Gracenote Updates Tokyo 2020 Virtual Medal Table Forecast with Summer Games 100 Days Away
UPDATE: Due to the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Olympic Games is likely to be the most unpredictable Olympics ever. As usual, Nielsen Gracenote’s Virtual Medal Table has used the information available since the 2016 Summer Games to identify the athletes who are likely to be successful but the projection contains more uncertainty than usual because of the pandemic.
On April 14, 2021, 100 days ahead of the rescheduled 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 has predicted gold, silver and bronze medal counts for participating countries and athletes at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad.
- 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.
- At this stage it is unclear which athletes will be able to compete under the Russian Olympic Committee banner in Tokyo. Competition data suggests that a battle for third place on the medal table is realistic for those athletes who are permitted to compete.
- While Japan is expected to improve on its Rio 2016 medal total by over 40%, this increase is not likely enough for the host nation to genuinely challenge China for second place.
- 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 Top Five Medal Winning Countries
(Tokyo 2020 projection: 114 medals, 2016: 121 medals)
The U.S. is expected to once again top the Summer Games Virtual Medal Table in 2020. The current Gracenote projection of 114 medals is seven 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 29 different sports which would break the Olympic record of 28 (Soviet Union 1980, United States 2016).
(Tokyo 2020: 85 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 at Tokyo 2020. China edged Great Britain into second place in Rio by a margin of three medals. This time, host nation Japan and Russia were expected 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 four since our first prediction was released in July 2019. The Chinese team is forecast to win medals in 23 different sports, its second largest number of medal winning sports, beaten only by the 26 in 2008.
(Tokyo 2020: 73 medals, 2016: 56 medals)
It is currently unclear which athletes will be allowed to compete in Tokyo under the Russian Olympic Committee banner. Results data since Rio 2016 suggest that 73 medals could be won by these competitors but they must first be permitted to compete.
(Tokyo 2020: 59 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 40%. 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 11 medals since our initial Virtual Medal Table release in July 2019.
(Tokyo 2020: 46 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 Tokyo 2020 suggests medals will be won by a larger number of competitors. The forecast for the Netherlands has increased by 12 since the first medal table projections were released in July 2019.
Countries Ranked 6 to 10 on the Medal Table
(Tokyo 2020: 41 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 number of medals forecast for France is the same as it was in July 2019.
(Tokyo 2020: 40 medals, 2016: 29 medals)
It is possible that Australia and Great Britain, amongst others, 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.
(Tokyo 2020: 36 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 31 medals in Tokyo this year from their 2016 total of 67. The British team is therefore likely to drop out of the top-three medal winning countries. The reduction in medals for Britain is partially 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 2021 however, these sports could produce as low as five podium places.
(Tokyo 2020: 34 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 four 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 34 medals is four lower than in July 2019.
(Tokyo 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 46 medals at Tokyo 2020, an improvement of 27 on the last Summer Games. Similarly, host nation Japan are expected to cash in on home advantage and increase their Rio medal total by 18 this year. The Virtual Medal Table suggests that Turkey will also record an increase of 18 medals on their 2016 total.
Other NOCs who should improve markedly on 2016 results are Russian Olympic Committee, China, India, Hungary, Australia and Ukraine. The NOC of Hong Kong, China is currently projected to go from zero medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics to five at Tokyo 2020.
Gracenote’s 2020 Summer Games Solutions provide media publishers and entertainment providers with world-class data and editorial, empowering them to create unique and engaging Olympic audience experiences across digital and video platforms.
If you would like to learn more about Gracenote’s Virtual Medal Table, please contact us.
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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