Assessing Judging Bias: An Example From the 2000 Olympic Games

John W. Emerson, Miki Seltzer, David Lin
2009 American Statistician  
Judging bias is an inherent risk in subjectively judged sporting competitions, and recent controversies have spurred researchers to explore these biases wherever possible. Unfortunately, detailed judging results are usually unavailable to the public. For example, the international figure skating scoring system does not allow the study of nationalistic bias, because the scores are reported anonymously. Similarly, the National Basketball Association (NBA) blocked requests for underlying data
more » ... nderlying data after a recent academic study of racial bias of NBA referees. This article makes use of a rare case of fully available judging data, examining the diving competitions from the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. We discover strong evidence of nationalistic favoritism in the judging, including one case where the medal standings reasonably could have changed with unbiased judging. We offer a simple framework on which to base future studies of judging bias.
doi:10.1198/tast.2009.0026 fatcat:6oxh2pmnprd2ffwtapfkns7u5e