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Brazil's Olympics could be less than golden

Tuesday 05 November 2013

Brazil may fail to turn home advantage into gold medals at the 2016 Olympic Games - according to researchers who have devised a nine-point blueprint for nations to achieve success in elite sport.

Sheffield Hallam University's Sport Industry Research Centre is part of an international consortium which has devised a nine-pillar model to identify the factors that drive success in Olympic sport.

The pillars are financial support, the structure and governance of elite sport, grassroots sport participation, talent development, support during and after athletic careers, training facilities, coaching, exposure to international competition and research innovation.

And despite the Brazilian government investing 75 million Euros per year in elite sport, it only performs better than average in one of the nine pillars - the organisation of international events.

The 2016 host nation scores less well in coaching, talent development and sporting facilities, while measures to increase grassroots sport participation in Brazil are at an early stage of development.

Professor Simon Shibli, who will present his findings at the SPLISS Conference on Elite Sport Success next week in Antwerp, Belgium, says Brazil should invest more on coaching and facilities to help them replicate Team GB's home nation success at London 2012.

He said: 'Despite the potential that the country has, it seems that 2016 will be too early for Brazil to perform well and in line with previous host nations. However, the Olympics may give the country a boost towards longer term success in Tokyo 2020.'

Professor Shibli says that Japan, which hosts the Olympic Games in 2020, out-performs Brazil on all nine pillar scores, with an elite sport budget of 208 million Euros per year.

He said: 'Japan has a relative strength in research and innovation, training facilities and international competition. If Japan takes a long-term view towards athletic development, by investing in quality sports participation and talent development, the country can expect to perform well when it hosts the Games.'

According to the nine-pillar model, which looked at elite sports provision in 16 countries but not the UK, Australia, France, Canada and the Netherlands are the best equipped for sporting success.

SPLISS (Sports Policy factors Leading to International Sporting Success) is a 1.2 million Euros research collaboration between 43 researchers and 33 policy partners, with Professor Shibli one of four consortium leaders drawn from the UK, the Netherlands and Australia.

Using a different economic model, Professor Shibli came closer than any other analyst in his gold medal forecast for Team GB medals at London 2012. His formula based on trend analysis, home nation advantage and financial investment produced forecasts showing Team GB would scoop 27 gold medals.Team GB's final gold medal tally was 29, just two away from his prediction, while Professor Shibli's forecast that Team GB would come third in the medal table was also proved correct.

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