Two Australian statisticians, Geoff Robinson and John van der Touw, have designed a sports ranking system based on one that ranks bulls according to how much milk their daughters produce. They claim the new system will be used in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and will help overcome limitations of traditional rating systems.
In fact, badminton players are already being ranked a la bulls (New Scientist, Vol 140, No 1904). Traditional ranking systems fail to take into account the timing of results. In badminton, for example, if player A beats player B the week before B wins a major tournament and shoots up the rankings, then player A might expect that his ranking too would improve. But this seldom happens.
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