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How The United States Can Win The Medal Count

While Americans are used to dominance in the Summer Olympics, the Winter games have been a different story as the United States have finished 2nd, 2nd, 6th, 5th and 6th over the last 5 Olympiads. While they are trending in the right direction, there is still some work to do to unseat Germany, who has led the medal count in each of the last two games, and Norway who won the most golds at the 2002 Salt Lake City games. The margin is razor thin, as the US finished four medals back of Germany and just two golds back of the Germans. However, there is a simple, yet easier said than done, strategy for winning the medal count in 2010.

1. X Games

None of Germany’s 2006 medals were won in an Xgames olympic event, whereas 7 United States medals, including 3 golds, were won in snowboarding, whether it be the halfpipe or snowboardcross. Assuming Shaun White, Gretchen Bleiler, Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter all medal, and one other American man medals in the halfpipe, they will be off to a great start. Add in likely medals by Lindsey Jacobellis and Nate Holland and the United States will be off to a flying start.

2. Team Competitions

In the summer olympics, which had 303 events in Beijing, team competitions are not crucial to medal success. But in the winter games, when Torino had just 84 events, team medals are much much bigger. The United States women’s hockey team is virtually guaranteed a medal, but the men are another story. Especially with the recent injuries to their defense, they are a longshot to win a medal. However, if Ryan Miller gets hot, the States can steal a medal. In 2006, men’s curling came out of nowhere and won a Bronze, the United States’ first medal in the event. However, that was coupled with a disappointing showing from the women’s team, which was projected to win a medal. The ice hockey and curling teams can grab precious medals that could prove to be the difference.

3. Unexpected medals

This one kind of goes without saying, but some unexpected medals would go a long way to putting the States atop the medal count. In 2006, Bode Miller was US Skiing’s golden boy, the one who would win multiple golds, but it was lightly regarded Ted Ligety who won the country’s first skiing medal. Joey Cheek had been an inline skater for most of his life, and as a speedskater had never had much success – he was 7th at the 2002 World Sprint Championships, but he ended up winning a surprise bronze and a shocking gold in Torino.

This can work with countries other than the United States as well. If someone upsets one of the German favorites in the biathlon, bobsled or cross country skiing, that lost medal for Germany can be the United States gain.

We didn’t even discuss Canada and their “Own the Podium” campaign, so there are obviously tons of variables, but if the United States can continue their dominance of the extreme sports, grab some medals in team competitions, and get a couple storybook unexpected gold medals, we could see the United States atop the medal standings.

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  1. February 3, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    You make some very good points. Especially about the X Games athletes. And who doesn’t love the unexpected medal winner.

  1. February 1, 2010 at 1:04 pm
  2. February 1, 2010 at 2:06 pm

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