Statisticians in Salford have forecast the number of Olympic medals Team GB could win at London 2012.
A team led by David Forrest, Professor of Economics at Salford Business School, predict that Team GB will win 56 medals in London and finish fourth in the medal table, repeating the position achieved in Beijing with nine extra medals.
The statistics were forecasted using variables including previous medal performances, population, the effect of ‘home advantage’, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and government investment in sport.
Speaking of the findings, Prof Forrest, said: “We found that this expenditure on sport proved a very powerful predictor of medals won.
“UK Sport spent an additional £165m on elite Olympic sport between Athens in 2004, when Team GB won 31 medals, and Beijing in 2008, when the team gained 47 medals.”
The table forecasts that the United States will head the table with 112 medals, with China securing second place with 104 medals, and Russia achieving third place with 62 medals, just ahead of Team GB.
The research also points to an inequality at the Olympics, finding that wealthier countries have a greater chance of succeeding because of more financial investment in sports infrastructure.
Prof Forrest said: “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is rightly committed to improving equality of opportunity in Olympic sport.
“However, our research has shown that, for the most part, Olympic medals can be ‘bought’ by wealthier countries prepared to invest significantly in sports infrastructure, governing bodies and athletes.
“At least for developed western nations, you could say that each medal ‘costs’ a country £10m, so the IOC needs to focus its developing country aid programmes”.
The effect that a ‘home’ Olympiad can also have was a powerful variable, boding well for Team GB as well as Brazil who will host the next summer event in Rio De Janeiro in 2016.
Prof Forrest said: “Countries who are due to host the next Olympics tend to win more medals at the Games immediately before their own.
“In line with this, we’re predicting that at London 2012 the Brazilian team will win nearly double the number of medals they achieved in 2008.”