Charlotte Dujardin won one of 27 Team GB gold medals at the Rio Olympics
Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS
Team GB will dip to fifth in the Olympic medal table but enjoy another gold rush and 52 medals in all in Tokyo , according to forecasters.
Gracenote, a leading data and technology firm, believe USA will again dominate, with 96 medals to finish top of the table for the seventh successive Games.
Defending the second spot Team GB achieved in Rio has consistently been deemed a tall order by UK Sport. A top five finish for a fourth successive Games would be perceived as a success by many within the camp, especially mid-pandemic.
Athletes competing under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) flag are predicted to finish second, with 68 medals in total, narrowly above China on 66.
That leaves hosts Japan above Britain, with a projected improvement of nearly 50 per cent to secure 60 medals.
Gracenote’s table is based purely on total medal numbers, however. If the rankings are right and Team GB achieves 14 golds, it could finish as low as seventh in the official IOC rankings.
Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis at Gracenote, said: "There will always be countries and athletes who overachieve and under-perform in comparison to their results prior to the Games though – and this is why sport is so compelling. We can never truly know what will happen."
This time around, Team GB named a delegation of 376 athletes in Tokyo – the biggest for an overseas Games – but while over 50 medals is the target, there is a a degree of managing expectations this summer.
Funding body UK Sport has strayed from setting a specific medal target given the lack of recent international competition. However, there is a general expectation that the team will be strong enough to surpass the 51 medals secured in Beijing in 2008. But a downturn in previously strong medal sports like cycling and gymnastics is likely to see the team come up short of Rio’s total.
For Britain, the men’s 4x100m relay quartet is being tipped to shock the USA and win gold. Dina Asher-Smith, Jemma Reekie, Laura Muir and the women’s 4x100m relay team are expected to land silvers. Team GB are also forecast to win two golds in swimming, shooting and equestrian.
How does the Olympics medal table work?
The Olympic medal table is a list of country rankings not officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee. As it is unofficial, there is no firm rule on how it is ordered, but the general consensus is that it ranks all nations by gold medals won, NOT total medals of all colour.
If the number of gold medals won is equal with another country, the number of silver medals are taken into consideration and then the number of bronze medals. If they are still tied after gold, silver and bronze, equal rankings are given and they are listed alphabetically.
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Who usually tops the table?
In a word: America. The United States have topped the medal table at 17 of the 27 Olympics they have competed at (they boycotted the Moscow Games in 1980).
Which country topped the medal table at each Summer Olympics?
How do Team GB historically fare?
It has been a mixed bag over the years for the British contingent. They were a dominant force in the early days of the Olympics, even managing to top the table for the only time at the London Games in 1908.
Things then settled into mid-table mediocrity for a significant period until the disaster of Atlanta 1996 when they won just one gold medal and finished 36th in the standings.
That shocker was the catalyst for serious investment and British medals have gone from strength to strength ever since.
Who are the athletes for Team GB?
Britain’s medal tally at each Summer Olympics
What are British prospects for Tokyo?
There are some suggestions that expectations should be lowered somewhat for the Tokyo Games this summer and that was before the disruption brought by Covid-19, which forced the games to be postponed by 12 months.
Gracenote, a leading data and technology firm, has predicted Britain will dip to fifth in the Olympic medal table but enjoy another gold rush and 52 medals in all in Tokyo. Responding on Wednesday, Mark England, the Team GB chef de mission, said he is not concentrating on medal targets, and is instead "excited to see not only the performance outcome but what legacy can this team leave".
"I don’t know what the medal outcome is going to be," he added. "But what I would say is that this is a top top team that we’re looking at. This is a top team that’s going to hit the field of play."
With Britain in the grip of surging Covid rates again, England has been encouraging the team to consider the legacy they are creating in Japan. He said: "Many people back home have lost their lives, many people have had their livelihoods changed – how are we maturely representing the hopes and the aspirations of millions and millions of people back home."
Defending the second spot Team GB achieved in Rio has consistently been deemed a tall order by UK Sport. A top five finish for a fourth successive Games would be perceived as a success by many within the camp, especially mid-pandemic. Concern around Covid rates in Japan have been mounting as athletes make their last preparations for competition. Chilean taekwondo player Fernanda Aguirre and the Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs are the latest positive tests, with numbers of infected accredited personnel nearing 80.
What are the odds?
To win the most medals at the Tokyo Olympics:
- United States – 1/9
- China – 6/1
- Russian Olympics Committee – 20/1
- Great Britain – 33/1
- Japan 66/1
- Germany – 200/1
- Netherlands – 200/1
Odds from SkyBet, last updated July 15 2021