Colorado College professor Daniel Johnson’s mathematical formula—one based on factors such as wealth and politics, and not on athletic ability—has come close to nailing down the final medal count for the last four Olympic Games.
For the Beijing Olympics he has predicted the US getting the most overall medals with a total of 103. They’ll earn 33 golds this time around, while Russia will grab 28 gold medals and 95 in total. He predicts that China will win 44 gold medals and 89 medals overall.
Beijing launched Project 119, a training campaign to make itself competitive in all 119 (now 122) events, from the 100-meter dash to kayaking. With 88 of the golds this year coming in swimming and track and field, events in which China has lagged in the past, this year could mark a dramatic turning point—or an even more colossal comedown.
Gamblers are betting that China will win 42 gold medals in the Olympics with the U.S. just behind with 37. Overall the hosts will win 93 medals with Americans bringing home 90.
China’s GDP is increasing and will pass the overall size of the US economy in the 2014-2020 timeframe.
China will still have a significant rural and poorer population to draw into the sports system. China will continue to have a better funded and larger population version of the old Soviet sports system.
China will win the medal count totals by large amounts in 2012 and onwards.