Your guide to the Olympics
A leading global sports data analyst company predicts New Zealand to win a record-equalling eight Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, and kayaker Lisa Carrington to become our most decorated athlete.
In its final Virtual Medal Table, released three days out from Friday’s opening ceremony, Gracenote forecasts eight gold, five silver and two bronze for New Zealand, a total of 15.
That includes a staggering four medals for Carrington – two gold and two silver – which would see her sweep past fellow paddlers Ian Ferguson and Paul Macdonald, and equestrian Sir Mark Todd (five apiece) to become New Zealand’s leading Olympic medallist.
Carrington arrives in Tokyo with three (two gold, one bronze) and is a shortpriced favourite to win her third straight K1 200m title.
Gracenote predicts Carrington will win double gold in the K1 200m and K1 500m, and silver in both the K2 500m with Caitlin Regal, and K4 500m with Regal, Teneale Hatton and Alicia Hoskin.
Not since Los Angeles in 1984 has New Zealand won eight golds, when Ferguson and Macdonald led the way on the water.
Gracenote’s prediction of 15 New Zealand medals would see it fall short of High Performance Sport NZ’S long-range target of 16 or more, and the team’s record haul of 18 (four gold, nine silver, five bronze) in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
Carrington aside, golds are predicted for the women’s rowing eight and the pair of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler; yachties Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er) and Josh Junior (Finn); and the men’s and women’s sevens rugby teams.
Shot putter Tom Walsh is predicted to win silver, as is cyclist Campbell Stewart in the Omnium. The men’s Madison (two of Stewart, Aaron Gate and Corbin Strong) is also tipped for silver at the velodrome while the men’s pursuit team and the triathlon mixed relay team are predicted to collect bronze.
Just before the Rio Olympics in 2016, Gracenote went high with its New Zealand prediction for 25 medals: seven gold, 11 silver and five bronze. The team in black won three fewer golds and seven fewer medals than forecast.
Gracenote’s head of sports analysis, Simon Gleave, said this projection contained more uncertainty than usual due to Covid-19 and a lack of recent international competition. The company’s statistical model, based on the most up-to-date individual and team results from key competitions since Rio 2016, took a hit due to the rarity of global events since early 2020. Its algorithm is designed to put more weight on the results of competitions held in the closing months before the Games.
The United States heads its Virtual Medal Table with 96 (40 gold), with China (33 gold, 66 total) and host nation Japan (26 gold, 60 total) making up the top-three. New Zealand’s eight golds would place them 11th on the Virtual Medal Table. International news agency Associated Press released a very similar prediction, forecasting 17 total medals for New Zealand: eight gold, five silver and four bronze.
AP had rowers Brooke Donoghue and Hannah Osbourne (double sculls) winning gold, and boxer David Nyika, weightlifter
Laurel Hubbard and single sculler Emma Twigg all collecting silver. Another who doesn’t feature on the Gracenote list, shot putter Valerie Adams, is tipped by AP to win bronze at her fifth Olympics. Sports bookmaker Pinnacle listed seven Kiwi individuals or teams as favourites for gold in its opening Olympic markets this month: Carrington (K1 200m and K1 500m), the men’s and women’s sevens teams, Gowler and Prendergast, the women’s eight, and Burling and Tuke.