Economists' Olympic predictions: No investment boost to the Brazilian economy and Team GB to come third

Oliver Gill
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One Month Out, Rio Continues Preparations For The 2016 Olympics
While there have been reports of building running behind schedule the Rio Olympics is expected start on time this Friday (Source: Getty)

Most people would think that hosting two of the largest sporting events in the world taking place just two years apart would provide a huge boost to the economy.

But a report released by Goldman Sachs today indicates that investment spending in Brazil - which hosted the 2014 Fifa football World Cup and is preparing this summer to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games - has been decreasing for two and a half years.

“Overall, the World Cup and Olympics related investment was just too small to generate a significant economic dividend/impulse given the sheer size of the economy,” the report said.

Around $10bn (£7.6bn) has been spent through public and private infrastructure programmes preparing Rio for the games - London 2012 cost just under £9bn. However this pales into insignificance given the Brazilian economy is worth $1.8trillion.

“Total investment spending has actually been contracting uninterruptedly for two and a half years. Gross Fixed Investment has now declined for ten consecutive quarters. Overall, gross fixed investment retrenched by a cumulative 27.0 per cent between the fourth quarter of 2013 and first quarter of 2016, and is now at the same level as the second quarter of 2009,” report author Alberto Ramos wrote.

Read more: Why business should embrace this summer of sport

Olympics - Previews - Day - 5
Volleyball infrastructure has been built on Copacabana beach (Source: Getty)

The report also makes medal predictions for the upcoming games (“even economists like to have a little summer fun at least every four years”).

The good news for Britain is that we are expected to retain our third place in the medal table, behind China and the US. However, Team GB’s medal haul is predicted to fall by 10 per cent compared to 2012 with the host nation to increase its tally by 30 per cent and win 50 per cent more gold medals.

Russia is still predicted to come fourth in the table despite its reduced presence at the games in the wake of the ongoing state-sponsored doping scandals.

“Since Russia typically is among the top five medal winners, this can have significant knock-on effect on the rest of the predictions in a way that the non-participation of a smaller country would not,” the report said.

Read more: Olympic bosses convene panel to have final say on Russia

The Goldman Sachs economists have taken a guess at the events Russia will participate in and then re-allocated medals in events it is expected Russia won't be involved in - for example athletics - in line with 2012 medal achievements.

Top ten: the predicted medal table

Country Forecast gold medals Change from 2012
United States 45 -1
China 36 -2
United Kingdom 23 -6
Russia 14 -10
South Korea 13 0
Germany 12 1
France 11 0
Italy 8 0
Hungary 8 0
Japan 7 0

Apparently, Russia is also the most ‘sporty’ nation - “Just like people, some countries are more ‘sporty’ than others” the report said. Britain came sixth, one place behind France.

These standings were calculated by taking Olympic medal performance since 1980 and measuring it against a combination of population size, wealth and how “efficiently run” the countries are.

Greece was bottom of the pile which proves that just because you invented something doesn’t mean you’ll be the best at it - something that may give die-hard England football fans a modicum of satisfaction.

Young players practise in a training les
No other nation dominates any other event that China does in table tennis (Source: Getty)

Perhaps not too surprising is that the report predicts that Team GB will dominate in rowing, sailing and cycling and is the second best country when it comes to triathlon, equestrianism and boxing. Meanwhile China dominates at table tennis - it has historically scooped 69 per cent of all the medals on offer.

However, it's best not to take these forecasts too seriously - after all, Goldman came close but didn't quite call it correctly in its predictions for the Euro 2016 tournament earlier this summer.

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