With the Commonwealth Games at an end, British athletes will soon be turning their attention to the London 2012 Olympics, but what are their prospects? This week Figure it Out looks at whether Great Britain’s results in the Commonwealth Games may provide some indication of how many medals we can expect to win in 2012.

Adding together the medals won in Delhi by Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, athletes from the UK accounted for 35% of the total medals awarded – a significant increase over the 23% won in 2006. Can we expect to see a similar increase in Olympic medals won in 2012?

Plotting the results we can see that there appears to be a relationship between the results achieved in the Olympics as compared to the prior Commonwealth Games.

To get a better understanding of the relationship between the two sets of results, we can calculate the correlation coefficient, “r”, which ranges from -1.0 to +1.0. The closer r is to +1 or -1, the more closely the two variables are related.

To translate this to plain English we square the correlation coefficient (r2) which in this case tells us that 34% of the variability in Olympic Games medal numbers can be explained by the results in the most recent Commonwealth Games. Sadly then it looks like our medal winning athletes cannot sit back and relax just yet!

One other factor that we would be wise to consider before drawing any conclusions is the perceived advantage of being the host nation. If we look at Olympic Games results over the past 50 years, we can see a pattern emerging amongst the host nations.

Of the 12 countries to host the games, 7 have won their highest ever percentage of medals in their home country with the average increase in medal won a staggering 90%.

Perhaps then Great Britain can look forward to a very successful Olympic Games indeed!