Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Germany likely to benefit from Russia absence at Games

AP, TOKYO

It is still unclear how many Russian athletes are likely to compete next month at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, but a few things seem certain.

Athletes from winter powers like Germany and Norway could pick up unexpected medals with some top Russians absent because a massive doping scheme four years ago at the Sochi Games in Russia.

One medal forecast for Pyeongchang, compiled by Gracenote Sports, which refers to itself as a “sports and entertainment provider,” shows the impact if Russian athletes are missing.

Gracenote yesterday released its medal-table projection, removing all Russians from the calculation.

The US-based company said it would release a final prediction just before the Olympics open on Feb. 9, this time including Russians who are known to be eligible and who are expected to compete under the name “Olympic Athlete from Russia.”

Their participation, of course, would cut into the medal haul of other strong nations.

The Russian Olympic Committee last month said that “more than 200” athletes would meet the qualifying criteria.

However, the final decision, barring appeals to the based-Swiss Court of Arbitration for Sport, is in the hands of an International Olympic Committee commission — the Fourneyron Commission.

Germany and Norway are the big winners without Russia.

Gracenote forecasts Germany would win five extra medals, followed by Norway with four. Canada, France and Japan would pick up two extra medals. Finland, Britain, Italy and the Netherlands would get one each.

Germany’s extra haul would push its medal-leading total to 40 — 14 gold, 12 silver and 14 bronze. Norway is next with 37 overall, but would also take 14 gold to tie Germany in that department.

Canada is predicted to take third place with 33 overall, followed by the US (29) and France (24).

If Germany wins 40 medals, it would be the country’s most successful total since 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Biathlon would net Germany’s largest haul with 10 medals.

These could be record-setting games for Norway, which has never won more than 29 overall. Norway is forecast to win 19 medals alone in cross-country skiing.

Canada and the US are forecast to win medals in 10 of the 15 sports at the Winter Games: Alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsled, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, Nordic combined, short-track speedskating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboarding and speedskating.

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