MEDAL HOPES: Olympic chef de mission Kitty Chiller.
MEDAL HOPES: Olympic chef de mission Kitty Chiller. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Record gold tally within reach

THE stage is set. The hopes are high. The forecast is for an Australian gold rush in Rio.

Our Olympic chef de mission Kitty Chiller says a target of 16 gold medals - double that from London 2012 - is realistic.

"For any country to double the number of gold in one (four-year period) is a huge ask,” she said.

"I genuinely believe we can do it.”

Sports data research organisation Gracenote recently tipped 18 gold for Australia, though Goldman Sachs' economic research unit crunched the numbers and came up with seven.

They may have hit the "subtract” button somewhere along the way instead of the "plus” key.

We're going to raise the bar a little higher and say at least 20 is within reach, which would better the mark of 17 won in Athens 2004, and 16 on home soil in Sydney 2000.

Any record run has to start by returning to our glory days and dominating in the pool, after the shambles of London 2012, when we failed to make a splash and took home just one gold.

The Dolphins could win as many as 11 this time, and maybe even top arch-rivals the United States for the first time.

"Yes, we're going to rely on swimming, we always do,” Chiller said.

"We know from history that the number of medals swimming wins in the first week is normally around a third of what we can expect to win overall.

"Do we like the fact that we are always relying on swimming?

"Not necessarily, and that's why there's a big push that we do need to get those one or two other medals from other sports across the board.”

And certainly Australia is well placed in other water events, such as sailing, canoeing and rowing.

But then there's cycling - be it on the velodrome track or those of the dirt variety - our hockey teams, both the men and women, and a certain unassuming walker.


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