Where the Olympic medals came from and went

The biggest differences between the Sochi medal projections and the Sochi medal count were:

  • USA – Speedskating: Projected 7, got 0. In the other direction, there’s sliding sports: Projected 3, got 7.
  • Norway – Cross-country skiing: Projected 18, got 11. Also biathlon: Projected 12, got 6.
  • Netherlands – Speedskating: Projected 14, got 23. The only other projected or actual medal: They picked one up in short-track.
  • Germany – Sliding sports: Projected 11, got 5.
  • Sweden – Cross-country skiing: Projected 5, got 11.
  • South Korea – Short-track: Projected 9, got 5. And speedskating: Projected 5, got 2.
  • France – Action sports: Projected 2, got 7.

Here’s the complete breakdown:

[gview file=”https://duresport.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2014-medal-projections-difference-1.pdf”%5D

The numbers represent how many medals each country gained or lost vs. the predictions. I highlighted some sports for each country to show how many medals had been projected, but I didn’t bother with every country that was projected for 1 or 2 medals in a given sport.

Two areas were eerily accurate: Canada’s freestyle skiers and Austria’s Alpine skiers each picked up nine medals, just as projected.

So what can we say about the medal count leaders?

Russia (projected 26, actual 33): Short-track skater Victor Ahn was expected to do well and did a bit better — Russia picked up two extra medals there. Snowboarder Vic Wild added two by himself, and the snowboarders got four instead of the projected one. The rest of the gains and losses were scattered. The hosts also doubled their projected count of gold medals from six to 13.

USA (35, 28): It’s pretty simple — the USA missed its projected medal count by seven, and they all came from speedskating, where the USA picked up zero of a projected seven. That’s tied for the biggest flop of the Games with Norway’s cross-country team, but Norway’s skiers at least picked up half of their projected medals. The X Gamers actually came up one shy of a large projection, but the sliding sports and Alpine skiers balanced out losses elsewhere.

Norway (39, 26): They picked up tons of medals in biathlon and cross-country. They were just expected to pick up more. We expected Netherlands-style domination and didn’t quite get it.

Canada (30, 25): Some bad luck in short-track and some underperforming in action sports accounted for the drop. They matched their projection of 10 gold medals thanks to the team sports, where they turned all four projected medals into gold. Only one of those was projected.

Netherlands (14, 24): They go around in circles very quickly. All of their 14 projected medals were in speedskating, and they beat that by nine. The other was in speedskating’s cousin, short-track. They came close to another couple of medals in short-track and one in women’s bobsled.

Germany (23,19): Like Norway’s cross-country team, they didn’t quite dominate the sliding track as expected.

Austria (22, 17): The Alpine skiers were fine; the snowboarders didn’t hold up their end.

France (12, 15): We can sum it up in one event — they swept men’s skicross. That was three of the additional five they picked up in action sports.

Sweden (10, 15): Took a few cross-country medals we expected to go to Norway.

Switzerland (11, 11): They must love Spinal Tap. Flopped in action sports but picked up the odd medal here and there, including women’s hockey bronze.

China (6, 9): All three in short-track.

South Korea (15, 8): The Netherlands’ gains on the speedskating oval and China’s gains in short-track came at their expense. Yuna Kim was the only other athlete to make an impact.

Published by

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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