The Gracenote Virtual Medal Table (VMT) forecasts a total of 87 NOCs to claim a medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, breaking the record of Beijing 2008 where 86 NOCs took home the silverware.
USA are expected to top the table in Rio de Janeiro with 38 gold medals, followed by China, comfortably sitting in second place with 29 gold medals. With the suspension of several Russian competitors, the battle for third place will likely take place between Great Britain, Germany and Australia.
USA could win the medal table for the fifth time in the last six editions of the Olympic Games. It was only at Beijing 2008 that they were bettered when the hosts, China, topped the table on gold medals. For the first time since the Games in Rome 56 years ago, though, USA are forecast to win fewer than 90 medals in total (88).
Three NOCs are projected to earn their first ever medal at the Olympic Games - Fiji, Kosovo and San Marino. Fiji are set to win the gold medal in men's rugby sevens, Kosovo's Majlinda Kelmendi is sitting in the projected gold medal position in women's judo (52kg), and shooter Alessandra Perilli is expected to take home a bronze medal for San Marino in women's trap.
Hosts Brazil look like profiting from the support of their home crowd as they are anticipated to finish in the top-10 for the first time in history. Their eight gold medals are two more than their gold medal haul at the last two Olympic Games combined and three more than their record of five at Athens 2004. Eight of the last nine hosts of the Games have finished in the top-10, with the Greece (15th) in 2004 the only exception.
Due to the suspensions of several Russian competitors at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Russia have dropped from third to sixth place in the Gracenote Virtual Medal Table (VMT). They have lost a total of 20 medals since last month's VMT when no official decisions regarding Russia had been made.
The predicted 43 medals for Russia at the Rio Games would give the NOC its smallest amount of silverware in the 20 years competing as Russia in the competition as the previous low is the 63 medals won at Atlanta 1996.
With the reduced number of Russian athletes, the third place in the Rio medal table seems wide open as Great Britain (18), Germany (16), Australia (16) and Russia (15) are all within three predicted gold medals of each other.
At London 2012, in front of a home crowd, Great Britain finished in the top three of the medal table for the first time in more than 90 years. In Rio, the British team is set to repeat that top three finish, something it has not achieved at successive Olympics since finishing first at London 1908, third at Stockholm 1912 and third at Antwerp 1920.
The VMT forecasts Australia to double its London 2012 gold medal haul of eight as the Australian team is set for 16 gold medals in Rio. The Australian team has won more gold medals at an Olympic Games just once - 17 at Athens 2004. The country has finished in the top three of the medal table on just one previous occasion, in 1956 while hosting the Games in Melbourne (third).
Since topping the medal table in Berlin in 1936, Germany has only recorded two top three finishes - third in both 1992 (Barcelona) and 1996 (Atlanta). East Germany finished in the top three in 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1988 though, as did West Germany at the Los Angeles Games in 1984.
With USA on top of the Gracenote Virtual Medal Table (VMT) the question remains who will become the biggest star of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Several athletes are predicted to win multiple (gold) medals in Brazil and all will be competing in perhaps the three biggest Olympic sports; swimming, gymnastics and athletics.
Swimmer Michael Phelps, who has won a record 18 Olympic gold medals, is set to expand his trophy cabinet yet again. The VMT has him on gold in the 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley, and on a bronze medal in 200m butterfly. In addition, he could be part of all three of Team USA's men's relay teams, two of which are forecast to win gold.
On the women's side, Katie Ledecky is also hoping to go home with a bag full of medals. She is forecast to win gold in the 400m and 800m freestyle, and to claim bronze in the 200m freestyle. A relay medal is also on the cards as the USA's women's team is projected on gold in the 4x100m medley relay and 4 x 200m freestyle relay, and bronze in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
According to the VMT, American gymnast Simone Biles will win a gold medal in four events - beam, floor exercise, individual all-around and team - and is expected to take home the silver in the vault. Another gymnast in the VMT with a lot of medal chances is Ukraine's Oleg Verniaiev who is forecast to win gold in parallel bars, pommel horse and vault, and set for an additional silver medal in individual all-around.
Jamaica's Usain Bolt is expected to take three medals in the sprint events in athletics. He is projected silver in the 100m behind USA's Justin Gatlin but is set for gold in the 200m. He could also be part of Jamaica's 4x100m relay men's team, predicted to win gold ahead of USA and Great Britain.
The Virtual Medal Table is an excellent means of engaging fans on any platform. The tool is available to sports organisations, media publishers, sponsors and advertisers looking to activate their involvement in the world’s biggest sporting event.
Using performances in all Olympic sports events with world class fields, we are able to produce a prediction of the results for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio if they were held tomorrow. This forecast is in the form of the top-8 in order for each of the medal events at the Games and an overall medal table.
The VMT is a statistical model based on results in Olympic Games, World Championships and World Cups (or equivalent). It takes account of the following: