Vol. 1 2010, pages 27–49
Published March 31, 2010
The competitiveness of Danish Elite Sports: Results, Measurement and Policy
In the Nordic countries, national investments in elite sports have become a political issue in the wake of the Olympic Games in China. It is discussed whether the results in Beijing were satisfactory and how the results can be maintained or improved in the future. In this article the assumptions of this political debate are criticized and reformulated. A proper discussion requires an understanding of input (elite sports investment) and throughput (the efficiency of the elite sports system) as well as output (national results). This article focuses on the output and aims to develop better forms of measurement of elite sports results than the simple absolute measures in the form of number of medals that are usually referred to in political debates and the media. The measures are applied in an analysis of the development of Danish elite sports results. The figures show that Denmark progressed significantly in the 1990’s similar to most other Western European countries. In the last decade, however, the results have deteriorated.
About the Authors
RASMUS K. STORM is Senior Analyst at Danish Institute for Sports Studies, Copenhagen.
KLAUS NIELSEN IS Professor of Institutional Economics at Birkbeck College, University of London.