Back-to-back gold medals from judo's Abe siblings and gymnast Daiki Hashimoto are likely to help Japan finish fourth on the medal table at this summer's Paris Olympics, sports analytics firm Nielsen's Gracenote predicted Friday.
The company expects Japan to bring home 56 medals, two fewer than its record haul at the Tokyo Games held in the summer of 2021, in its latest Virtual Medal Table forecast exactly six months ahead of the opening of the 2024 Olympics. The predicted total includes a drop in its gold medal tally from 27 to 17.
Gracenote tipped the United States to finish on top of the table with 129 medals, up from 113 in Tokyo, followed by China with 85 and Great Britain with 64, using results data from competitions held since the Tokyo Olympics. Host France is placed fifth with 53.
Japan is likely to continue achieving strong results in judo and wrestling, particularly in women's events, with Gracenote predicting the two sports to account for 20 of the medals.
Among the gold medalists, Uta Abe and older brother Hifumi are favored to repeat as Olympic champions, respectively, in the women's 52-kilogram and men's 66-kg judo competitions.
Hashimoto is in line to collect three gold medals, repeating as individual all-around and horizontal bar champion, while helping the Japanese men's all-around team improve on its silver medal from three years ago.
Japan could be set for a rare gold in the athletics arena, with world champion Haruka Kitaguchi the favorite to win the women's javelin.
Traditional Olympic powerhouse Russia is a notable omission from the company's calculations, though.
Russian and Belarusian athletes will not be allowed to compete under their own flags in response to the war in Ukraine. Gracenote said it was "not possible to assess potential performance accurately" due to their sanctioning from international competitions since the start of the conflict.