Best/worst, Sochi medal projections vs. reality: Feb. 8

Norway had a big day Saturday but not as big a day as projected. Canada and the USA had a couple of surprises, and yet they’re right on pace.

How? Read on …

Projected: 2g, 2s, 1b = 5
Actual: 2g, 1s, 1b = 4

Won expected medals in biathlon men’s sprint (though not the expected medalist) and snowboarding men’s slopestyle. But the projections had a sweep in cross-country women’s skiathlon, and Norway only managed gold and bronze.

Projected: 1g, 1s, 1b = 3
Actual: 1g, 1s, 1b = 3

A little backwards: two actual medals vs. one projected in freestyle women’s moguls, then one of the projected two in snowboarding men’s slopestyle. Evens out.

Projected: 1g, 1s, 0b = 2
Actual: 1g, 1s, 1b = 3

Called two medals in speedskating men’s 5,000. Got a sweep.

Projected: 1g, 0s, 1b = 2
Actual: 1g, 0s, 1b = 2

Swap the gold in the slopestyle for the bronze in the moguls.

Surprise medals: Austria (silver, biathlon), Sweden (silver, cross-country), Czech Republic (bronze, biathlon)

Missed out: France (silver, biathlon), Slovenia (bronze, biathlon), South Korea (bronze, speedskating)

Biggest surprise: Sage Kotsenburg (USA), gold, slopestyle. Barely knew who he was.

Biggest disappointment: Martin Fourcade (France) has been dominant in biathlon. But the sprint can be a fickle event.

Worst pick: Jakov Fak (Slovenia), biathlon. Shouldn’t have stuck with him while he slumped this season. Shot cleanly and still finished 10th.

The projection vs. actual table:

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2014 medal projections: Weekend update

No major changes to the medal projections this week, but we still have some news that’ll shake up the lists of contenders. Changes are in italic.

Alpine skiing: Good news for the U.S. men’s combined hopes — Ted Ligety won a supercombined, and Bode Miller added a few slalom points (his first World Cup points in slalom since 2011) to a fifth-place downhill run. Ligety is projected for silver; add Miller to consideration.

France’s Alexis Pinturault won the men’s slalom and was second to Ligety in supercombined, also boosting his status as combined favorite. Switzerland’s Patrick Keung won the downhill — the 30-year-old is having a career year in the speed events and might need to be considered in both.

The weekend women’s races were wiped out, but Mikaela Shiffrin handily won a slalom last week.

The U.S. team will be announced Jan. 26, but the only people on the bubble aren’t likely to be medal threats.

Biathlon: The USA’s Susan Dunklee finished fourth in a World Cup sprint, just 0.6 seconds off the podium. Unreal. Not too many conclusions to draw from other results, though it’s time to add Sweden’s men to the relay contenders.

Bobsled: Yes, Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams made the Olympic team. More importantly, all three U.S. sleds are running well, with Williams teaming with Jamie Greubel to win a World Cup race. Also, Steve Holcomb broke his European slump with a two-man win.

Figure skating: The European championships saw a few contenders in action. The women’s competition was the most interesting — Russia’s Yulia Lipnitskaya, all of 15 years old, tool gold ahead of teammate Adelina Sotnikova and Italy’s Carolina Kostner. Russia swept the pairs; German contenders Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy withdrew with illness.

In ice dancing, add new European champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte (Italy) to the contenders.

Spain’s Javier Fernandez predictably won the men’s event ahead of Russia’s Sergei Voronov and Konstantin Menshov, both of whom will apparently sit out in Sochi while ageless contender Evgeni Plushenko will indeed get that berth.

Freestyle skiing: The U.S. team announcement is out and injured halfpipe contender Torin Yater-Wallace made the cut. Slopestyle champion Tom Wallisch did not. That actually won’t affect the projected medal count — just move Nick Goepper up to gold and Gus Kenworthy up to silver. The USA is ridiculously deep in this event.

Two-event contender Devin Logan has clinched a spot in women’s slopestyle but is not going in halfpipe.

Moguls contenders Patrick Deneen and Bradley Wilson have clinched their spots.

John Teller made a case to be considered in skicross with a World Cup win, while favorite Alex Fiva (Switzerland) is faltering.

Ski jumping: Sarah Hendrickson is back on the ramp. That team will be named Wednesday. Meanwhile, Japan’s Sara Takanashi has won eight of the last nine World Cups.

Nordic combined: Still not sold on the USA in Nordic combined, but Bryan Fletcher had a promising fifth-place finish.

Cross-country skiing: Still sold on Kikkan Randall, who won another freestyle sprint.

Short-track speedskating: Chinese favorite Wang Meng collided with a teammate in training and broke her ankle. She’ll bump out of the gold-medal spot in the 500, bumping up Fan Kexin (CHN), Seung-Hi Park (KOR), Arianna Fontana (ITA).

We’ve all seen what happened at the European Championships, right? That won’t change the medal projections.

Speedskating: No big surprises at the World Sprint Championships men’s competition. Dutch two-event contender Michael Mulder won the overall ahead of the USA’s Shani Davis, who isn’t great at 500 but traded wins in the two 1,000-meter races with Kazakhstan’s Denis Kuzin.

China’s Jing Yu won the women’s overall and will bump into contention in 500. The USA’s Heather Richardson took overall bronze and won one of the 1,000s.

Based on the Euro Championships, bump Yvonne Nauta (NED) ahead of Claudia Pechstein (GER) in the women’s 5,000.

Snowboarding: Two-time medalist (gold, silver) Hannah Teter got that last U.S. halfpipe berth ahead of Gretchen Bleiler and Elena Hight. The others: Kelly Clark, Arielle Gold and Kaitlyn Farrington. They’re all contenders.

The men’s halfpipe squad also has four legit contenders: Shaun White, Taylor Gold, Greg Bretz and Danny Davis.

Starting to worry about parallel events contender Roland Fischnaller (Italy).


The only medal projection changes are in speedskating (women’s 5,000) and short-track speedskating (women’s 500). The next changes: +1 bronze to Italy, +1 bronze to Netherlands, -1 bronze to Germany, -1 silver to China. (Also, South Korea bumps one bronze up to silver.)

Germany is officially down to fifth in the medal count, which still seems strange and will require a bit more investigation. Farther down the table, Italy and China swap places.