Here’s another great example of R being used to analyze sports data. Statistician and skier Joran Elias has started a project to analyze and visualize international cross country ski racing results, and he publishes his analysis at the blog Statistical Skier. All of the analyses are done using R (and for data, SQLite via the RSQLite package). As much as I love to ski, I’m not so familiar with the intricacies of ski racing as a sport, but it looks like there’s a rich source of data ripe for analysis, and Joran is pulling out some interesting results. For example, here’s the recent history of one recently-retired five-time Olympian Sabina Valbusa:
I can only assume a low "FIS Points" is better: Joran notes "best season overall might have been 2002-2003". A great use of ggplot2 and smoothing to visualize these data. Check out the blog for some other analyses — especially if you’re a ski junkie.