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Asian Participation and Performance at the Olympic Games

by Marcus Noland and Kevin Stahler

East-West Center Working Papers: Innovation and Economic Growth Series, No. 4

Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: May 2015
Binding: paper
Pages: 42
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This paper examines Asian exceptionalism at the Olympics. Northeast Asian countries conform to the statistical norm while the rest of Asia lags, but this result obscures underlying distinctions. Asian women do better than men. Non-Northeast Asia's relative underperformance is due to the men. Asian performance is uneven across events, finding more success in weight-stratified contests, perhaps due to the fact that competition is more "fair" physiologically. The models imply that China, Japan, and South Korea will place among the top ten medaling countries at the 2016 Games, while China will continue to close the medal gap with the United States.