Monday, January 12, 2015

Petter Thoresen tells about future of sport statistics in Orienteering

Petter Thoresen has a long career in elite Orienteering: like a top athlete with 6x WOC golds and then like successful main coach in French and Norwegian team (8 years in total). His name is associated with many Halden SK victories as well.

Petter! All media successful sports has developed statistics arrangement.

In football you can see a detailed statistical info about every match: shootings, goals, passing, ball possession, distance covered by particular player, etc. Also it is easy to find info about meetings between different clubs for overall history.

In biathlon during race you can make monitoring particular athlete loops times, range times, shooting time. Immediately after the race you can see a new World Cup standing. Every athlete has detailed profile with shooting info, places in particular events (sprint, relays, individual, etc.).

In tennis you can easily follow match both by TV-picture and statistics about serving speeds, aces, unforced errors, net points, break points, 1st serve %, etc. Profiles are very detailed and include sums of total prizes amounts, ranking, detailed history of tournaments, etc. You can find very interesting information, let say, that Nikolay Davydenko is the only player who owns a winning head-to-head record against great Rafael Nadal.

Such kind of statistic information is VERY important for funs, TV-speakers, media, and it is important for coaches as well because it is the basement of performance analysis.

It is interesting to know your opinion about these questions:

1. In your opinion, what is the current situation with such statistical arrangement in Orienteering?

"Yes, I think it could be interesting to have more statistics in Orienteering and I think its a good idea to develop a set of statistics witch has some common interest. For example there has been many seasons during the last, lets say 10 years, where it has been impossible to conclude who was the Queen and King after a WOC or a season - and thats a shame!"

2. What kind of indicators, statistical aggregates, profile characteristics can we use in Orienteering (to make better information content in our sport)?

"There are two approaches to this and both should be covered:
a) How can you rank who is the best runner right now: this season, for this race/ distance, in this type of terrain, mistakes/km,  short, medium and long legs etc. - some kind of present statistics giving a clue about strong sides and weak sides of each runner and the differences in skills/ form/ results. Goal: give more value to the present interest of the coming race or the on going battle
b) How to rank runners by historical statistics:  WOC results by attempts (+each distance), WC results by attempts (+each distance), Regional champs, O-Ringen, Jukola/Tio statistics (+ each category of leg + as a front runner + as a chasing runner etc.).
Goal: not to make a historical ranking list, but to collect historical data put in a timeframe that can be understood.
For example: What did Magne Lystad or Aage Hadler achieve? - in my opinion some of the most inventive and skillful orienteers in the history -  exceptionally winners. I think historical data is of interest and a very good side effect of this would be to make more heroes in Orienteering - there are way to few of them and the statistics are very poor and unfair".

3. I am pretty skeptical about IOF efforts in this direction. I am interested to start crowd-funding initiative for creating of new statistical/performance analysis tools in Orienteering (I am thinking about Jan Kocbach like a main specialist) . What do you think about perspectives of such initiative?

"I think such statistic has to be developed through personal initiatives, even if this is within the work IOF should have been doing, but it is important and essential that this kind of statistics is easy to find and taken proper care of. So therefore: IOF should be, at some point, a partner/ owner of these statistics".

P.S. Photo is from


Your opinion is important to set up priorities! Please, mark one or more points from list:
- Relay performance/skills
- Complete/detailed results overview, including historical statistics/ranking
- Statistics of different legs types 
- Pacing/speed analysis
- Safety/mistakes analysis 

Explanations and comments of these points you can read in the post Leonid Novikov tells about future of sport statistics in Orienteering.

Click button "ГОЛОСОВАТЬ" to VOTE.


  1. First stage of World Cup 2015 is completed, but still there is no updated sprint and forest ranking at the IOF cite ((


    1. Where is ranking points????????

    2. It is just zero points for everyone.

    3. Points are under Oceania events (see under Calendar) because local elite runners (ROC) have same course as WC runners.

      Because they cant show other ROC runners under WC event they decided to turn around even the fact that the WC is worth 1450 points and ROC is worth 1400 points. Apparently the database and application is very poor and not able to show the points from database twice and count just once for Rankings.

      It is also a fiasco that no one still can't see the calculation and basic statistics as it was possible in the old system. You just can't do a double check or make a complain about point calculations. Very unprofessional.

      Regards, Samo

    4. Samo! Thanks for explanation. But take a look, please, at World Cup event in 2014
      It was possible to combine WC points and ranking points before. Why is it so tricky today then??? And I think it is totally wrong to combine ROC event and WC-event in one list (even if it is a same course).

    5. I agree that there should be two separate correct official results list + WR points. I think it is possible to achieve this if they will decide to change some rules but for now it looks more like apples and pears.

      Eventor, WR formula, result list templates and Rules are not sync and you have also app technical constraints so you get a total mess.

      I will send you on email some of the findings because I have had similar questions. Depending on the circumstances they probably make the best possible result lists but this is just not good enough for Elite orienteering.

      It is not possible to use any of the result list to promote ROC champions.