Team USA got off to a flying start at the 2016 Olympics Games, winning nine gold medals to top the table by the end of day four. However, China is only one gold behind and will press the US athletes in the coming days.
Team GB still has some ground to make up, being currently in 11th place. It’s still relatively early days though, between now and the end of the games, a lot could change in the medal table.
With Olympic betting, markets tend to close straight after events begin. As a result, some major sportsbooks have already suspended betting on which country will win the most gold medals. Fortunately, Paddy Power is still taking bets on who will win the medal table.
At London 2012, Team GB delighted its fans by winning 29 gold medals and finishing third overall. In 2016, the team is currently playing catch-up after claiming only one gold in the first four days of the games.
James Guy perhaps suffered the greatest disappointment in Team GB when he finished fourth in the 200m freestyle, an event he won at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships. For Team GB, many of the brightest stars are still to compete, but they will have the added pressure of sparking any comeback.
If they can manage it, then Saturday 13 August could be a turning point, with Mo Farah set to defend his 5,000m crown. A day later, Jessica Ennis-Hill could add to the momentum if she retains her heptathlon title, but Ennis-Hill is said to doubt her chances of gold this time around.
Team GB has certainly grown more accustomed to Olympic success, having climbed from tenth at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 to fourth at Beijing 2008 and third at London 2012. Despite Team GB’s recent rise, Paddy Power views the nation as a 100/1 longshot to upset Team USA.
After winning the most gold medals at Atlanta 1996, Team USA also led the table at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 before China ended the streak at Beijing 2008. Having won again at London 2012, Team USA is aiming for a second consecutive games at the top of the medal table.
The Americans secured an early lead by winning nine gold medals by the close of day four, with China one behind. Overall, the US held a larger lead of 26 total medals to China’s 17, with both nations competing at the head of the table for the third successive Olympics.
Thanks to their strong start, Paddy Power has priced Team USA as a 1/25 favourite to clinch the most gold medals. Swimming provided an early show of strength for the US, with Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky contributing five gold medals to a total haul of seven in the discipline at the close of day four.
Having dethroned Team USA in 2008, China proved that the world’s current most dominant Olympians could be beaten. Consequently, Paddy Power has priced China as a 9/1 second favourite, with both Team GB and Germany next on 100/1.
China’s first gold came on day two, when Zhang Mengxue claimed her first Olympic gold in the 10m air pistol, an accolade fellow teammate Guo Wenjun won in 2008 and 2012. Further successes then came in the pool, courtesy of 200m freestyle gold-medallist Sun Yang and women’s 10m synchronised divers Chen Ruolin and Liu Huixia.
If China is to seriously contend with the US, then top swimmers Sun Yang and Ning Zetao must clinch further gold medals by the end of Saturday 13 August. Men’s badminton star Lin Dan is another top prospect and is targeting his third Olympic gold to complement his Super Grand Slam of all major titles in the sport.
Germany was in 12th place, just behind Team GB, after four days of the games. In 2012, the Germans clinched 11 gold medals to finish sixth overall, but must improve on a single gold if the nation is to make the top five in Rio. Equestrian athlete Michael Jung delivered the first gold by winning the men’s individual eventing on Tuesday 9 August.
For Australia, the target is to improve on the seven gold medals and tenth place finish of London 2012. Australia has already claimed four gold medals at this stage of the games, but 200/1 odds highlight the sheer difficulty of surpassing the US.
Russia is also available at 200/1, but the challenge of finishing top with just 271 athletes is likely to be too great. Beyond Russia, there are several 500/1 prospects, including host nation Brazil, France, Jamaica, Japan, the Netherlands and Spain.
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