With the United States (39 gold, 106 medals) well out in front, and Germany (16, 39) and Russia (13, 48) well back, the question over the next 24 hours or so becomes which country will come second – Great Britain & NI (26, 63) or China (23, 67)?
The likelihood is that it will be GB on golds and China on overall medals – but perfection on one side and disaster on the other could yet change that. It will almost all be decided by 3am (UK time).
Gracenote Sports tried to project it but already a number of predictions have not gone to plan.
The certain medalists for either team are:
2300 (Sat) CN gold or silver – women’s team (volleyball)
1900 (Sun) GB gold or silver – Joe Joyce (boxing)
Thus, the worst GB can finish is with 64 medals, and China 68.
The likely medalists in addition are (all on Sat eve/Sun morning UK time):
2200 CN – Chen Aisen (diving)
2200 CN – Qiu Bo (diving)
0200 GB – Mo Farah (athletics)
0215 GB – women’s relay team (athletics)
Of these, you would say the first three are almost guaranteed. Notably, however, China‘s cannot both be gold as they are in the same competition; but conversely GB‘s are less likely to be golds and silvers anyway.
Of course, there can always be surprises elsewhere – to move ahead on medals, GB will probably need one; to move ahead on golds, China will definitely need one!
Ultimately, we could see it all decided by taekwondo. On the men’s side, there is only one possible (not necessarily likely) medal for either in the last event as of the quarter-final stage:
2030 GB – Mahama Cho [quarter-final match]
Indeed, there could be a mouthwatering (and conceivably even decisive in terms of second place in the official medals table) final in the women’s last event:
0215 – Shuyin Zheng (China) v Bianca Walkden (GB)
The bet is both teams will have their fair share of wins and losses, leaving GB ahead on golds and China on medals. It will then be pointed out that the IOC officially places teams by golds…