While the Winter Olympics are generally a test for each athlete to prove themselves on the international stage, each country takes great pride in the battle to win the most medals. Through the first few days, the early results are a bit surprising.
Each country enters Sochi with its own strengths in different sports. Norway excels on skis, the Netherlands dominates on skates and the United States and Canada showcase their ability in the freestyle events.
With most of the athletes living up to expectations, it has created a crowded list at the top in the overall medal count. Here is a look at the updated list through Day 5 along with highlights for the leading countries.
Norway Holds onto Lead
After earning six cross-country medals in the first few days of the Games, Norway added another medal in a similar sport on Wednesday.
Eric Frenzel took first place in the Nordic combined normal hill, but Magnus Krog finished in third to earn a bronze medal and the 12th total medal for Norway in Sochi. Of these 12 medals, nine of them are in sports related to cross-country events, including the biathlon and Nordic combined.
Krog was just the latest to showcase his skills after finishing in 20th place in the jumping portion of his competition. He started the cross-country race over one minute behind the leaders but worked his way to third.
He also gained/lost some fans with his hair, courtesy of Douglas Gelevan of CBC:
With plenty more competitions still to go, you can be certain Norway is not going away in the medal count any time soon.
Netherlands Adds More Medals in Speedskating
If the Netherlands had a choice, the entire Olympics would consist of speedskating at different distances. The Dutch now have 10 medals in Sochi, with all of them taking place at the Adler Arena Skating Center.
Stefan Groothuis was the latest to win gold for his country—this time in the men's 1,000-meter event. This is a race that has been controlled by American Shani Davis over the past decade, with him winning gold in both the 2006 and 2010 Olympics.
After Davis could only manage eighth place, even the eventual winner was surprised. According to the Associated Press (via ESPN), Groothuis said after the race, "This is so unreal. I thought Shani was going to better me."
Dutch skater Michel Mulder also earned bronze after taking gold in the 500-meter race. Canada's Denny Morrison ruined things by getting silver, preventing yet another sweep for the Netherlands.
Through five events, the country has won 10 of 15 medals in long track, including four of five golds. Morrison is the only male not from the Netherlands to win a medal to this point.
As long as there are more speedskating events, the Dutch will remain in top contention in the medal count.
Germany Continues to Take Home Gold
Although Germany does not have the most medals overall, the country is doing a great job of securing gold when the opportunity arises.
Eric Frenzel started things off Wednesday with a win in the Nordic combined. He was the best in the ski jump portion and then kept his lead throughout the cross-country race to win gold.
Germany then continued its dominance in luge as Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt took first place in men's doubles. R.J. Rico of NBC Olympics provided a picture of the duo celebrating their win.
This is the third gold medal in a row for the Germans at the Sanki Sliding Center, with just the mixed relay remaining. Overall, this was the sixth gold medal for the country.
On the other hand, Germany has zero bronze medals and only a single silver, which interestingly came when Natalie Geisenberger and Tatjana Huefner finished in first and second in women's luge.
It seems like this team is utilizing the Ricky Bobby motto of "if you ain't first, you're last."
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