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Professor predicts Team GB Olympic medal haul


A University of Wolverhampton professor has devised a mathematical formula to predict Team GB’s final medal haul at London 2012.

Taking into account home advantage and performance at previous Olympic Games, Professor Alan Nevill predicts the final tally of medals will be 63.

To make the predication, Professor Nevill looked at all hosting cities or countries since World War II and analysed the number of medals awarded to competitors. He identified a significant increase in the probability of a country obtaining a medal in the Olympic Games before, during and after hosting the Olympics.

The biostatistician also predicts Team GB’s medal total will be 46 in Rio 2016.

Professor Nevill, from the University’s School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, says funding is a significant factor in explaining his findings, as well as the legacy of hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2002.

He says: “Home advantage in the summer Olympic Games is well known. What is not so well known is that countries that host the Olympic Games perform better in the games before and after the games in which they were hosts.

“Funding appears to be an important factor when explaining these findings. Almost all countries that have been awarded the games after World War II would appear to have invested heavily in sport before being awarded the games.

“A second factor in Great Britain’s success is the legacy of hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2002 (a post-hosting games effect) that undoubtedly provided an infrastructure that benefited, in particular, cycling.

“Whether the International Olympics Committee either consciously or subconsciously takes these factors into account is unclear when awarding the games to a city. What is clear is that based on these findings, Great Britain is likely to maintain the Olympic success achieved in Beijing and London 2012 into future games.”

Professor Nevill first made the prediction in a research paper three years following Team GB’s success at the Beijing games in 2008.

The research, titled ‘Why Great Britain’s success in Beijing could have been anticipated and why it should continue beyond 2012’, was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in May 2009.

Professor Alan Nevill is a specialist in biostatistics applied to health, sport and exercise sciences.

He is also the Editor in Chief of The Journal of Sports Sciences.


Note: A copy of the research paper is available on request.

Date issued: Wednesday, 08 August 2012

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