How to decide who is best?
In athletics the place of the Championship has traditionally held primacy: a single contest with the winner taking bragging rights over the domain, whether state, national or global.
Assessments over longer periods of time (e.g. based on an entire season) have tended to be subjective e.g. Track & Field News's World Rankings, based on expert opinions. Some people love them. Others, less so. They certainly generate debate.
In between the two - the determinative and the subjective - lays the IAAF World Rankings, based on a complex statistical model. And with these rankings playing a role in the Olympic qualification process, we thought it timely to compare how Australian athletes rate in these at the end of the domestic season, compared to what the results were at the Australian Championships.
We've broken this article down by event group:
A couple of caveats to what is presented:
The early timing of the Commonwealth Games in 2018 (April) means that not all top athletes competed in the European summer in 2018. The Commonwealth Games results fall outside of the 12 month period for the IAAF Rankings, so there are a number of top athletes who haven't recorded the minimum five performances over the past year that are required to have an IAAF Ranking.
Until post-June 2019, the IAAF Rankings are really theoretical with few real world applications. So athletes haven't sought to maximise their ranking by playing close attention to which competitions they compete in. This will likely change after June once Olympic qualification comes into play.
Within the formulae for the IAAF Rankings there is a reduction in the points awarded for results that were recorded more than 9 months ago. So that comes into play at this stage of the year at the end of the domestic season, where international results from April, May and June 2018 don't carry the same weight as they originally did.
With that said, we hope you enjoy the statistics: