Forecasting National Team Medal Totals at the Summer Olympic Games Articles uri icon

authors

  • FORREST, DAVID
  • SANZ LABRADOR, ISMAEL
  • TENA HORRILLO, JUAN DE DIOS

publication date

  • July 2010

start page

  • 576

end page

  • 588

issue

  • 3

volume

  • 26

international standard serial number (ISSN)

  • 0169-2070

electronic international standard serial number (EISSN)

  • 1872-8200

abstract

  • The paper reports the results of an exercise to forecast national team medal totals at the Beijing Olympic Games, 2008. Forecasts were released to the media before the competitions commenced. The starting point was
    an established statistical model based on a regression analysis of medal
    totals in earlier Games, with past performance and GDP among the
    principal covariates. However, we based our own forecasts on a model
    with additional regressors, including a measure of public spending on
    recreation. This adaptation is shown to have improved the forecasting
    performance. We also made subjective, judgemental adjustments before
    releasing our final public forecasts, and we demonstrate that this led
    to a further increase in accuracy. These final forecasts were successful
    in predicting the principal changes in medal shares relative to the
    2004 Games, namely the surge in medals for China and Great Britain and
    the substantial fall in medals for Russia.