LONDON 2012: Predictions have Team GB placing third in medal table
A leading US academic has predicted British athletes will be the big winners at the London 2012 Olympics - and has even claimed Team GB could finish third on the medal table.
WINNERS: Sir Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington won five of Team GB's 19 gold medals in Beijing between them (Getty Images)
Since 2000 academics from Tuck School of Business in Dartmouth, USA, have used a formula first developed by Professor Andrew Bernard to predict, with unerring accuracy, the Olympic medal table.
For the 2008 Beijing Games, their accuracy rate for the number of medals won for each country was 95 percent.
Report author Emily Williams claims China will still top the medal table at London 2012, but will win 48 golds, three less than at their home Games four years ago.
The USA will finish second with 35 top podium places, one less than 2008 and Team GB will see their gold medal tally rise from 19 in Beijing to 25 on home soil.
That, she claims, will lift them above Russia, predicted to finish with 21 golds, and fifth-placed Germany, who will again edge Team GB's arch-rivals Australia down into sixth.
British Olympic Association officials are not giving any medal predictions, insisting they simply want to win more medals in more sports than ever before.
But UK Sport, which has invested £500 million in funding athletes since London was awarded the Games, are insisting on a tangible return on that investment.
They want Team GB to finish fourth on the medal table and are targeting between 40 and 70 medals, with 48 being the minimum target in 12 different Olympic sports.
And sports statistics provider Infostrada, whose virtual medal table uses form data to predict results, has Team GB winning 95 medals - 27 of them gold, a figure that has also be mentioned in a recent study by Sheffield Hallam University.
© Sportsbeat 2012