Olympic Predictions 2016
Olympic Medal Predictions
By Eric Uribe
Red, white, and blue will be an all-too-familiar visual for Olympic viewers over the next two weeks. Team USA is the runaway favorite to leave Rio with the most gold medals and for good reason. After all, U.S. won an eye-popping 46 gold medals during the 2012 games in London. But just how much gold will Team USA leave with?
The Americans enter Rio with an over/under of 42.5 gold medals. The biggest threat to the Americans is China, who is sending 416 athletes, including 35 former Olympic champions. Aside from the Chinese, the doping scandal affecting Russia aids the U.S greatly. Russia was widely viewed as the second stiffest opponent to the Americans before bans rocked the team.
I don’t expect the red, white, and blue to top its 46 gold medals from London, however, they will go over 42.5 (-105).
Beyond the total medal count, Americans will be laser-focused on a number of sports and key athletes. Here are good picks to spread your hard-earned money on:
Men’s Basketball: Is there any stopping Team USA?
What is the significance of the following numbers: 37, 49, 50, 35, and 44? That’s the margin of victory Team USA had in each of its five exhibition games against Argentina, China (twice), Venezuela, and Nigeria. Simply put, U.S. basketball is hitting on all cylinders at the moment. With a star-studded roster that includes Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Klay Thompson, and Kyrie Irving, it would be mind-boggling to bet against Team USA (-1600) winning it all here.
The Americans have won two gold medals in a row, beating Spain in the championship both times in tightly-contest games. While the Spaniards are perhaps the best chance at dethroning Team USA, they will be without NBA all-star Marc Gasol, which really hurts their upset bid hopes.
Swimming: Michael Phelps chasing history (again)
Olympic gold and Michael Phelps are almost synonymous with one another. Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete ever. Period. His 22 medals, 18 of which are gold, are both Olympic records. Nonetheless, Phelps is facing another competition away from the swimming pool — against father time, as Phelps turned 31 in June.
Rio will be Phelps last stand, as he becomes the first American swimmer to compete in five Olympic games, qualifying for the 100- and 200-meter butterfly, the 200-meter individual medley, and all relay races.
While it’s anyone’s guess which relay races Phelps will battle it out in, I’ll forecast his individual performances: Phelps will tack on two individual golds to his legacy, but will fall just short in the medley race.
Phelps has won the latter competition a whopping three Games in a row. Impressive, I know. However, just as impressive is his biggest foe in the competition, Kosuke Hagino of Japan. Hagino is ten years younger than Phelps and posted the quickest time — one minute and 55.07 seconds — in the event this year across the world.
Hagino won bronze in the event in London four years ago, but his youth will propel him over Phelps this time around.
Sprinting — Usain Bolt vs. Justin Gatlin
Perhaps the most electrifying athlete in Rio will be Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world (and probably of all time, too). Bolt will attempt to go for a hat trick in both the 100- and 200-meter races after he won gold at both events in 2008 and 2012.
He is the only sprinter to win both events back to back and a trifecta would catapult him to all-time great Olympic athlete status. Like Phelps, the 29-year-old Bolt said Rio will be his final Olympic games.
However, Bolt is vulnerable this year. A hamstring injury forced him to withdraw from the Jamaican trials last month.
I believe Bolt will cruise to victory in the 200 meter. Simply put, there’s no one that runs the turn better than Bolt. However, a familiar face — U.S. own Justin Gatlin — will shock the world and edge Bolt in the 100 meter. Gatlin lost to Bolt in the same race by a millisecond at the 2015 World Championships.
Rio will be a different story and Gatlin will claim gold once again after winning the 100 meter at the 2004 Olympics.
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