Is Biathlon More Volatile Than Cross Country?


That whole shooting bit.  Tricky, isn’t it?

So maybe a bit more discussion would be good.  This graph shows the distributions of the median absolute deviations (MADs) by athlete and season, for those athletes who competed in at least five major competitions in that season.

Biathletes, due to wild swings in shooting performance, are much more likely to have results that bounce around from good to bad.


Related posts:

  1. Athlete Profile: Tim Burke
  2. Biathlon Shooting Accuracy
  3. Career Retrospective: Kati Wilhelm
  4. Career Retrospective: Martina Beck
  5. Career Retrospective: Sandrine Bailly

About Joran


5 Responses to “Is Biathlon More Volatile Than Cross Country?”
  1. Big Fan says:

    Love your site and insight. Always thought my 2 measly courses in biostatistics helped me understand what was behind your brilliant thinking. But I am at a loss to understand the latest ‘volitile biathlon graph’. Please elucidate.Thank You.

    • Joran says:

      Wow, where to begin?

      My thinking couldn’t have been very brilliant if I didn’t get my point across, now could it? ;)

      Those graphs contain the distributions of the median absolute deviation (MAD) of percent back, by athlete, by season, for XC and biathlon. What this means is that I grabbed the percent back for each race for each athlete since 2002-2003. Then I calculated the MAD for each athlete for each season. You can read about median absolute deviation here. Basically, it just measures how variable each athlete’s percent back’s are. Then I plotted density estimates comparing the XC and biathlon athletes.

      The distribution for the biathlon skiers is significantly to the right (higher MAD, more variable), which means that the average biathlete’s results are much more variable than the average XC athletes. You are more likely to see wild swings in performance (as measured by percent back) in biathlon. Obviously, as i noted, the shooting is what’s responsible.

      Hope that helps. Sorry for being so terse in my post!

  2. Bolle says:

    An interesting topic to examine could also be if the MAD has increased over the years. My hypothesis would be that it has increased more in skiing than in biathlon, due to the introduction of more specialized competitions (sprint).


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