So many ups and downs today. Athletes who seemed to have the prize in hand and saw it slip away. Countries that saw success in one venue and disappointment in another. A wonderful figure skating contest undone by questionable judging.
That’s the Olympics in a nutshell, isn’t it?
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, Japan 7, Italy 7
If the rest of the projections were to come true, we’d end up with: Russia 32, USA 28, Norway 27, Canada 25, Netherlands 24, Germany 19, France 17, Sweden 15, Austria 15, Switzerland 13, Italy 10, Japan 9, South Korea 9.
But if you look at the current medal count, you don’t see Russia on top. It’s USA 25, Russia 23, Netherlands 22, Norway 21, Canada 20.
So is Russia really going to win nine medals over the last three days of the Olympics while the USA gets only three?
We know one medal Russia won’t be getting — men’s hockey. The rest are entirely possible: Biathlon men’s relay, biathlon women’s relay, short-track men’s 500 meters, short-track men’s relay, snowboarding women’s parallel slalom, four-man bobsled, and two in the cross-country men’s 50k.
The USA’s only remaining projections: Alpine women’s slalom, four-man bobsled, speedskating men’s team pursuit. At this point, you can just about add men’s hockey. But you might want to forget speedskating.
And there aren’t many remaining events in which the USA could surprise. Americans aren’t even entered in women’s skicross or women’s parallel slalom. The long-distance cross-country races are the USA’s weakest.
For the USA to reach 30 medals, someone will have to surprise in short-track. Or maybe men’s slalom.
But it’s funny that in the largest Winter Olympics by far, no one will come close to the record of 37 medals the USA set in 2010. We might not even see anyone beat Germany’s total of 29 in 2006.
Enjoy the Parity Games.
France (+3 today, +5 overall): The only projected medal today was in the Nordic combined team event, where they never quite managed a challenge to the podium. They got four medals elsewhere, all in freestyle skiing. That’s a silver in women’s halfpipe and a sweep in men’s skicross.
UP AND DOWN
Canada (-2 today, -5 overall): No medals in freestyle skiing? They’ll just have to settle for gold medals in their national sports of curling and hockey.
Biggest online audience
Biggest U.S. heartbreak
Best camaraderie: Call it the Sarah Burke influence or just action sports mutual respect, but the women’s halfpipe skiers could hardly finish a run without hugging each other. Great stuff.
Sharpest figure skating commentary
Worst timing for 1980 “Miracle” star
Alpine skiing, women’s slalom: Mikaela Shiffrin (USA), Marlies Schild (Austria), Frida Hansdotter (Sweden). Also considered: Tina Maze (Slovenia), Tanja Poutiainen (Finland), Kathrin Zettel (Austria)
Shiffrin was a solid fifth in the giant slalom.
Biathlon, women’s relay: Norway, Germany, Russia. Also considered: France, Italy, Ukraine
Curling, men’s bronze and gold medal games: Canada, Sweden, Britain
Canada and Britain are playing for gold. Sweden faces China for bronze.
Freestyle skiing, women’s skicross: Fanny Smith (Switzerland), Ophelie David (France), Marielle Thompson (Canada). Also considered: Katrin Mueller (Switzerland), Kelsey Serwa (Canada)
As unpredictable as this sport is, I’d be happy with one of these five medaling.
Short-track speedskating, men’s 500: Viktor Ahn (Russia), Charles Hamelin (Canada), Wu Dajing (China). Also considered: Liang Wenhao (China), Seyeong Park (South Korea), Freek van der Wart (Netherlands)
Hamelin didn’t make it out of the heats.
Short-track speedskating, women’s 1,000: Suk Hee Shim (South Korea), A-Lang Kim (South Korea), Arianna Fontana (Italy). Also considered: Seung-Hi Park (South Korea), Jorien ter Mors (Netherlands)
Short-track speedskating, men’s relay: Canada, Russia, South Korea. Also considered: Netherlands, USA
Canada and South Korea didn’t reach the final.