LONDON – Während die Welt in den vergangenen Wochen von der Olympiabegeisterung erfasst wurde, konnte man auch beobachten, wie sich das Gastgeberland Großbritannien in seltener Manier dem öffentlichen Jubeln hingab. Die Erfolge des britischen Teams haben eine Welle patriotischer Gefühle hervorgebracht, die denen ähnlich sind, die nach einem Sieg im Krieg zu spüren sind. Großbritannien wurde im Medaillenspielgel dritter, nach den Vereinigten Staaten und China, viel größeren Ländern, aber vor Russland, das normalerweise mit den USA um den ersten Platz kämpft.

Was also ist der Schlüssel zum olympischen Erfolg? Der Gewinn von Medaillen wurde, gerade weil er so befriedigend ist, zum Objekt wissenschaftlicher Forschung und nationalen Strebens. Vor den Spielen von 2012 verband die Financial Times vier Wirtschaftsmodelle miteinander und gelangte zu der folgenden „Konsensprognose“ über die zu erwartenden Ergebnisse (die erzielten Zahlen sind in Klammern aufgeführt): 1. USA 39 (44), 2. China 37 (38), 3. Großbritannien 24 (28), 4. Russland 12 (21), 5. Südkorea 12 (13) und 6. Deutschland 9 (11). Die Rangfolge selbst wurde sowohl bei den Goldmedaillen als auch im Gesamtspiegel korrekt vorhergesagt.

Die erstaunlichste Erkenntnis ist, dass die Medaillenbilanz anhand von vier Hauptvariablen mit großer Genauigkeit vorhergesagt werden kann: Bevölkerung, Pro-Kopf-Bruttoinlandprodukt, vergangene Leistungen und Gastgeberstatus. Alles andere – unterschiedliche Trainingsinfrastruktur, bessere Ausrüstung und so fort – ist eigentlich nur heiße Luft.

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