According to the sums, China will top Olympic gold table
HONG KONG, July 24 – In sport there is, it seems, a science behind predicting success after all.
A finance student at the London Business School has boldly predicted that China will top the gold medal table at the London Olympic Games, which kick off on July 27, and she claims the formula used has a record of accuracy that dates back to the Sydney Games of 2000.
But PhD student Emily Williams has worked on a programme that focuses on economic, not sporting, variables to come up with her predictions for London.
The four factors Williams has worked with are population (“the larger the population the more chance of having an athlete with exceptional natural ability”), income per capita (“the more money a country has, the more it can devote to training athletes”), past performance (“so medal count in Beijing is a useful predictive factor”) and the “host effect” (“cheering crowds and national pride really do make a difference”).
Williams’s results showed that China would top the tables in London with 48 gold medals (compared to the 51 athletes from the country picked up at the Beijing Games in 2008), followed by the United States with 35 gold, one less than its team picked up in 2008.
“This formula has been the most accurate predictor of country Olympic success since it was unveiled before the Sydney Games in 2000,” Williams said.
“The model predicted the 2008 Beijing total medal count with an astounding 95 per cent accuracy. Remarkably, the predictions require no knowledge about sports or athletes, but rather are based on economics, using variables such as income per person, population and prior Olympic success.
“Perhaps the best use of the model is to set expectations for the upcoming Games for each country. The model gives us a useful benchmark for national Olympic success or disappointment.”
There was some good news for the host nation, too, with Williams’s formula predicting 62 medals for Great Britain, including 25 gold, which would be the team’s highest tally since the Second World War.
Gold medals: China 48, USA 35, Great Britain 25, Russia 21, Germany 15.
Total medals: USA 103, China 94, Russia 67, Great Britain 62, Australia 42. – AFP/Relaxnews