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Tokyo Olympics: Projected medal table, Team GB medallists and international stars to watch

Hosts: Tokyo, Japan Dates: 23 July-8 AugustCoverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and Sounds; live text and video clips on BBC Sport website and app.

But which country will top the medal table? Where will Team GB finish? And who will win the medals?

Gracenote, the world’s leading entertainment data and technology company, predicts all for BBC Sport.

Who will top the medal table?

The United States are top of Gracenote’s virtual medal table – a statistical model based on individual and team results in previous Olympics, World Championships and World Cups.

That model predicts the USA will take 96 medals in Tokyo, and that they will finish top of the table for the seventh successive summer Olympics.

But how accurate is such a forecast?

“Normally a data-driven forecast of the summer Olympics provides a good assessment of how the medal table will look,” said Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis at Gracenote.

“There will always be countries and athletes who over-achieve and under-perform in comparison to their results prior to the Games though – and this is why sport is so compelling. We can never truly know what will happen.”

Athletes competing under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) flag are predicted to finish second, with 68 medals in total, but may face competition from China for that second-place ranking.

After they fell to 70 medals at Rio 2016, China are forecast to get 66 this time – but their actual tally may be higher, as almost 80% of the Chinese athletes ranked in the top eight for their event by Gracenote have recorded no results since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

And that, says Gleave, is why forecasting is particularly tricky this time around.

He said: “This Olympics is even more unpredictable than usual. Many events were cancelled in 2020 and although they have been replaced with events held this year, athletes from some countries, like China, have not competed in those more recent events.”

A strong Games for the hosts – but a drop in medals for Team GB?

Hosts Japan are expected to improve their Rio figures by nearly 50%, bringing them to 60, due to a mix of more medals in the country’s strongest sports as well as potential success in the new sports of skateboarding, sport climbing and baseball.

Fifth place is forecast as Team GB’s finishing spot, dropping from third five years ago in Rio. It would be the fourth successive summer Games in which Team GB has finished in the top five in terms of total medals.

It is predicted there will be a drop of 15 medals from 2016, giving Britain a total of 52, because of lower expectations in track cycling, artistic gymnastics, and rowing among others.

“In general, the medal totals for most of the top nations are not too far removed from what we would expect based on previous Olympics,” Gleave said.

“Countries who appear to be likely to do much better than usual, like the Netherlands, were predicted roughly the medals they are predicted now, before the pandemic hit.

“We have made some adjustments to our usual model, but there is little that can be done about the competitors with no results since March 2020. Their projected rankings may be underrated when events have taken place without them. On the other hand, that lack of competition could also be a handicap in itself.”

Who will win what for Team GB?

Of those 52 medals predicted for Team GB, 14 are expected to be gold. But who is forecast to win them?

Adam Peaty is the obvious one, expected to defend his 100m breaststroke title from Rio, while gymnast Max Whitlock is also tipped to retain his pommel horse gold.

Also backed to defend their titles are sprint canoeist Liam Heath, taekwondo star Jade Jones, and diver Jack Laugher in the synchronised 3m springboard, this time with Daniel Goodfellow.

In athletics, the men’s 4x100m relay squad are forecast to win gold, as is the men’s 4x100m medley relay quartet in swimming.

Also in line to take the top step of the podium are boxer Lauren Price, Laura Collett and Ben Maher in equestrian, shooters Seonaid McIntosh and Amber Hill, and sailors Anna Burnet and John Gimson in the mixed Nacra 17.

In rowing, Britain’s men’s four – this time consisting of Ollie Cook, Matt Rossiter, Rory Gibbs and Sholto Carnegie – are expected to win the Olympic title for a sixth successive Games, a run dating back to Sydney 2000.

Among those in line for silver are athletes Dina Asher-Smith (200m), Laura Muir (1500m) and Jemma Reekie (800m), diver Tom Daley (10m platform), Kate French in the women’s modern pentathlon, triathlete Jess Learmonth and weightlifter Emily Campbell.

In track cycling, only two medals – both silver – are forecast, in the women’s team pursuit and men’s team sprint.

Team GB’s women’s hockey team, victorious in Rio, are projected to claim bronze.

“It seems unlikely that Great Britain will repeat its success of the last two Olympic Games and it will be very hard to finish higher than fifth on total medals due to the likely resurgence of Russian competitors under the Russian Olympic Committee banner and the strength of Japan as host nation,” said Gleave.

“Track cycling is probably the sport in which Great Britain could do better than the data suggests as there have been very few events since last year’s World Championships, an event in which the British team did not compete with the bikes they will use in Tokyo.”

Who to watch from Japan?

One name to keep an eye on is swimmer Daiya Seto, a multiple world champion and world record holder in the pool.

The 27-year-old is tipped to win gold in both the 200m and 400m individual medleys, as well as silver in the 200m butterfly.

A Japanese one-two is projected in the women’s park skateboarding, gold for Sakura Yosozumi and silver for Misugu Okamoto, as well as further skateboarding golds in the men’s and women’s street.

Japan are also forecast to do well in the new, and returning, sports of baseball, karate, softball, sport climbing and surfing.

Prior to London 2012, Japan had never won an Olympic medal on the badminton court, but that has all changed. They are expected to win five on their home patch, including two singles golds – Kento Momota for the men and Nozomi Okuhara for the women.

But one big name missing from the projected medallists is judoka Shohei Ono. He hasn’t taken part in any events since 2019, missing plenty of potential opportunities such as World Championships, World Masters and Grand Slam events in which other top Japanese judo stars have participated.

Who will be the international stars of the Games?

If we were to ask you to name a likely winner of multiple Olympic medals in Tokyo, Simone Biles would probably be top of your list.

The 24-year-old American gymnast won five medals, including four golds, at her debut Games in Rio, and is forecast by Gracenote to be a frequent visitor to the podium in Tokyo too.

Other athletes anticipated to win multiple medals include swimmers Katie Ledecky (US), Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden) and Caeleb Dressel (US), athletics stars Joshua Cheptegei (Uganda), Sifan Hassan (Netherlands) and Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bahamas), and track cyclists Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands), Lee Wai Sze (Hong Kong) and Emma Hinze (Germany).

In the road cycling, Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten (both Netherlands) are predicted to dominate the women’s races.

Look out too for two-time world champion Logan Martin (Australia) and three-time world champion Hannah Roberts (US) in the men’s and women’s BMX park events.

Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis, the European gold and world silver medallist, is also set to make an eagerly-awaited Olympic debut.

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