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Barometer

Could we win back Gordon Brown’s gold at the Olympics?

Don’t hold your breath. Also in our Barometer column: Eastern European wages, dog attacks and veteran sports stars

27 August 2016

9:00 AM

27 August 2016

9:00 AM

Golden years

How many Olympic events would Team GB have to win before we could earn back the gold reserves sold by Gordon Brown?
— Olympic gold medals are in fact gold-plated silver and contain only 6g of gold. Between 1999 and 2002 Gordon Brown sold off 395 tons of gold — enough to mint 64.7m medals. Assuming the number of golds on offer at the summer Olympics remains 812, as at Rio, that would mean winning every event at 79,679 Olympiads, taking us to the games of ad 320736.
— It would be a different story if, as last happened in 1912, the medals were solid gold. With 500g of gold in each medal, we could achieve the feat by ad 5848.

Eastern promises

The Latvian government launched an advertising campaign featuring the Jackson Five hit ‘I Want You Back’ to persuade migrant workers to return home. How much financial incentive is there for Eastern Europeans to seek work abroad?
 
Median monthly earnings in 2015
 
Top five in european union

Luxembourg €3,150
Sweden €2,550
Denmark €2,310
Finland €2,300
UK €2,250

Bottom five in european union

Bulgaria €356
Romania €417
Lithuania €544
Latvia €601
Hungary €643

Bad dogs

A man and a child were killed in separate dog attacks. How big a problem are dogs?
— In the year to January 2014, 6,740 people went to hospital as a result of dog bites and strikes. Between them, all other animals accounted for 2,970 admissions.
— England’s worst place for dog attacks was Merseyside, where they caused 23.6 admissions to hospital per 100,000 people.
— The safest was Kent and Medway, with 5.3 admissions per 100,000.
Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre

Old sports

British showjumper Nick Skelton won gold in Rio aged 58. Other mature sports stars:
— Martina Navratilova won the US Open mixed doubles in 2006, aged 49.
— Stanley Matthews played his last league game for Stoke City aged 50 in 1965.
— Cricketer Wilfred Rhodes played his last Test for England aged 58 in 1930.
— Gary Player teed up in the 2009 US Masters, aged 73.


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