Best/worst, Sochi medal projections vs. reality: Feb. 9

Norway is now projected NOT to break the USA’s record of 37 medals set in 2010.

Wait, you say, doesn’t Norway lead the medal count? Yes. But Norway is already three medals behind the projected pace. The projections called for 39 medals. So if Norway wins every remaining projection (and no others), that’ll be 36. The USA still in line for 35 medals.

The obvious disclaimer: It’s still early.

A few ups and downs from Sunday, good news last:


Germany (-3): Only one men’s luge medal? At least it was gold. Germany also missed out in speedskating and ski jumping.

Norway (-2): If you prefer looking at gold medals rather than the total, Norway’s day was awful. Three projected golds (women’s biathlon, men’s ski jumping, men’s downhill) turned to two bronze. Norway also got one instead of a projected two in cross-country, and Russia’s still protesting that one.


USA: Projected gold in slopestyle (Jamie Anderson) and bronze in team figure skating. Won gold in slopestyle (Jamie Anderson) and bronze in team figure skating.

Switzerland: Injured much of the season, and yet Dario Cologna rewarded the projections’ faith in cross-country.


Eighteen countries won medals Sunday, including Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Slovenia, Finland, Britain and Ukraine.


Russia (+3): Projected for silver in team figure skating. That became a runaway gold. They also got a good run to silver from luge veteran Albert Demchenko, a surprising biathlon silver from Olga Vilukhina, and a completely unexpected bronze from speedskater Olga Graf,


Biggest surprise: Either Matthias Mayer (Austria) in the downhill or Graf (Russia) in speedskating.

Biggest disappointment: It wasn’t just that occasionally dominant cross-country skier Petter Northug (Norway) missed the medals. It was the way he blew up and fell back when his tactic of slowing the field didn’t work.

Best commentary: Sally Jenkins on “the most troubled, complicated Olympics of our time,” in which the media hotel problems barely scratch the surface behind the Potemkin village. Sure, Beijing had a wide gap between its Olympic glitz and the impoverished countryside, but this seems much, much worse.

Best parent: Tucker West’s dad isn’t letting the backyard luge slider-turned-Olympian leave his moment in the spotlight without reminding the ladies that his fine young son is single.

Funniest moment: “Oh, you need to get back to the start gate? Here, let me help … whoa!

Least sportsmanlike moment: “Hey, USA’s Noah Hoffman, you fell? Here, let me bonk you in the face.”

Highlight to see when NBC makes it available after prime time: Jamie Anderson had a bit of pressure on her. She was the runaway favorite in women’s slopestyle — maybe an unfair status given the sport’s unpredictability. Her first run was a little off. Her second was sublime.

More on Storify.


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Beau Dure

The guy who wrote a bunch of soccer books and now runs a Gen X-themed podcast while substitute teaching and continuing to write freelance stuff.

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