China Set to Beat U.S. In Olympics Medal Table As Team USA Unlikely to Catch Up

China are favorites to top the medal table at the Tokyo Olympics ahead of Team USA as the Games enter their final three days, but the Americans are expected to run them close.

The current medal table at the 2020 Olympics on the morning of Friday, August 6 is led by China with 34 gold medals, while Team USA are comfortable in second place with 30 victories.

Host nation Japan are leading the pack for third with 22 gold medals so far, while Australia are in fourth with 17 and the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and Great Britain are on 16 each.

Although China has the most gold medals so far in the Games, Team USA has had more athletes who have finished in medal positions, as their total stands at 92 compared to the 74 of the current leaders.

The race for third is likely to be tight between Japan, Australia, the ROC and Team GB, with the Russian team and Great Britain on comfortably more medal finishes than the third and fourth placed nations. Japan has 47 medal finishes, Australia has 42, the ROC has 59 and Team GB has 52.

Gracenote Olympic, the Olympics division of the statistics and data company owned by Nielsen, tweeted on Thursday evening that China are the current favorites to top the medal table by the end of the Games on Sunday, but made it clear that Team USA are still in with a chance.

Although Gracenote's virtual medal table on Thursday had Team USA and China both on 37 gold medals, the company explained that "on balance, China has to be regarded as the favourite to top the final medal table."

Gracenote explained that China are the favorites because "the US will do VERY well to add 8 gold medals to their total whereas 3 for China is very realistic."

Gracenote's medal predictions before the Games began had Team USA as the winners with 40 gold, with China on 33. The latter has already surpassed that prediction.

In a statement to Newsweek, Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis at Gracenote, further explained the reasoning behind predicting China will top the medals table.

👩‍🏫On balance, 🇨🇳China has to be regarded as the favourite to top the final medal table but it is close, perhaps 60/40 in China's favour.

🇦🇺 v 🇬🇧 v ROC for 4th place on golds
Although Australia are 4th, they have few 🥇gold opportunities left & are most likely to finish 6th


— Gracenote Olympic (@GracenoteGold) August 5, 2021

"With three days of competition remaining, China are favourites to top the medal table at Tokyo 2020 but it is still close. The US have more gold medal chances remaining but look unlikely to bridge the five gold medal gap between them and the Chinese team," Gleave said.

"China has two highly likely gold medals in diving and table tennis to come with other opportunities in athletics, boxing and karate. The best chances of gold for the US are in athletics (two longer relay events), both basketball events, women's beach volleyball, women's volleyball and women's waterpolo.

China to beat U.S. in Olympics table
Wang Manyu (L) of Team China, her coach (2-L), and teammates Chen Meng (2-R), and Sun Yingsha hold up their national flag after winning their Women's Team Gold Medal table tennis match on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Getty Images

"Women's golf and potentially two boxing finals also provide gold medal winning opportunities. For the USA to win the gold medal race though, almost all of these events would have to be won whereas two more golds might already be enough for China."

Team USA is expected to win the baseball, women's basketball and the men's 4x400 relay in the coming days, but could fall short in the men's basketball after starting the competition in poor form. Further wins could come in the men's 400-meters, women's 4x100-meter relay and the women's water polo.

However, China are the heavy favorites to win the final 10-meter diving events for both the men's and women's competitions, which should take their gold medal total to at least 36 by the end of Sunday's games.

If Team USA falls short of winning the most gold medals but still attain the highest number of medal-placed finishes overall, then it will be the seventh successive Summer Games where the American team would have finished at the top of the total count.

China and Team USA
The U.S. and Chinese flags are seen during the medal ceremony for silver medalist China's Sheng Lihao, gold medalist USA's William Shaner and bronze medalist China's Yang Haoran for the men's 10m air rifle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Asaka Shooting Range in the Nerima district of Tokyo on July 25, 2021. Tauseef Mustafa/AFP via Getty Images