Six Nations rugby: increased predictability (despite England upsets)

Rugby match

With the Six Nations rugby championship kicking off this weekend, we have two years of results to add to our understanding of the competition, following my 2017 article, “6 Nations Rugby - who’s the biggest overachiever?”. The six nations involved are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. We will look for recent changes in the ratings-based predictability of the teams in general and for recent changes in the distribution of upsets in particular, when ratings-based predictions proved to be wrong.

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Still running against the odds: revisiting the London Marathon ballot

London Marathon magazines

Monday 15 October had a lot of people eagerly awaiting the postman to deliver the result of the London Marathon ballot – the lottery by which approximately half of race places are made available to the public. Unfortunately, the majority of applicants will have been left disappointed by the outcome: a record number of people applied for the limited number of places available. I wrote about the ballot process three years ago, and since then the London Marathon has only increased in popularity.

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Anti-doping efforts, Russia's medals and Olympic athletics winners post-1988

Doping in athletics

Four years ago, Russia hosted the Sochi Winter Olympics. Today, as the 2018 Games get underway in PyeongChang, South Korea, Russia will be absent. The country’s Olympic Committee was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in December, following accusations of the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) among Russian athletes and further claims that Russia has engaged in the state-sponsored cover-up of doping offences.

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E-sports, mind sports and the Olympics: What is a sport, anyway?

Most of us could describe a sport if asked. It might involve physical exertion of some kind – running, jumping, swimming – an element of competition, and a certain amount of blood, sweat and tears. But is the game of bridge a sport? Or chess? Both of these "mind sports" were included in the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) list of recognized sports – a list of sports that could (but not necessary would) be featured in future Olympic Games. But what about video games? 

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