Data and Analytics Predicts Outcome Of Rio Olympics

7 July 2016

Data and Analytics are becoming a huge part of society, measuring and predicting results for anything ranging from sole trader businesses to huge sporting events. This blog is looking at the latter, with a report from Gracenote claiming to have accurately predicted the outcome of the upcoming Rio Olympic Games.

‘Gracenote®, the world’s leading provider of entertainment data and subsidiary of Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO), is using its sports data expertise to predict which countries and athletes will step up at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games if the games were held today (April 26).’

Great Britain are 5th in the forecasted medals table, with more medals overall than 4th placed Australia, but one less Gold. As usual, the United States are predicted to top the table, with China and Russia following close behind. Host country, Brazil, is predicted to take home 25 medals (9 gold, 8 silver and 8 bronze) – a new record.

“Predicting winners and losers is challenging because one minor mishap or injury can change the entire medal count for a team in the Olympic Games,” said Simon Gleave, Head of Analysis at Gracenote Sports. “Gracenote uses various data signals,

“Gracenote uses various data signals, advance analysis and a unique algorithm to predict how athletes across Olympic sports – and therefore their home countries – are likely to perform. Several National Olympic Committees use Gracenote’s Virtual Medal Table analysis to select athletes to develop and sport competitions to pursue, as well as understand how best to allocate resources for the highest ROI.”

It will certainly be interesting to see how the Gracenote table matches up with the final medals table when the games are over. If it bears any similarity it will be just another example of how useful data and analytics are in predicting the outcome of events. It shows that investing time into the analytical side of business can potentially save you a lot of time in the future.


  • Argentina is predicted to claim just two medals, which would be its lowest return since Barcelona 1992.
  • Spain’s medal total is expected to fall for the fourth successive Olympics.
  • Italy is forecast to win four fewer medals than its lowest total from the last five Olympics (27 at Beijing 2008).
  • Ukraine is projected to win 19 medals, one fewer than its worst Olympic performance (20 at London 2012).
  • Belarus is predicted to win seven medals, five fewer than at London 2012, which was the country’s lowest medal haul up to that time.


There is still confusion as to whether or not Russia will be allowed to compete at the Olympics this summer following a ban imposed in November, although a final decision is due on July 21. Russia are confident of competing though and have named a 68-strong squad for the game which start on the 5th of August.

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