Olympic 2014 Medal Count: Latest Nation Rankings and Standings for Day 4

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Olympic 2014 Medal Count: Latest Nation Rankings and Standings for Day 4
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The top of the Winter Olympic leaderboard remains close after another intense day of competition.

Through four days of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Norway and Canada lead the medal count. Both nations have tallied four first-place finishes so far adding to the count on Tuesday. With more bronze medals, Norway's 11 top-three finishes holds the current advantage.

They're threatening to pull ahead of the pack, but Netherlands, the United States and Russia are all maintaining a respectable distance. None of those nations, however, had particularly strong days.

Although the Dutch have run amok in speedskating, they have failed to inflict much damage elsewhere. Norway continues to dominate cross-country, and Canada continues to control skiing while waiting for things to heat up in ice hockey.

Here is where the top countries stand after Day 4.

 

1. Norway

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Norway maintained its prime real estate on top of the standings with a huge day in cross-country.

On the men's side, Ola Vigen Hattestad claimed the gold in the sprint freestyle, finishing 1.2 seconds ahead of Sweden's Teodor Peterson.

As noted by the Associated Press' Mattias Karen (h/t ABCNews.com), Hattestad was in danger of not even making the Olympic squad.

Hattestad won both the individual and team sprint at the 2009 worlds, but has struggled for much of this season. However, he won the last World Cup sprint races before the Olympics, which led to the Norwegian coaches dropping another skier from the sprint team in favor of Hattestad.

The Norwegian proved Tuesday they made the right decision.

Despite his success, Norway's women fared even better in the sprint freestyle. Maiken Caspersen Falla earned gold while Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg picked up silver. And that's after favorite Marit Bjoergen got eliminated in the semifinals.

Norway has now attained six of its 11 overall medals through cross-country challenges. Eight cross-country medal events remain, so Norway has ample chances to rack up the shiny prizes in Sochi

 

2. Canada

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Canada continues to rise to the occasion during the Winter Games.

The big winner from the 2010 Vancouver Games, Canada is looking to once again lead the final medal count. It's a feat well within the country's grasp after Day 4.

In the women's inaugural freestyle skiing slopestyle, 19-year-old Dara Howell won with an overall score of 94.20. Fellow Canadian Kim Lamarre took bronze with a mark of 85.00.

On a day where several other competitors struggled to maintain control in harsh conditions, Howell broke far away from the pack by completing a switch-900, a spin which consists of two-and-a-half rotations.

The win also provided Canada with a chance to honor a fallen icon. According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), Howell dedicated her victory to Sarah Burke, a four-time X Games winner who died in 2012 at the age of 29.

"I said the other day that I really hope a Canadian brings home a gold medal and it will be for Sarah," Howell said. "This medal is definitely for Sarah. She pushed the sport."

Canada has earned most of its medals through freestyle skiing, but its national pastime has still not reached that stage. Its men's and women's hockey teams are both highly likely to amass medals by the end of the Olympics.

 

3. Netherlands

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There's no nation better than the Netherlands at long-track speedskating. Unfortunately, that's all they have right now.

All eight of their medals have been accrued from speedskating. After sweeping the men's 500- and 5,000-meters, six of the eight resulted from two events. That will make it difficult for Norway to maintain success once other sports start dishing out medals. (The Dutch don't have much of a figure skating presence.)

With South Korea's Sang Hwa Lee winning the day's only speedskating event, it was a quiet day for the Dutch. But Margot Boer gave the Netherlands something to cheer about on Tuesday, earning a bronze in the ladies' 500-meter. 

Eight more medal events are on the table, but the Netherlands excels at the long track while not holding any discernible edge in short-track competition. Considering they have already matched their total 2010 medal tally, these games are still a smashing success for the Netherlands, even if it falls down the standings.

 

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