Call them the Parity Games. We’re nearly at the halfway point, and instead of wondering if anyone would approach the USA’s record of 37 medals, we’re wondering if anyone would break 30. So many new events, so many different countries winning.
(OK, fine — you can also say it’s because the Netherlands are winning all the speedskating medals projected to go to the USA, and Sweden is winning a lot of the Nordic medals projected to go to Norway.)
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, I would die of shock. But the medal count would be Norway 29, Canada 29, Russia 29, USA 28, Austria 22, Netherlands 22, Germany 19, Switzerland 16, Sweden 16, France 11, South Korea 10
Norway (-3 today, -10 overall): We can officially worry now. No medals in biathlon or cross-country today, and Aksel Lund Svindal is having rotten luck in Alpine. And they have to deal with ads on their once ad-free TV coverage.
USA (-1 today, -7 overall): Ted Ligety was well back in the combined, though Bode Miller gave it a good run.
RIGHT ON TARGET
Kazakhstan and Russia didn’t get their medals in cross-country skiing but made up for it figure skating and skeleton.
Switzerland (+3 today, +5 overall): Dario Cologna is dominant in cross-country, and the Swiss picked up medals in Alpine skiing and biathlon.
Belarus (+2 today, +2 overall): Had one projected medal in biathlon. They got two in biathlon and another in aerials.
Sweden (+2 today, +6 overall): Through this point, they were projected for one medal. The cross-country skiers doubled that in one event today.
Best retro look: Someone needs to dress like the bobsledders from 1924, when it appears nearly everything was held outside.
Best retro performance: British figure skating legends Torvill and Dean returned to Sarajevo to re-create an iconic gold medal performance in the rebuilding city.
Best use of a meme for an artificial holiday: Ashley Wagner’s Valentine’s Day card.
Best blending into a crowd by a king: Seriously, which guy is he?
Most ironic drink: Gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg has a drink named after him at Deer Valley. He’s still too young to drink. And Deer Valley doesn’t allow snowboarders.
Toughest expectations: China’s aerialists.
Weirdest streak: Croatian skier Ivica Kostelic
Best perspective on a weird streak: Croatian skier Ivica Kostelic.
Worst lack of respect for a cool music group: Afro Celt Sound System provided the music for Sweden’s Alexander Majorov in the men’s free skate, but they were credited as “Afro Celtic System,” and NBC’s otherwise excellent Tara Lipinski was befuddled by the sound.
Worst media overkill: Look, cross-country coaches help skiers from other countries all the time. Nice that we all recognized Canada’s Justin Wadsworth (a former U.S. skier) for it, but can we quit calling him now? He’s a little busy.
Worst timing for a car accident on the way to the airport: Germany’s eyes turn to Alpine skier Felix Neureuther, who was driving to the airport to go to Sochi on Friday but hit a road barrier. German doctors are checking him for whiplash.
Worst timing for a herniated disk: The Swedish hockey men lost their captain, Henrik Zetterberg.
Is anyone here NOT hurt?:
Best … um … worst … um … hmmm …: