Look for Norway to top medal standings again at Olympic Winter Games | Olympic Games
STEPHEN WADE AP Sports Writer
The Winter Olympics open in 30 days and Norway are expected to lead the medal table for the second time in a row, even surpassing their record of 39 medals in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
That’s the prediction from US-based Gracenote Sports, which released its medal ranking prediction on Wednesday with the opening of the Beijing Winter Games on February 4.
Nielsen-Gracenote provides statistical analysis to sports leagues around the world. Its Olympic numbers are based on computer models that analyze the most recent results from major competitions – and smaller ones – as Beijing approaches.
Norway are expected to win 22 gold medals and 45 in total. More than half of Norway’s medals are expected to come from cross-country skiing and biathlon.
Second place, if the total number of medals is used for the ranking order, will be the Russian Olympic Committee with 11 gold medals and 32 in total. The team in Beijing, like in Tokyo, will be known as the ROC, or the Russian Olympic Committee.
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The ROC must compete without its flag and national anthem, a fallout from a state-sponsored doping program dating from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Many critics say the punishment is negligible since the athletes are still competing under the national colors.
According to the IOC guidelines, the athletes will not represent their country, but the ROC.
Germany are chosen to finish third with 12 gold medals and 25 in total. After that, the following seven countries are closely grouped. These are the United States (7 gold medals, 22 overall), Canada (6-22), Sweden (7-21), Switzerland (5-21), the Netherlands (6-20), Austria (5-18) and France (2-18).
Japan are expected to produce their most medal count at the Winter Olympics with 17, including four gold medals. Host nation China is expected to win six gold medals and 11 in total.
The Beijing Olympics were surrounded by controversy with the United States and several other countries refusing to send high-ranking political representatives to Beijing. At the heart are allegations of crimes against humanity that primarily target ethnic Muslim minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis at Gracenote, said predictions for Beijing are even more difficult with the pandemic. Athletes have missed competitions due to travel restrictions, especially last season. And, of course, last-minute entry lists can change if athletes test positive for the coronavirus.
âI hope we have the kind of forecast that brings us as close as usual,â Gleave told The Associated Press.
“We are trying to keep the top 10 countries as close as possible and preferably in the right order,” Gleave added. “But there will be changes to that because they are sports. Sport is unpredictable. We can ‘We shouldn’t expect this to be absolutely perfect.”
A big question is what to do with men’s ice hockey. The withdrawal from the NHL late last year has shaken the strength of many teams. Gleave said Gracenote initially picked Canada to win gold, followed by Finland and the United States.
Gleave said the new screening has Finland winning gold, followed by ROC and bronze for Canada.
Gracenote is expected to update the medal prediction around Jan. 19 and release a final prediction just days before the Olympics open, as entry lists firm.
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