Earlier this week, UK Sport announced medal targets for the Rio Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The medal target ranges of 47-79 Olympic and 113-165 Paralympic medals show that the ambitious aspirational goal of becoming the first host nation to win more Olympic and Paralympic medals at the next Games post-hosting, set out at the beginning of the Rio investment cycle in December 2012, is within range. While the goal remains within the ranges, UK Sport’s analyses shows a historic best away Olympics is a more probable target.
I have taken a look at the history of Olympic Medals one quadrennium after hosting a Summer Olympic Games in the modern era.
My data are here.
My summary is:
There have been five Olympic Games in which the host of the preceding Games has not won medals or participated (1900, 1904, 1948, 1980, 1984).
There have been five Games in which the host has matched its position in the Gold Medal table one quadrennium later (1920, 1968, 1976, 2000, 2004).
Thereafter, I have profiles for 14 Summer Games
It will be interesting to see how the bandwidth of medals predicted by UK Sport eventuates. If the higher level is reached, Great Britain will redress the decline in gold medal position evident in 1912 and 1952.
It is very unlikely Great Britain will suffer the fate of Mexico (1972) and Greece (2008) in their performances one quadrennium on. Neither country won a gold medal in the subsequent Games.
The sport statistics company Gracenote forecast that Great Britain would finish third in medal table with 56 medals: 18 gold, 16 silver and 22 bronze. This is in excess of Australia’s performance in Athens in 2004 (17 gold, 16 silver and 17 bronze medals).
Olympische Spielen 1928 (Nationaal Archief, no known copyright restrictions)
Shortly after completing this post I received an alert to the publication of Danyel Reiche’s book on Success and Failure at the Olympic Games.