What affects the number of medals a country wins at the olympics? Goldman Sachs thinks that it is their population, whether or not they are the host nation, and economic growth. The latter metric alone is capable of explaining fully forty per cent of the standard deviation of the number of medals, according to an excerpt hosted at Business Insider.
Of course, the most important factor remains whether or not the country is hosting. On average, the host nation earns an extra 54 per cent more medals than they would otherwise; unfortunately, given 2008 was a particularly good year for Team GB, we may still see ourselves earning fewer this time round.
The chart above shows Goldman Sachs applying their metric to work out who the top ten countries will be in London 2012, and how many gold medals they will each win. Apart from Britain and China, the biggest change expected is France, which Goldman predicts will win 14 golds, up from just 7 last time.