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Olympic Host Nation Trend: Data indicates Team GB will not reach Rio medal goals


UK Sport has announced that Team GB has set a high goal of 48 medals in Rio at this year's Olympics. Although we applaud their lofty goals, we at wanted to investigate how well nations actually fared in the Olympic Games, post hosting

We’ve analysed every Olympic host nation’s medal count since the first games in Athens, 1896, and measured it against their performance in the subsequent games. The numbers are showing that the goals of Team GB in Rio might be slightly out of reach.

Does Olympic Host Legacy Live On?

Team GB’s Predicted Numbers

In London’s 2012 Games, Team GB managed to accumulate an impressive 65 medals (29 Gold, 17 Silver, 19 Bronze). It seems that UK Sport is at least being realistic about lowering their expectations in Rio, but 48 medals might be a slight overestimate considering the data.

Based on the historical average decline in medals, host nations will collect 52% less Gold, 28% less Silver, and 18% less Bronze medals in their following Olympic Games. With these trends, our numbers indicate that Team GB should win 42 medals instead: 16 Gold, 14 Silver, and 12 Bronze medals.

Can Team GB Defy the Trend?

Since these trends are based on the average decrease in medals, Team GB’s final medal count can fluctuate. In fact, twice in Olympic history has a host nation received more Gold medals in the games following their host status. Australia won 6% more Gold medals in Athens after hosting in Sydney, and Canada increased their Gold count by 10 fold after hosting in 1976. However, it’s worth mentioning that Canada actually won 10 Golds, as they are the only host nation to not take home a Gold medal while hosting the games.