Olympics Predictions 2022: Winter Medal History; Top Favorites at Beijing

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2022

Olympics Predictions 2022: Winter Medal History; Top Favorites at Beijing

0 of 4

    Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

    When it comes to the Winter Olympics, perhaps not surprisingly, Norway is king.

    The Nordic nation owns the most medals, with 368 total and 132 gold. And according to Gracenote's medal projections, the Norwegians are expected to clean up once again at the 2022 Beijing Games. Gracenote expects Norway to rack up 45 medals in all, 22 gold.

    Next on the list is the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) with 32 total and 11 gold.

    The United States is projected to come in fourth with 22 overall and seven gold, after Germany (25 total, 12 gold).

    Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria and France round out the the top 10.

    A record 109 medals are at stake in the forthcoming Games, seven more than at Pyeongchang 2018. They are spread across 15 disciplines in seven sports.

    Who are the favorites to bring home the greatest medal hauls for their nations? Let's take a closer look at some names you should know ahead of the Games, which officially kick off Friday with the opening ceremony.

Johannes Thingnes Bo (Norway, Biathlon)

1 of 4

    DeFodi Images/Getty Images

    Norway's prowess in biathlon and cross-country skiing help account for its historic success at the Winter Games. The two disciplines have 11 and 12 medal events contested, respectively, leaving lots of hardware available for the Norwegians to claim.

    Johannes Thingnes Bo, Norway's top male biathlete, could help his country claim six medals, four in individual events and two in relay events.

    The third-most successful male biathlete of all time, Thingnes Bo owns 52 individual World Cup victories. He took gold in the men's 20km Individual race at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, along with silvers in the relay and mixed relay events.

    In Beijing, his greatest challenge for the top spot on the podium will come from fellow Norwegian Sturla Holm Laegreid, France's Emilien Jacquelin and Quentin Fillon Maillet and Sweden's Sebastian Samuelsson and Martin Ponsiluoma.

Alexander Bolshunov (Russian Olympic Committee, Cross-Country Skiing)

2 of 4

    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    Of the 32 medals the Russian Olympic Committee is projected to claim at the Beijing Games, Bolshunov could be responsible for five of them.

    ROC's top cross-country skier is projected to take gold in the 15km classic style event and the 2x15km skiathlon and silver in the 50km event. His team should also medal in both the 4x10km relay and the team sprint.

    In 2021, Bolshunov won four World Cup events in the 15km classic style event, and he is the reigning world champion in the 30km skiathlon.

    Competing under the banner of Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) at Pyeongchang 2018, Bolshunov won four medals, three silvers and one bronze.

Eileen Gu (China, Freestyle Skiing)

3 of 4

    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Though she grew up in San Francisco, the daughter of an American father and a Chinese mother, Eileen Gu has represented China since 2019. She will be instrumental in the host nation's goal of racking up medals at its Winter Olympics, as well as its aim to market itself as a global destination for skiing and snowboarding.

    Gu competes in three events: ski halfpipe, ski slopestyle and ski big air, the latter of which is debuting in these Games.

    It's rare for a freestyle skier to compete in both halfpipe and slopestyle disciplines given the difficulty of coordinating the competition schedule for each and the diverging training requirements. But Gu has racked up medals in all her disciplines; she's the reigning halfpipe world champion and defended that title at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup event in January. She also finished first in halfpipe at the U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain a few days later.

    Gu has fewer golds in international slopestyle competition than in halfpipe, however. She took second at the U.S. Grand Prix in the event and also at the Dew Tour in December, though she took first in halfpipe.

    In Beijing, Gu is the gold-medal halfpipe favorite, but in slopestyle and big air, her biggest competition will be France's Tess Ledeux, who took first in slopestyle at X Games in January after she became the first woman to land a double cork 1620.

Top Favorite U.S. Athletes at Beijing

4 of 4

    Tim Clayton - Corbis/Getty Images

    Though few Americans are projected to win multiple individual gold medals at the Beijing Games, Gracenote still projects plenty of success for the U.S. Here are the athletes who could bring home multiple medals.


    Kaillie Humphries (Bobsled): Humphries is projected to medal in both the monobob and two-woman events.

    Mikaela Shiffrin (Alpine skiing): Shiffrin is projected to win gold in alpine combined and giant slalom; she could also medal in slalom and Super-G.

    Nathan Chen (ice skating): Chen is the favorite to win the men's singles event and could contribute to a podium finish in the team event.

    Jamie Anderson (snowboarding): Anderson is the defending Olympic gold medalist in slopestyle and is also likely to podium in the big air event.