko, Ukraine 51 1.03
  2. Jia Zongyang, China 05                   1.00
  3. Ilia Burov, Russia 17                   0.63

 

Scores from previous 2018 events

Women’s slopestyle

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Score                     Z Score

  1. Sarah Hoeflin, Switzerland 20                     1.45
  2. Mathilde Gremaud, Switzerland 00 1.22
  3. Isabel Atkin, Great Britain 60                     0.97

 

Women’s aerials

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Score                     Z Score

  1. Hanna Huskova, Belarus 14                     1.22
  2. Xin Zhang, China 52                     1.19
  3. Fanyu Kong, China 14                     -0.03

 

Men’s halfpipe

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Score                     Z Score

  1. Sean White, USA 97.75                     1.69
  2. Ayumu Hirano, Japan 95.25                     1.51
  3. Scott James, Australia                 92.00                     1.27

This is Shaun White’s third gold medal, and the lowest of his three Z Scores. White’s 2006 victory translated to a 2.38 Z Score, the third best performance in the history of freestyle skiing/snowboarding. His 2010 gold medal came on a 2.04 Z Score, the 12th best performance of all time.

Women’s halfpipe

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Score                     Z Score

  1. Chloe Kim, USA 25                     1.62
  2. Jiyau Liu, China 75                     1.08
  3. Arielle Gold, USA 75                     0.83

 

Women’s moguls

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Score                     Z Score

1              Perrine Laffont, France                  78.65                     0.96

  1. Justine LaPointe, Canada 78.56                     0.91
  2. Yulia Galysheva, Kazakhstan 77.40                     0.23

 

Men’s moguls

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Score                     Z Score

1              Mikael Kingsbury, Canada            86.63                     0.70

  1. Matt Graham, Australia 82.57                     0.49
  2. Daichi Hara, Japan 82.19                     0.47

 

Men’s  slopestyle

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Score                     Z Score

1              Redmond Gerard, USA                  87.16                     1.44

  1. Max Parrot, Canada 85.20                     1.09
  2. Mark McManis, Canada 85.20                     1.09

 

Women’s slopestyle/board

Pos.       Athlete, nation                                 Score                     Z Score

1              Jamie Anderson, USA                     83.00                     1.83*

  1. Laurie Blouin, Canada 76.33                     1.42
  2. Enni Rukajarvi, Finland 75.38                     1.36

 

*Jamie Anderson’s gold medal winning performance in the women’s slopestyle is the 22nd most dominant in the history of Olympic freestyle skiing/snowboarding competition.

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