Sports Illustrated has tipped New Zealand's Olympic team to bring home 16 medals from London, but the country's head of high performance sport is playing down such predictions.
Included in the haul predicted by the prestigious American sports magazine are five gold medals.
If SI's highly anticipated pre-Olympic list, which tips wins for Val Adams and a host of Kiwi rowing crews, is right it would represent New Zealand's largest medal haul, topping the 13 won at Seoul in 1988.
The Associated Press has already tipped 14 medals for New Zealand, with four gold.
Both predictions are well ahead of High Performance Sport New Zealand chief executive Alex Baumann's pre-Games estimate of 10 medals, including three gold.
Baumann was unmoved yesterday saying it was nice to know New Zealand was highly rated, but the predictions were not overly helpful for the athletes.
"I guess from my perspective I don't pay too much attention. I think it's fine they put those predictions out there, but there's so many other things involved," he said.
"You want to be realistic, and from our perspective from the tracking we've done 10 or more is achievable. If we get more that'll be great, but it doesn't change our goal."
Sports Illustrated had likely taken account of New Zealand's strong performances at last year's world championships where there were 21 top-three finishes, he said.
Baumann doubted the Kiwi team would be able to avoid such predictions due to the internet and social media, but believed the athletes would take it in their stride.
"It's something they have to deal with. In my circumstances going in with two world records, carrying the flag at the opening ceremony it added considerable pressure. But a lot of athletes go through this pressure. They have to deal with distractions and be ready for anything," he said.
Baumann won two gold medals for Canada in the pool at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles setting world records in the 200m and 400m medley.
Punters appear to share Sport Illustrated's optimism, with the TAB yesterday slashing the odds on a haul of at least five gold medals from $10 to $5.50 after heavy betting.
The magazine's predictions are not gospel, with 12 New Zealand medals forecast in Beijing, including three rowing golds.
As it turned out, Kiwis won nine medals with three gold, but only one in rowing. All is not lost though for those with the glass half full with odds set at $20 on the team gaining no gold medals, something that's happened at four previous Games.
- © Fairfax NZ News