Anyone else beginning to think US Speedskating’s super suits aren’t so super? Apparently.
And speedskating is the event responsible for the biggest changes from the original projections. It accounts for most of the USA’s drop, and it accounts for the Netherlands’ lofty rank in the medal table.
Here’s how things are shaping up …
Original projections: Norway 39, USA 35, Canada 30, Russia 26, Germany 23, Austria 22, South Korea 15, Netherlands 14, France 12, Switzerland 11, Sweden 10
If the rest of the projections were to come true, Norway would have 32, and then we’d have a three-way tie at 29 — Canada, USA, Russia. Interesting. Then Austria and the Netherlands at 22, Germany 20, Sweden 14, Switzerland 13, France 12, South Korea 10.
Someone asked about gold medal projections. The original projections there: USA 15, Norway 14, Canada 10, Germany 8, Russia 6, Netherlands among a big group at 5.
The new pace through Thursday would have a four-way tie at 10 each: USA, Norway, Germany, Canada. Then Netherlands 8, Russia 7, Austria 6.
Norway (-2 today, -7 overall): The story continues — still getting some medals at the Nordic venue, just not quite as many as expected. Marit Bjoergen and Emil Hegle Svendsen are usually good bets, but not today in the soft snow.
US Speedskating: Yes, we’re breaking them out separately. It’s one thing for Heather Richardson to miss the podium in the 500, where’s she good but not great. But when she and Brittany Bowe miss out in the 1,000 a day after Shani Davis did the same, then the team is in an 0-for-4 hole. That’s two-thirds of the USA’s current deficit of six.
The better news: The USA swept freestyle skiing’s men’s slopestyle, only the third such sweep in U.S. Winter Games history.
Germany (+1 today, -3 overall): They don’t always win medals, but when they do, they tend to be gold. Seven of their 10 medals so far are gold. Today, they picked up their expected gold in the luge relay along with their first silver — Erik Lesser in biathlon.
South Korea (even today, -5 overall): Picked up a short-track medal as expected.
Netherlands (+2 today, +8 overall): Projected for four medals through this point. They have 12. Can we have speedskating events like “1,000 meters for skaters from somewhere else”? Maybe after we institute “badminton for people not from China” in the summer.
Sweden (+1 today, +4 today): Though, oddly enough, they have no gold so far.
China (+1 today, +2 overall): Gold in each form of speedskating today.
Latvia (+1 today, +2 overall): Slightly exceeding expectations on the sliding track, with one luge medal each of the last two days.
Best Sarah McLachlan influence: Slopestyle medalist Gus Kenworthy is trying to bring a family of stray dogs back to the USA.
Least surprising way technology is changing the Games: Why wait to bump into someone to find a dating prospect? Slopestyle gold medalist Jamie Anderson says dating app Tinder is quite popular in the mountains. Hey, isn’t your event over?
Best performance by an athlete representing Togo: Mathilde-Amivi Petitjean was 68th in the women’s 10k classical cross-country race.
Best reason not to be too cynical about the Olympics: Mike Wise on the kids who share a bond of childhood illnesses with Shaun White. They got to meet him just as a bunch of folks back home were snarking on him.
Best hockey fan:
Most likely to carry the U.S. flag: Nordic athletes.
Best bounce-back: Lowell Bailey wasn’t happy with his Olympics so far, but posting the best result by an American man in Olympic biathlon will change that.
Biggest wipeout: The women’s 500-meter short-track final …
Strangest way to deal with back pain: “Changing poopy diapers,” says Noelle Pikus-Pace, who’s second after the first day of women’s skeleton. No, that just takes your mind off it.
Worst accident: A forerunner (track-tester, basically) at the bobsled venue ran into a track worker. Initial word: leg fractures, not life-threatening injuries.
Worst wardrobe malfunction: Come on, slopestyle skiers — save the baggy pants for the mall.
Strangest wardrobe: A couple of U.S. cross-country skiers opted for tank tops in the balmy weather, looking for a bit as if they were wearing nothing under their bibs.
Today’s weather in Pyeongchang, host of the 2018 Olympics: Cold
5 thoughts on “Best/worst, Sochi medal projections vs. reality: Feb. 13”
Do countries have lobbyists? The US is lucky all of these X-Game sports snuck in.
And for me personally, gold trumps total medals every time. Just look at the Dutch skater who went from gold to silver after the time change, I think he would agree.
I am based in NL. I thought I would share two insights from Dutch media regarding speedskating:
1. The suits might be a factor. But why Shani Davis specifically is underperforming is because of the Adler Arena. He is known as a good glider, meaning he does not have to work hard to maintain speed. Adler Arena has difficult circumstances however, meaning that you do have to put in effort to maintain speed, negating one of his main strengths. His loss was close (0.73 seconds away from gold), so if he adapts he might still come through on the 1.500 metres. More generally the circumstances in Adler Arena means a lot of data based on skating in other arenas is tainted when used for predictions.
2. This is the first generation of Dutch speedskaters that has grown up with sprinting (500/1000 metres) being taken seriously. Most of the events (4/6) have been sprinting events and they pretty much account for the speedskating prediction discrepancies. Dutch predictions on sprinting taking into account recent international and national sprinting events have been a lot closer to the mark. http://nos.nl/os2014/artikel/609144-erbens-voorspelling-1000-meter.html predicts 5 Dutch and 2 US sprinting medals, sportsmyriad predicts 1 Dutch and 4 US, the reality has been 8 Dutch and 0 US. So yeah, the Dutch are overperforming in sprinting, but from this point on things might pretty much normalise (normal being another 10 medals for the Dutch, including 4 gold).
Not sure if you factored it in, but Canada (and Korea) won’t win all their projected medals because both failed to qualify for the short track relay final. And I’m still fuming.
Jos – Thanks for the insight! I have a couple of people in the Netherlands who contact me through Twitter. They were slightly surprised at the sprint performance. But the team is always strong. No medal they win is too surprising.
Henry – I have not re-adjusted based on that. Sorry about Canada. That’s another strong team. Always liked Charles Hamelin.
Canada did NOT have the best of days. We had about 7 outside chances for medals… none came. Not even the luge relay or Marianne St-Gelais. And Francois Hamelin blew it for the relay team…
We’ve had a decent Olympics so far, some of our contenders have faltered, but I can’t say we are in USA’s position quite yet.