U.S., China predicted to top Tokyo Olympic medal standings six months out

The Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice wants the rules prohibiting athlete demonstrations at the Olympic and Paralympic Games be changed
Getty Images
1 Comment

TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics open in exactly six months, and the United States and China are picked to finish 1-2 in the overall medal count and the gold-medal count.

That’s the easy part in a forecast done by Gracenote Sports about which countries will win the most Olympic medals. Gracenote supplies analysis for leagues around the world and has had a solid track record forecasting recent Olympics.

The United States and China are easy to handle. The tough part is figuring out how to deal with Russia.

Russia is facing a four-year Olympic ban for manipulating doping data. It has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport with a ruling expected in several months.

The sanctions imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency forbid the use of the Russian team name, flag, or anthem. However, some Russian athletes are still expected to compete as neutrals — as they did in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Of course, no one knows how many.

All of this really fouls up Gracenote’s calculations.

First, a look at the United States and China with the Olympics opening on July 24.

Gracenote, which forecasts medals based on performances in major events since the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, has the United States leading the overall medal count with 117, and the gold-medal count with 47.

China is picked to win 87 overall and 43 gold.

Russia is next with 66 overall and 25 gold, followed by host nation Japan with 65 overall and 30 gold.

Japan is expected to take advantage of the host-nation advantage, which happens at every Olympics. It won a national record of 41 overall medals four years ago in Rio de Janeiro, and 12 gold. Its medals return this time should be a vast improvement, partly due to success in new sports, or returning sports like baseball and softball.

Russia is the headache.

“It remains to be seen how many of the 66 medalists (from Russia) currently forecast by Gracenote will be allowed to compete,” Simon Gleave, the head of sports analysis at Gracenote, wrote in an analysis.

Of course, the absence of any potential Russian medal winner opens a chance for somebody else. Gracenote says the United States will benefit the most if no Russian athletes compete. Gracenote figures the United States would win nine more medals, and Italy would be next with a gain of six.

Gracenote’s prediction record is decent.

In Rio de Janeiro, Gracenote picked the order of the top three countries correctly, and picked eight of the top 10 medal-winning countries. In PyeongChang in 2018 it correctly picked Norway to win a record number of medals and finish ahead of No. 2 Germany.

It also picked the top four countries correctly in PyeongChang, and in the correct order. Its predictions for seven of the top 10 countries were within one or two medals of their final totals.

Following the United States, China, Russia, and Japan, the next six countries in Tokyo in the order of overall medals are predicted to be: Australia (44), Great Britain (42), Netherlands (41), France (37), Germany (35) and Italy (32).

The second 10: South Korea (26), Hungary (23), Canada (22), New Zealand (21), Brazil (21), Turkey (18), Spain (18), Poland (18), Ukraine (16), Kenya (15).

And the third 10: Sweden (14), Serbia (13), India (12), Cuba (11), Taiwan (11), Kazakhstan (11), North Korea (10), Georgia (10), Jamaica (10), Iran (9).

The countries with the largest improvement in overall medals are expected to be: Japan (24), Netherlands (22), China (17), Australia (15), Russia (11), India (10), Turkey (10), Taiwan (8), Hungary (8), South Korea (5), Hong Kong (5), Ukraine (5).

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: What you need to know about the Tokyo Olympics, six months out

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
Getty
0 Comments

At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
Getty
0 Comments

A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!