Record breaking medal total predicted for Norway at the Beijing Winter Olympics

Nielsen’s Gracenote celebrated the 100 days to go milestone for Beijing 2022 by releasing their latest Virtual Medal Table (VMT) forecast. China’s performance remains a wildcard due to a lack of available data.

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Opening ceremony – Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 9, 2018 - Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway carries the national flag. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Opening ceremony – Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 9, 2018 - Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway carries the national flag. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Nielsen’s Gracenote has marked 100 days to go until the 2022 Winter Olympic Games by releasing their Virtual Medal Table (VMT) forecast. The VMT is constructed using results from previous Olympic Games, World Championships, and World Cup events.

According to the current version of the VMT, Norway could be on track for the best medal performance of any country in history at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Gracenote forecasts that the Nordic nation will win a record breaking total of 44 medals at the Games.

Norway already holds the record for total medals at a single edition of the Winter Olympics, setting a new record of 39 medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics. That was enough to beat the previous record of 37 medals won by the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Gracenote predicts that Norway will win 30 medals in cross country skiing and biathlon alone. Even by Norwegian standards that would be a dominant performance, netting the country 10 more medals than it has ever won in both sports combined at a single edition of the Winter Olympics.

Norway is also forecast to lead the gold medal count with 22 gold medals.

Gracenote predicts that the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) is on track for a historic performance of their own. The ROC is forecast to win 38 medals at the Games, which would beat all previous Russian and Soviet records for the total number of medals won at a single edition of the Games.

The VMT podium is then rounded out by two different countries depending on the method used to calculate ranking on the medal table.

If the quantity of medals won is the parameter, then Germany comes third on the medal table, with the country predicted to win 27 medals at the 2022 Winter Olympics. If the quality of medals won is used, then the Netherlands comes in third on the medal table, with the country predicted to win 12 gold medals at the Games.

Germany is expected to have a strong performance in the sliding sports, while the Netherlands is forecast to have a strong outing in the two speed skating disciplines.

The current VMT projection places the United States fourth on the medal table in terms of total number of medals won. Gracenote predicts that the United States will win 24 medals in total at the Games.

This would place them ahead of North American rivals Canada, who soared ahead of the United States on the medal table for only the second time in history at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Gracenote predicts that Canada will earn a total 21 medals at the Games.

Gracenote Virtual Medal Table for Beijing 2022, Oct. 27, 2021 (Nielsen Gracenote)
Gracenote Virtual Medal Table for Beijing 2022, Oct. 27, 2021 (Nielsen Gracenote)

This would place them in a three way tie for fifth place in terms of total medals. Switzerland and the Netherlands are also predicted to earn 21 medals in total at the Games.

The United States and Canada are predicted to produce strong performances across multiple sports at Beijing 2022, with Switzerland having to rely mainly on their performance in skiing to meet their predicted total.

The top 10 on the VMT is rounded out by Sweden, France, and Austria. All three countries are expected to have totals well into the double digits, with 19, 18, and 16 medals predicted respectively.

This would be a record performance for Sweden and France, with the Austrians matching their performances at recent editions of the Winter Olympics.

In total, Gracenote’s VMT predicts that 27 countries will win medals at the 2022 Winter Olympics. This would be a decrease of three countries from the 2018 Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Gracenote was also quick to note that the East Asian nations of China, Japan, and South Korea have been largely absent from recent competitions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, thus potentially affecting their standing on the VMT.

Gracenote admits that despite adjustments to their model, the VMT may be underestimating China’s likely medal count. As the host country, China would normally receive a boost in its performance. China won nine medals in Pyeongchang, but only one gold. They are currently predicted to win only six medals in Beijing.

The lack of recent competition data could also affect predictions for South Korea in short track and Japan in speed skating. 

“The situation will be mitigated to some extent if competitors from these countries participate in 2021-2022 winter sporting events before the Winter Games,” Gracenote said.

As the current season of winter sport progresses, Gracenote will update the VMT every two weeks up to the 2022 Winter Olympics in hopes of creating a more accurate prediction for the affected countries.

The final projections will be released just before Beijing 2022 begins on February 4.

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