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Olympic Medal Predictions

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The United States, China, and Russia finished 1-2-3 in the medal standings at the 2012 Olympics in London. Every two years we work closely with the Wall Street Journal projecting Olympic medal totals for the Olympics. Our projection system predicted that order of finish. Three weeks ago we were projecting the same order for 2016 in Rio.

Not anymore.

With nearly a third of the athletes from Russia being banned from participating in the Olympics this year for using illegal drugs, the third spot is now wide open. Three weeks ago we were predicting Russia to finish third with 59 medals. Now Great Britain, Germany and Australia have all jumped ahead of them in our projections:

Projected Final Medal Count
2016 Olympics – Rio de Janeiro
Country Gold Medals Total Medals
United States 42 101
China 35 82
Great Britain 16 51
Germany 15 50
Australia 17 48
Russia 15 47
France 12 43
Japan 11 35
South Korea 10 24
Italy 7 23

We ran 1,000 simulations and the United States and China finished first and second in nearly every one. But it’s a toss-up for third place in the medal standings as Great Britain, Germany, Australia, and France all have a legitimate chance of upstaging Russia.

We work very closely with the Wall Street Journal to develop these projections. Here is some very interesting analysis by Matt Futterman from the Journal entitled “U.S. Women, the Odds-On Favorites in Rio”.

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