Math whiz Sean Wu predicts bronze for men's hockey team
The grade 12 student from Eric Hamber Secondary uses his stats skills to forecast Olympics results
A grade 12 student from Vancouver with a particular knack for sports statistics is predicting a future for Team Canada's men's hockey team you might not like.
"I think in the semi-finals they're going to take on Russia," Sean Wu said. "It's going to be pretty close until the end where Russia will come up with a one-goal game."
He's a genius when it comes to stats- Coach Jill Polukoshko
That would mean Canada's glory team brings home bronze, not the treasured gold.
Wu would happily be proven wrong. But he thinks the evidence is on his side.
"I think Canada, Sweden, and Russia have a good chance of making it. But I think, based on who has best chance of it, I think Russia will come out on top."
Wu points to Canada's poor track record of winning medals overseas. And he thinks Russia's team will benefit from the home ice advantage.
Wu got started in sports statistics when he was in Grade 8. He and a group of friends started picking teams for fantasy sports pools. He started with hockey, and it went from there.
"In my opinion fantasy baseball is the best fantasy game to play, because it's really long and really hard. You've got the most predictable stats," he said.
Two years ago, he approached the coach of the girls' basketball team at his school, Eric Hamber Secondary in Vancouver, to volunteer his statistics services.
Coach Jill Polukoshko said she was surprised.
"He's very good. He's mind blowing-ly good."
Coach Polukoshko and Sean debrief after each game. Then the coach uses the trends he's noticed to refine the team's strategy.
"He says did you realize that your free throw percentage was this? Or did you realize when you keep teams below this certain amount you guys always win? And I was like, no I did not know that. He's a genius when it comes to stats."
But Sean Wu remains modest about his math skills.
"I would say I'm good at counting. I'm good at mental math. But when it comes to the really advanced concepts in Math 11 and Math 12, I'm done," he said.
When he grows up, he dreams to have a career in sports writing, maybe offering on the spot statistical analysis to announcers giving colour commentary of the game.
"I think I would do better putting it down on paper and telling the announcer. I'm better on paper then in voice."