The 2018 Winter Olympics are principally midway over,1 and the same old suspects are off to an ideal begin. The Norwegians, the kings of cross-country snowboarding, presently lead the medal table with 22 items of hardware, together with seven golds. The Germans, who historically rule luge and biathlon, aren’t far behind with 9 golds and 17 medals. America, in the meantime, is in a four-way tie for fifth, having nabbed solely 9 whole medals.
What number of ought to we anticipate the U.S. to have at this stage of the video games, although? Since medals in numerous sports activities are awarded at totally different occasions, it may be troublesome to know whether or not a rustic is behind the place they need to be or proper on observe. To assist with that, we created a easy medal tracker. It compares a given nation’s medal rely with what number of we’d anticipate primarily based on its historic efficiency within the sports activities which have already been accomplished at this 12 months’s video games. It additionally tells you what number of remaining medals a rustic ought to decide up over the remainder of the Olympics if its athletes play to kind. (One word on this: We’re trying on the broad categories of events that make up the Olympics — Alpine snowboarding, snowboarding, curling, and so forth. — not the precise occasions inside these classes.)
Right here’s the way it works: We collected Winter Olympics medal data going again to 1998, when snowboarding was added to the official program as a brand new sport,2 after which calculated the share of medals that every nation gained in every sport. For instance, from 1998 to 2014, the U.S. gained 33 % of all gold medals in snowboarding, to go along with 17 % of silvers and 30 % of bronzes. (Sure, we’re pretty good at snowboarding.) Then we used these historic charges to set the baseline expectations — the anticipated medals — for the 2018 Pyeongchang Video games.3 There may be one large exception to notice: The Olympic athletes from Russia use the Russian Federation’s expected-medal charges, however with a 25 % discount to replicate the reduced number of Russian athletes competing within the 2018 Video games (plus no matter different damaging results the Russian doping scandal might need on their medal tally).
Add up all of these anticipated medals, and you may see the place a rustic “ought to” be primarily based on what it’s good at and what’s occurred on the video games to date. And the U.S. is certainly underperforming in South Korea, relative to expectations. Primarily based on the occasions which have already been accomplished on the video games, we might anticipate to have seen 18 American podium appearances to this point, which is precisely double the quantity the U.S. has truly had. From Lindsey Jacobellis’s coming up short again in boardercross to Mikaela Shiffrin’s shocking non-medal in slalom, Lindsey Vonn’s super-G struggles and Nathan Chen’s disappointing fifth-place finish in males’s figure-skating, no nation is off to a rougher begin in Pyeongchang than the Individuals.
The excellent news for the U.S., nevertheless, is that there are many medal occasions remaining by which American athletes excel. Primarily based on its charges over the 1998-2014 interval, we might anticipate the U.S. to select up about 18 extra medals earlier than the video games are over, which is greater than another nation’s projection. Even when that occurs, nevertheless, our tracker tasks that the U.S. would end a distant fourth within the remaining medal desk — which might be its worst exhibiting on the Winter Olympics since 1998 — however at the least it could imply the second half of the video games was lots higher than the primary.
For Norway, that is shaping as much as be its best performance at the Winter Games ever. Despite the fact that a variety of their finest occasions are over, the Norwegians ought to nonetheless end sturdy. Certainly, in the event that they (and everybody else) merely carry out to anticipated baselines over the remainder of the Olympics, Norway will end first within the standings, with 34 medals, forward of Germany and Canada.
|Gold medals||All medals|
|Olympic athletes from Russia*||zero||2.7||9||16.6|