Team GB ‘could win 79 medals in Rio’

Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Tom Daley and Nicola Adams

Team GB took home a record 65 medals from London 2012

UK Sport believes Great Britain could win 79 Olympic medals at Rio 2016 and be the first nation to beat its tally as hosts of the previous Games.

A final medal target – and targets for each sport – will come in July, but it is likely to be in a range of 47 to 79.

Team GB won a record 65 medals at London 2012 and 120 at the Paralympics.

“If all stars align and things go perfectly, it could be as good as 79 medals,” said Simon Timson, UK Sport director of performance.

He added: “We can be confident it will be our best ever away Games.

“There is no trajectory, no absolute method of forecasting a nation’s likely medal haul.

“The aspirational goal of 66 – the first indication we should look at is, what are the sports telling us? When set out initially in 2012, it was based on the information the sports gave us.”

Great Britain finished third in the medal table at London 2012

Team GB won 29 golds, 17 silvers and 19 bronzes at 2012.

Since the modern Olympic era began in 1896, no host country has increased its medal tally at the next summer Games.

Timson said: “It [winning more in the subsequent Olympics] is absolutely unprecedented but a challenge that has kindled the fire in the bellies of our elite programmes, coaches and athletes.

“It is also important to reflect on why we set an aspirational goal – it is to focus people’s effort and to drive the intensity of that effort.”

What about the tracker forecasts?

UK Sport has statistically modelled 250,000 different scenarios in Rio based on the sports’ performances in major events in 2015. This analysis suggests GB will win 53 medals.

But a more up-to-date ‘tracker’, based on projections from each sport, says 71 medals might be possible.

Diving, gymnastics and swimming all posted great results in 2015, and cycling showed signs of a return to the form of 2008 and 2012.

The most recent prediction from sport statistics company Infostrada had GB in fifth place on 48 medals.

Infostrada had Russia in third place with 70 medals, a figure that may need revising if the country’s athletics team remains banned.

UK Sport’s predictions for Paralympics GB were even more bullish, with a London-beating total of 124 being suggested.

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