The 2012 Chess Olympiad is only 2 weeks away, and I'm starting to wonder who the likely winners will be. Russia of course is strong on paper (despite Morozevich dropping out), but have fallen short as a *team* when it matters most. On the other hand Armenia looks like Lev Aronion and 4 2600's, but as we all know, it is as a team that they excel. As it is Match Points scoring again +1=3 for each match is enough for victory. Ukraine fall in between the two (stronger than Armenia but still operate as a team), and are my tip to win again. As for a dark horse Germany are probably the best of the 'smokies', having won the 2012 European teams championship.
At the other end of the table, I predict that PNG will do better than previous Olympiads, for 3 reasons. (A) GM Dejan Bojkov is captain/trainer this year, which hopefully result in improved opening play. (B) It will be a team of 5 (for the first time in 10 years), meaning that players can rest if tired or out of form. (C) I'm not playing.
(NB Any speculation in this post is not connected with or will influence my role on the Olympiad Technical Administration Panel)