NewsOther NewsNorway on Top But Medal Tally Drops in Beijing

FasterSkierMarch 5, 2022
Crowds line the storied tracks at the Holmenkollen during the women’s 30 k classic. (Photo: NordicFocus)

The dust on the ice has settled and the best snow sports nations on earth are taking stock of their performances at the Beijing Winter Olympics. For many, the medal haul was as expected but, for other countries, it was a disappointing games overall.

As the dominant force in Nordic skiing, Norway were expected to top the medal table and they duly headed the section by some distance. However, their overall tally of five golds and eight medals overall marked a drop from Pyeongchang in 2018 and the Norwegians will be looking for an improvement moving forward.

Therese Johaug earns her third victory of the Games with a margin of +1:43 (Photo: NordicFocus)

Norway in Numbers

It might be harsh to suggest that five gold medals, two silver and one bronze would be seen as a disappointment but the haul doesn’t stack up too well when compared to 2018. In South Korea four years ago, Norway’s men’s and women’s teams picked up seven gold medals in an overall tally of 14.

Included in their figures were four silvers and three bronze so, the drop in 2022 represents a fall of almost 50 per cent. When there is a fall in medals between Olympic Games, it’s often possible to look at changes in personnel. For Norway, however, the majority of team members from 2018 were available for selection in Beijing.

Of that successful squad that travelled to Pyeongchang in 2018, only Martin Sundby has subsequently retired. So, what does that mean for Italy in 2026?

Athletes take to the tracks for Stage 5 of the 2021/22 Tour de Ski, a 15-kilometer mass start classic in Val di Fiemme, Italy. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Prospects for 2026

The 2026 Winter Olympics will be split between the Italian cities of Milan and Europe. For many, this will mean a return to familiar European conditions but will that help Norway, and others, retain their edge?

How much does artificial snow affect performances? That’s difficult to evaluate but it’s one factor that may help the Norwegians in four years’ time.

In terms of predictions, Nordic skiing isn’t a sport that the betting companies look to get behind in a big way. However, when the winter Olympics come around, the operators tend to make an exception.

As the Games approaches, online skiing betting markets will open up and the best winter sports bookmakers linked to sbo.net will issue a full range of odds. While assessing the figures, readers can also take into account news and opinion articles on everything relating to the winter Olympics. There’s also the potential to get involved with those markets for those who wish to do so.

Each of the bookmakers listed on the sbo.net website is accepting new sign ups. Many will have welcome promotions in place while several will publish ongoing promotions for the life of the account.

There is a range of deposit options available and some operators also offer live streaming for those that retain funds in their account.

Of course, there is a lot of competition left before the winter Olympics returns to Italy in four years’ time and those markets will start to evolve in the months that lie ahead. Any changes will be reflected on the website and readers can assess those updates.

In short, it’s a one-stop shop for winter sports enthusiasts but where will Norway’s biggest challenge come from next time around?

 

Stopping the watches, Alexey Chervotkin (right) and Denis Spitsov cross third and fourth, respectively, at the finish of Stage 5 in Val di Fiemme. (Photo: NordicFocus)

The Biggest Challenges

In 2022, athletes from Russia finished second in the medal table. In fact, their overall haul of 11 was higher than Norway’s but a tally of four golds leaves them in second place.

Russian competitors may face an uncertain future but there’s clearly scope for these athletes to overtake the Norwegians in Italy in four years’ time. ROC were particularly strong in the men’s events, winning three gold medals, plus two silver and two bronze.

 

Iivo Niskanen pushes to second place in Stage 5, while Russian chasers fight for the final podium spot in his wake. (Photo: NordicFocus)

Other nations to have performed well in Beijing include Finland and Sweden. Both of those Scandinavian countries will hope to improve on their medal tallies in Cortina but neither are likely to head the medal table at the end of the Games.

The obvious conclusion to draw is that 2026 will see a straight battle between Norway and the ROC. The Norwegians remain the team to beat but a drop in medals in Beijing suggests that their dominant period in the sphere of Nordic skiing may be coming to an end.

Alexander Bolshuonv is photographed with his four Olympic medals from the 2022 Games, with one event remaining. He would leave the Games with three gold medals, and a total of nine Olympic medals including those won in 2018. (Photo: NordicFocus)

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