Every four years, economists at Goldman Sachs take a short break from their usual chores to take a stab at estimating the Olympic medal tallies. With the spectacle in Rio days away, the economists have a prediction: Countries boasting healthy economic fundamentals will outperform.
"In general, gold does go to where the growth environment is best," the investment bank summed up in a new report, referring to the economic, political and institutional factors that affect a nation's productivity performance.
According to its model, the world's two-largest economies are set to clinch the largest medal hauls at Rio de Janeiro.
The U.S. could walk away with 106 medals in total, including 45 gold ones, GS said, not far off from the country's 2012 performance of 104 overall medals. Should Goldman's forecasts materialize, it would mark the second consecutive Olympics that the U.S. finishes at the top of both the gold and overall medal standings.
GS estimates that China will finish second in the medals tally, with 89 total medals, out of which 36 are expected to be gold. In 2012, China also ranked second to the U.S. in terms of the highest gold and overall medal count.