Washington, August 11 : A study has calculated that China can expect to take home 14 percent more prizes during this year's Olympics than it did in the last summer games in 2004.
The calculation is based on the finding that a country's population and income can predict how many Olympic medals it will win.
Lui and Wing Suen of the University of Hong Kong collected data from the 1952 to 2004 summer Olympic Games and designed a statistical model to calculate how strongly various factors, such as a country's wealth, population size, life expectancy and average level of education, affect how many medals the country wins at the Olympics.
The researchers found that a nation's size and per capita income strongly correlate with its medal tally, but that the other factors they tested have an insignificant effect.
Lui said that population plays a role because if one assumes that exceptional athletes are randomly distributed throughout the world, then the more people that live in a country, the greater that nation's chances of having some of the best athletes on its team.
According to Lui, wealth affects Olympic performance because the higher a country's per-capita income, the more people in that country can afford sports training, equipment and facility use.
The researchers also found that hosting the Olympic Games gives a country a big statistical boost in medal wins that year.
Since China is hosting the 29th Olympiad this year in Beijing, the scientists predict this effect, combined with China's rising population and per-capita income, will allow the country to rake in 14 percent more medals this summer than it did in 2004.
"Hosting the Olympic games has a very strong effect," said Lui. "The climate and weather helps. All your athletes will be accustomed to the climate already," he added.
Once they calculated the statistical strength of various factors on Olympic medal wins, the researchers examined how well certain countries performed after controlling for the effects of population and income.
They found that some countries, such as Germany, China, Hungary, Romania, and even the US, do better than could be expected based purely on their statistics.