So you thought we were crazy to pick Olympic medalists 500 days out, ehh? Well apparently, USA Today doesn’t think so. They have teamed up with Dutch company Infostrada Sports to project the number of medals that each country will win at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. These projections are mostly based on performance at past major Championships like Olympic Games and World Championships.
There are a few surprising picks on the swimming list (though they projected all sports). For example, they think that Russia’s Yulia Efimova will take 2nd away from Leisel Jones, and that the USA’s Elizabeth Beisel will win the women’s 200 backstroke (and leave Brits Gemma Spofforth and Elizabeth Simmonds off of the medal stand). They like the Australian women to win both the 400 freestyle and medley relays (perhaps counting on a big comeback from Libby Trickett?) and the American women to take the 800.
On the men’s side, they like Tom’s “darkhorse” pick of Helge Meeuw to take silver in the 100 back, and Team USA’s Nathan Adrian to just miss medals in both sprint freestyles (4th place projections in each). The USA Today likes Phelps to win every event he races, but leaves him out of both the 200 IM and 100 free (maybe they know something we don’t?). They also are looking for another epic Phelps-Cavic showdown in the 100 fly.
Without knowing their methodologies, it’s hard to critique their work, though the indication is that it was done fairly scientifically. Regardless, it’s an interesting read. They currently expect the United States to hold off China in the overall medal count, but just barely. They expect the USA to take 88 medals (36 gold), with China grabbing 84, and Russia taking 80.
And be sure to check out our own predictions. So far we have done the day 1 men’s events, the day 1 women’s events, and the day 2 men’s events. We will be finishing out the series over the next month or two, so stay tuned.
Click here to see the USA Today’s projections for both swimming and all of the other Olympic sports. They will update their projections monthly