After setting national records for most gold and total medals won as host of the previous Olympics in Tokyo, Japan may suffer a considerable games hangover next year in Paris if a prediction released Wednesday proves accurate.
Nielsen's Gracenote, a sports analytics company based in the Netherlands, believes Japan is set to take a big step back from its gold medal-winning pace set at the postponed games in 2021.
With 12 months until the Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Paris Games, the company has released its prediction for the overall medal table, slotting Japan into fifth place, two spots lower than it finished three years ago.
The major drag on Japan's predicted performance is the number of gold medals it is likely to win, Gracenote says, with its forecast of 12 far fewer than the 27 claimed by the host in the Japanese capital.
"Home advantage can be very powerful," Simon Gleave, Gracenote's head of analysis, said. "This is what is currently coming through in the results data for Japanese competitors at this stage."
"It may have changed in a year's time, of course, particularly as there are so many silver and bronze medals forecast, but this is what we are now seeing."
While Japan may come up short in appearances on the podium's top step, it is predicted to win 21 silver and 21 bronze to give it a total of 54 medals, the second-most it has ever won at an Olympics.
Japanese wrestlers have ruled the Olympic and world championships mats in recent years. Over the past five Olympics, Japan has won at least two wrestling gold medals at each edition, topping out at five in Tokyo.
At the most recent world championships, Japan was again a dominant force, winning seven titles and 13 medals in total.
Despite this, Gracenote has forecast Yui Susaki to win Japan's only wrestling gold in Paris next year.
"We may well be underestimating the Japanese female wrestlers, particularly Akari Fujinami, as they haven't competed much in major events since the Tokyo Olympics," Gleave said.
"Hopefully, they will take part in more events in the next year in order to sharpen the forecast up."
Gracenote's analysts forecast that Toshikazu Yamanishi will defend his 20-kilometer race walk gold, Daiki Hashimoto his men's all-around gymnastics title, and siblings Uta and Hifume Abe their respective women's 52kg and men's 66kg judo crowns, while also contributing to a mixed team event gold. Susaki will win her second 50 kg wrestling gold, the company believes.
Rim Nakamura could win Japan's first BMX cycling gold in the freestyle discipline, Gracenote says, a feat that would also make him the country's first Olympic gold medalist in any cycling discipline.
Ami Yuasa is likely to win a women's break dancing gold in the event's Olympic debut, ahead of Ayumi Fukushima, who Gracenote forecasts to win bronze. It also says Shigeyuki Nakarai can win bronze in the men's dance event.
"Japanese world champion Ami Yuasa looks like the one to beat with China's Liu Qingyi, who has beaten her twice this year, her main challenger," Gleave said.
"Ayumi Fukushima's form has been a bit erratic in 2023 and she needs to return to her 2021/2022 form."
"In the men's event, Canadian Philip Kim is a strong-looking favorite with Shigeyuki Nakarai and American Victor Montalvo also looking ahead of the rest."