Looking Back on Beijing: Accurate Predictions


Now that we have 20-20 hindsight we can have some fun and check out just how accurate some pre-Games predictions were. One that was amazingly accurate came from a BBC article about how a group of academics put together a mathematical model to predict how many medals a country would win in the Olympics. According to the article their formula takes into account a number of factors – most of which make a lot of sense:

• a country’s GDP (bigger economies win more medals)

• a country’s population (not so important)

• a country’s public spending on recreation in the four years up to the Games (significant; but with a lot of extra spending needed for each extra medal)

• whether a country had been a member of the Soviet bloc (ex-communist countries are still over-performing)

• which country is host (worth about 20 medals)

• whether a country had been a previous host

• which country will be the next host

• how many medals a country had won at the last Games (momentum is important)

Using their formula the researchers had predicted that the British team would win 44 medals in Beijing – actual Games count was 47 which is amazingly close.

Read the full article here.

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