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This theory predicts how many Olympic medals every nation will win

The 31st Olympic Games kicks off tonight in Rio with the start of the football tournament - yes, we know it's confusing when the opening ceremony isn't until Friday - and, while individual stories of sporting heroism are a huge part of the event, it's also always interesting to see how well different countries perform.

In the Cold War era, many countries put huge store on their performances at the Olympics; it was a chance to demonstrate to the world how their way of life was superior, and even since that ended, nations are keen to perform well to bolster their international reputation. This time round there's the added intrigue of how the table will be altered by the ban of many Russian athletes in the wake of their doping scandal.

So how well will Team GB, and the rest, get on? Well, a team of economists, led by Dr Julia Bredtmann, of the Leibniz Institute for Economic Research in Essen, have made some predictions.



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