Sports

Lance Armstrong, Oprah, seven in a row and the weather: when should we get suspicious?

Lance Armstrong has confessed to Oprah Winfrey that all seven of his Tour de France wins were on drugs. Should we have known before? Seven Tour de France wins in a row – how exceptional is that – how likely that it could be done by a superlative sportsman unassisted by performance-enhancing drugs? In statistical terms - how much of an outlier was that seven-in-a-row streak? Should it have raised more than vague suspicions?

It's a man's world: gender imbalance in sports reporting

Sport is a man's world. At least that's the impression I get when I watch any. Reporters are (mostly) men, reporting on (mostly) men, except where beach volleyball and tennis are concerned, and then it's still seemingly just for men to look at. Not surprising then, the Olympics were a breath of fresh air this summer. Everyone cheered when Jess Ennis finally won that gold medal, when Lizzie Armitstead was the first Brit to step onto the victory stage, and when the aquatics centre exploded after Ellie Simmonds made it to the finish line first.

Why do home teams win?

Everyone knows about the home team advantage in sports. For example, in my research in Curve Ball, I noted that 52% of the professional baseball games were won by the home team, and the game-winning percentages by the home team in professional football and basketball were respectively 58 and 66 percent. Athletes also generally perform better at home games compared to games played away from home. But the interesting question is: Why does a home field advantage exist?

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