Last Gracenote Virtual Medal Table Forecast for Tokyo Summer Olympic Games Ahead of Postponement
UPDATE: In light of the March 24 decision to postpone the 2020 Summer Games, Gracenote will update the Tokyo 2020 Virtual Medal Table at a to-be-determined later date.
On February 24, 2020, five months ahead of the originally planned 2020 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremonies, Gracenote released its latest Summer Games Virtual Medal Table (VMT) forecast. Considering available results data from key competitions since the 2016 Summer Games, Gracenote had predicted gold, silver and bronze medal counts for participating countries and athletes at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad before they were postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Snapshot (as of February 24, 2020)
- The United States is expected to win the most medals overall at Tokyo 2020. This would mark the seventh successive Summer Games during which the American team would have come out on top of the medal count competition.
- After falling to 70 medals in 2016, China is expected to bounce back in Tokyo to cement second place on the Virtual Medal Table for the third successive Summer Olympics.
- While Japan is expected to improve on its Rio 2016 medal total by over 50%, this increase is not likely enough for the host nation to genuinely challenge China for second place.
- With Russia likely to be banned from Tokyo 2020, the focus will be on how many of their athletes are allowed to compete under the Authorised Neutral Athletes or Olympic Athletes from Russia banner.
- Great Britain’s medal total is expected to drop significantly from 2016. Their best hope is to break into the top-five rather than the top-three where they landed in the last two Olympics.
- Along with Japan, the Netherlands head a group of National Olympic Committees, NOCs, who can expect to improve significantly on their 2016 medal totals.
- The United States and Japan are expected to perform best in the 44 new or returning Olympic events on the Tokyo 2020 programme.
The Top Five Medal Winning Countries
(2020 projection: 117 medals, 2016: 121 medals)
The U.S. is expected to once again top the Summer Games Virtual Medal Table in Tokyo. The current Gracenote projection of 117 medals is four down on the total claimed by American competitors in 2016. It also represents a decrease on our initial forecast from July 2019. Team USA’s medals should come in 30 different sports which would break the Olympic record of 28 (Soviet Union 1980, United States 2016).
(2020: 87 medals, 2016: 70 medals)
China’s total of 70 medals in 2016 was the country’s lowest return since 2004 and the current Gracenote projection expects big improvement on this in 2020. China edged Great Britain into second place in Rio by a margin of three medals. This time, host nation Japan and Russia are likely to be serious challengers to China for second place. But the data suggests that China will probably be further ahead in 2020 than they were in 2016. The number of medals forecast for China has increased by six since our first prediction was released in July 2019. The Chinese team is forecast to win medals in 22 different sports, its second largest number of medal winning sports, beaten only by the 26 in 2008.
(2020: 67 medals, 2016: 56 medals)
With Russia likely to be banned from Tokyo 2020, it remains to be seen how many of the 67 medallists currently forecast by Gracenote will be allowed to compete under the Olympic Athletes from Russia banner at Tokyo 2020.
(2020: 64 medals, 2016: 41 medals)
Tokyo 2020 host nation Japan won a record-breaking 41 medals at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and Gracenote currently projects them to improve on that total by over 50%. The expected gains should come from a combination of more medals in all of Japan’s strongest sports and potential success in new and returning sports which hosts historically enjoy. Japan’s projected total has declined by six medals since our initial Virtual Medal Table release in July 2019.
(2020: 45 medals, 2016: 29 medals)
It is possible that Australia and Great Britain will be in a heated battle for a top-five spot given the likely decline in British medal totals. Australia has been eclipsed by Great Britain at each of the last two Summer Games and have not finished ahead of them since 2004. Australia’s drop in performance at the last two Summer Olympics was mainly due to subpar results in swimming. If Australia is to challenge for a top-five spot on the medal table, success in swimming competitions must return to the levels achieved from 2000 to 2008.
Countries Ranked 6 to 10 on the Medal Table
(2020: 44 medals, 2016: 19 medals)
The best-ever Dutch medal winning performance at a Summer Olympics was Sydney 2000 (25 medals). The current projection is for the Netherlands to comfortably beat this record at Tokyo 2020 with more medals forecast in cycling – track, cycling – road and sailing than ever before. Unlike 2000 when the record medal count was driven by multiple medals from a small number of Dutch stars, Gracenote’s projection for 2020 suggests medals will be won by a larger number of competitors. The forecast for the Netherlands has increased by ten since the first medal table projections were released in July 2019.
