US, China expected to win most medals at Paris Olympics

US, China expected to win most medals at Paris Olympics

/ 09:39 PM April 17, 2024

Paris Olympics

FILE PHOTO: The Olympic rings are seen in front of the Hotel de Ville City Hall in Paris, France, March 14, 2023. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

The United States and China are expected to finish 1-2 in the gold and the overall medal counts at the Paris Olympics, which open in 100 days.

The United States is projected to win 123 medals overall, including 39 golds. China is projected to win 35 gold and 89 medals overall. The two also finished 1-2 in both categories three years ago in the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics.

This forecast is done by Nielsen’s Gracenote Sports, which supplies statistical analysis for sports leagues around the world. It also tracks major competitions involving Olympic sports leading up to the Games.

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Gracenote’s rankings are based on overall medals won, although others focus the rankings on gold totals.

This would be the eighth straight time the United States has won the most overall medals in the Summer Games. In 1992 at Barcelona, the so-called Unified team topped the overall count. Those athletes were from the former Soviet Union, which had just broken up as a sovereign state.

The last time the United States did not top the gold-medal count in the Summer Games was in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where China invested heavily and saw dividends.

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Next in line with overall and gold totals are: Britain (66-13), France (55-28), Australia (50-13), Japan (49-13), Italy (47-12), Netherlands (38-18), Germany (36-9), South Korea (24-9).

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The next 10 are: Canada (22-6), Spain (20-5), Hungary (19-5), Brazil (18-9), Turkey (13-4), Ethiopia (13-3), Uzbekistan (13-3), Ukraine (13-3), Georgia (12-3) and Denmark (11-5).

Host nations always get a bump in medals, and France is expected to get a big one and increase its overall total from 33 in Tokyo. France is forecast to nearly triple its gold-medal output from Tokyo, where Japan picked up a record haul.

Performing at home is an advantage, partly because host nations invest more heavily in training athletes. Then, of course, there are adoring home crowds.

France is also competing in 25 different sports in Paris, far above its average in recent Olympics of between 15 and 19, according to Gracenote’s analysis.

The unknown factor is the presence of Russian and — to a lesser extent — Belarusian athletes. They have been absent from most international competitions over the last two years because of the war in Ukraine. Their influence is difficult to factor into the forecast, Gracenote acknowledges.

“It appears that there will be limited participation of these athletes (Russian and Belarusian),” Gracenote said. It said it expects its predictions to be accurate “based on the data that we have.”

Russia and Belarus are barred from team sports at the Olympics because of the war in Ukraine and the International Olympic Committee has laid out a two-step vetting procedure for individual athletes from those countries to be granted neutral status.

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Those athletes must first be approved by the governing body of their individual sport and then by an an IOC-appointed review panel.

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