Germany’s Olympic prospects look good, according to the Institute of Applied Training Science (IAT) at the University of Leipzig. The institute’s scientific prognosis says Germany’s 392 athletes will take home precisely 54 medals. Or, to be even more precise, 15 golds, 19 silvers and 20 bronzes.
This will be enough for fifth place in the Olympic medals table, behind China, the USA, Russia, and the UK, the IAT prognosis says. The institute’s calculations are based on statistical analysis of the last world championships in each of the 26 Olympic disciplines.
Spookily enough, the US-based Tuck School of Business, one of the world’s leading management schools, came up with exactly the same result – Germany to get 15 golds and fifth place – using a formula based on variables like population density, home advantage, average per capita incomes, and previous Olympic winners.
But even though the researchers claimed a 95-percent success rate for the Beijing Olympics four years ago, when Germany won 16 gold medals, Bernhard Schwank, sports director on Germany’s Olympic federation (DOSB), was more cautiously optimistic.
“I’m no prophet,” he told Die Welt newspaper. “But I can say that the quality of our team is very high. Our track and field athletes, for example, have 77 representatives. It was only 63 in Beijing.”
Germany’s biggest medal hopes include Robert Harting, the reigning world and European discus champion and Thomas Lurz, who has ten open water swimming world championships to his name and is the favourite for the 10-kilometre marathon swim.
But Germany has favourites in other discipline too, including equestrian Michael Jung, an eventing European champion, while Germany’s eight man rowing team, led by cox Kristof Wilke, is on a three-year unbeaten streak. They will be looking to overturn the disappointment of Beijing, where they lost in a qualifying race.
Other German athletes to look out for are world number one pole-vaulter Silke Spiegelburg, who has just topped the German record, kayaker Max Hoff, favourite in the 1,000-metre singles, and David Storl, who became the youngest ever shot put world champion last year. He turned 22 on Friday.
And of course Germany’s men’s hockey team has that gold medal from Beijing to defend. The Germans are still considered one of the tournament favourites, even though the team has changed considerably since 2008.
Indifference at home
But while these top athletes strain their sinews in London, a new survey suggests most Germans will not be glued to the television to watch the Games – only a third of them are interested.
Young people in particular seem less than enthusiastic about the Games, with just under 25 percent of teenagers between 14 and 17 telling pollsters at the GfK consumer research society that they were interested. People aged between 18 and 24 were even less excited, with only 21.5 percent of them saying they would definitely be watching the events.
Low enthusiasm levels could be due to a lack of high-profile German athletes fighting for medals, suggested GfK’s Ulrich Reinhardt. He also said the lack of significant time difference between Germany and the UK – just one hour – meant that many of the events would be taking place when Germans were at work.
He said he did not expect television viewing audiences to reach the levels experienced for the Games in Beijing, Barcelona or Athens.