(2020: 44 medals, 2016: 67 medals)
In 2016, Great Britain became the first country to win more Olympic medals four years after hosting than they won at home. The Gracenote Virtual Medal Table projects a drop of 23 medals in Tokyo this year from their 2016 total of 67. The British team is therefore likely to drop out of the top-four medal winning countries. The reduction in medals for Britain is due to lower expectations in cycling – track, gymnastics – artistic and rowing amongst other competitions. In 2016, those three sports accounted for nearly one third of British medals (22). In 2020 however, they are currently expected to produce just eight podium places.
(2020: 36 medals, 2016: 42 medals)
Germany is projected to under-perform in comparison to their results in the last three Summer Games according to the Gracenote Virtual Medal Table. The German team finished in the top-three in the first two Summer Games after reunification in 1990. They have since been overtaken by China (since 2000), Australia (2000 to 2008) and Great Britain (2008 – 2016). With the exception of 2008, Germany has tended to hang on to a top-five place on the medal table but they will need well over 40 medals to achieve that this year. This is looking increasingly unlikely, particularly as the Gracenote projection of 36 medals is two lower than in July 2019.
(2020: 35 medals, 2016: 42 medals)
At this year’s Summer Games, the data suggests that France should produce a medal winning performance similar to 2016. If France again wins 40 or more medals, it would be the fifth time that the French team has broken the 40-medal barrier. Three of those achievements came between 2008 and 2016. The Virtual Medal Table forecast for France is six medals lower than it was in July 2019.
(2020: 33 medals, 2016: 28 medals)
Italy is projected to improve on its 2016 medal performance at Tokyo 2020 with potential medals coming mainly from fencing and swimming according to Gracenote. The addition of karate as a new Olympic sport also helps Italy as there are currently two Italians named as virtual medallists in that sport this summer
The Netherlands, Japan and China Look Set to Book Big Improvements
NOCs do not tend to improve their Olympic medal counts by significant amounts from one Summer Games to the next. A handful of NOCs, headed by the U.S.A. (17 more medals than in 2012), Uzbekistan (+11) and Azerbaijan (+9) improved by a decent amount at Rio 2016. This year in Tokyo, there are many more medals available though and a number of countries are expected to improve a great deal as a result.
The Netherlands won 19 medals at Rio 2016 but results feeding into the Gracenote Virtual Medal Table put Dutch competitors and teams on 44 medals at Tokyo 2020, an improvement of 25 on the last Summer Games. Similarly, host nation Japan are expected to cash in on home advantage and increase their Rio medal total by 23 this year. Japan’s neighbours China can expect an increase of 17 medals on their 2016 total according to the Virtual Medal Table.
Other NOCs who should improve markedly on 2016 results are Australia, Russia, Turkey and India . The NOC of Hong Kong, China is currently projected to go from zero medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics to five at Tokyo 2020.
USA and Japan to Benefit Most from Additional Olympic Events
Six sports at the Summer Games in 2020 are either new to the Olympics or returning after an absence. There are also new and returning events in another 14 sports. Overall, there will be 44 new or returning events at Tokyo 2020 and 143 medals available in them. According to Gracenote’s projections, the United States will top the medal table for new and returning events, followed by Japan, Australia and China. Forty-five different NOCs are expected to win medals in these events.
Basketball 3×3, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing are all new sports on the Olympic programme in 2020. Baseball/softball returns to the Summer Games after being absent at either the 2012 or 2016 Olympic Games.
There are also new events in the existing Olympic sports of archery, athletics, BMX, boxing, canoe slalom, canoe sprint, cycling – track, fencing, judo, rowing, shooting, swimming, table tennis and triathlon.
Gracenote’s Virtual Medal Table forecasts that the United States will come out best in these events by winning 20 medals (six gold, five silver and nine bronze). Japan are expected to win the most gold medals in these new and returning events with nine, in addition to five silver medals and one bronze.
Australia’s expected improvement on the overall medal table in relation to Rio 2016 is helped in part by these events as six gold medals are forecast for Australia in them.
NOCs from all over the world are currently projected by Gracenote to win medals in the new and returning events. Forty-two NOCs from Peru to Georgia and Egypt to Hong Kong, China can expect some success in events which were not present four years ago.
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The Gracenote Virtual Medal Table is a statistical model based on individual and team results in previous Olympics Games, World Championships and World Cups to forecast the most likely gold, silver and bronze medal winners by country. This information is presented in simple to understand predictions and seamless data feeds that enable broadcasters, media publishers and pay TV operators to deliver unique Olympic-focused stories across Web, mobile and broadcast properties.
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