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Predicting Olympic medal counts

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 21, 2010

Economics professor Daniel Johnson makes accurate Olympic medal predictions using a handful of indicators that are unrelated to sports.

His forecast model predicts a country’s Olympic performance using per-capita income (the economic output per person), the nation’s population, its political structure, its climate and the home-field advantage for hosting the Games or living nearby. “It’s just pure economics,” Johnson says. “I know nothing about the athletes. And even if I did, I didn’t include it.”

For the upcoming 2010 games in Vancouver, Johnson predicts that Canada, the US, Norway, Austria, and Sweden will end up with the most medals. (thx, brandon)

Update: Johnson’s predictions were a bit off.