More nations than ever set to appear on Olympic podium
Date: 27/06/2012. Story submitted by: SuzanneRutter
Submitted by: SuzanneRutter
Rule changes to Olympic Games events are likely to result in more nations than ever before winning medals at London 2012, according to experts who have already predicted a bumper medals haul for Team GB.
The Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University says that under normal circumstances 53 nations would be expected to win a gold medal and 80 nations will win a medal of any colour.
However rule changes limiting the number of medals that nations can contest could increase the number of medal-winning nations at London 2012 to an all-time high.
The current record for nations winning a gold medal is 56 (Athens 2004) and for any medal the record is 86 (Beijing 2008).
Professor Simon Shibli, who predicted that Team GB will win 27 gold medals at London 2012, said: "More nations are taking part in the Olympic Games and it is expected that 204 National Olympic Committees will send teams to London 2012.
"In 1988, 159 nations attended the Seoul Olympics and this figure has risen steadily since then.
"More nations than ever have developed genuine medal-winning capability and are no longer there to make up the numbers and enjoy the opening ceremony.
"More nations are investing large sums of money in elite sport development systems.
"Also, changes to the qualification rules in some sports will ensure that medals are shared out amongst a greater number of nations.
"These three factors will combine to help deliver what IOC president Jacques Rogge describes as a 'real universality' of the Olympic Games and prevents certain nations from becoming too dominant."
Professor Shibli added that most of the 204 nations taking part in London 2012 will go home empty handed, notably the vast majority of the 80 or so nations never to have won an Olympic medal.
In 2008, 151 nations did not win a gold medal and 118 did not win a medal of any colour.
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