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FEB economists predict: Netherlands in top 5 at Beijing Olympics

03 February 2022
Olympic rings

FEB economists Fabian ten Kate and Elmer Sterken predict that the Dutch Olympic team will reach the top 5 in Beijing. According to the economists’ predictions, the team will win 10 gold medals, 6 silver and 9 bronze ones. This would put the Netherlands in fourth place in the medal table.

Since 2002, Ten Kate and Sterken make predictions about the number of medals won at the Olympic Games. For the most recent summer Olympics in Tokyo they accurately predicted the Dutch teams’ great success. They predicted the Netherlands would win 33 medals and take the sixth place in the medal table. In the end, the Dutch team came home with 36 medals and the seventh place, they won two less gold medals than predicted, but one more silver and three more bronze.

Predictive modeling

Ten Kate and Sterken use an econometric model and base their predictions on the average success rates of athletes in World Championships over the past years for all 109 medal events that will take place at the Beijing Olympics. The economists even include factors specific to the home country of the athletes and the ‘home advantage’ that athletes from the host country may enjoy. In this case, Ten Kate and Sterken used the data from 2016-2018 to calibrate the model and predicted the outcome for 2022 on the basis of the data for 2021.

Top countries

The economists predict that Norway, Germany and Canada will head the medal table. After the Netherlands in fourth place, the top 10 will also include the United States, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), Sweden, host country China, Switzerland and Austria. If the Dutch team actually ends up taking that fourth place, that would equal the highest ever achieved ranking for the Netherlands. At the Winter Games in Sapporo in 1972, the Dutch team also took the fourth place, be it with significantly fewer competing countries.

Fourth or eight?

Ten Kate and Sterken of course aren’t the only ones making predictions. The economists have compared the quality of their previous prediction with those of others. A popular predictor is Gracenote, who has also made a prediction for Beijing 2022. In comparison to Gracenote’s prediction, Ten Kate and Sterken predict less medals for winner Norway. In their prediction, these medals go to a couple of other countries, including the Netherlands. In Gracenote’s prediction, the Dutch Olympic team has to settle for the eight place. All in all, exciting times are ahead for the athletes and the economists.


Last modified:07 February 2022 1.24 p.m.

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