Brits estimate 46 medals for Team GB in 2016

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We may be a little less than four years from the Rio Olympics, but the Brits are already patting themselves on the back for a relatively impressive 46-medal haul, due to come home in 2016.

Mind you their best swimmer, Rebecca Adlington, just retired, and no one knows which flag Rory McIlroy will swing his sticks under when golf makes its triumphant return, but some nerds got together and published a formula in the British Journal of Sports Medicine to estimate that Team GB would win 63.5 medals in 2012, missing the actual total of 65 by only two. Well, one-and-a-half, really.

The authors looked at the average medal hauls of Team GB’s past, as well as the average relative increase that occurred to a host country’s count to determine that, depending on the balance of objective and subjectively judged sports, the advantage of hosting the Games is roughly 2.05 times the number of average medals won.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that the crowd had a positive effect on athletes to raise their performance,” the authors offered. “But also, based on these results, crowds appear to have had an important effect on influencing officials to favor the home based performers, and hence increase their medal winning capacity.”

The authors then looked at the other side of the bell curve for Team GB to determine that, by pouring funding and athletes into your own Games you still have a 1.46 times advantage during your next Olympics.

Using the formula we can estimate that Brazil, which has averaged roughly 14 medals during the last five Games, will be able to put about 28 to 30 medals on the board when they host the next Olympics, and then 20 or so in 2020.

So, to recap: the Brits average roughly 31 medals every Olympics, so you multiply that by their 1.46 advantage as a recent host and you get 45.26. We’ll let you know how this all pans out in four years, but just know that whatever the count, it will be dramatically less than the Americans bring home. U-S-A! U-S-A!

World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine
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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”

Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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