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Groningen economists predict medal ranking in London: 8 gold medals for the Netherlands

06 July 2012

The Netherlands will finish eleventh in the medal ranking of the coming Olympic Games in London. According to the econometric model of the economists Gerard Kuper and Elmer Sterken of the University of Groningen, the Dutch team are going to win 23 medals, 8 of which will be gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze. Kuper and Sterken published their predictions in the journal Economisch Statistische Berichten (ESB; only in Dutch) on Friday 6 July 2012.

With predecessors of the current model, similar predictions were made for the Winter Games of 2002, 2006 and 2010 and for the Sumer Games in 2004 and 2008. ‘Our predictions for the medal ranking of the Games in Beijing were very good’, said Kuper. ‘For example, the model predicted correctly that China would take first place from the United States in the country ranking by winning more gold medals.’

London: Netherlands in eleventh place

The predictions of Kuper and Sterken were based on economic variables such as income per head of the population, population size, the home advantage and the WC results of the relevant disciplines. According to them, the United States will again win the most medals, but China will retain its top position in the medal ranking as it will win a higher number of gold medals. Great Britain will be able to count on fifteen extra medals because of its home advantage, but that will not be enough to oust Russia from third place.

Kuper and Sterken predict that the Netherlands will finish in eleventh place in the medal ranking in London. According to Kuper, a top-10 ranking (which is the ambition of the sports umbrella organization NOC*NSF) is therefore not out of the question. ‘We know from earlier estimates that the margin of error in our model is fairly large. Per colour there is a range of roughly two medals above and two medals below. Nevertheless, our model gives a good indication. Our predictions for the entire medal ranking have always proved better than those of our colleagues who use similar models.’

Editor’s note

Contact: Gerard Kuper, Tel. +31 (0)50-363 3756,

See also the Economisch Statistische Berichten:

The winners at the Olympic Summer Games in London

The winners in Beijing
Last modified:15 September 2017 3.28 p.m.
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