Written by Ray N. Olsen, Member of the International Society of Olympic Historians
Below is the final updated independent prediction of the medal count for teams in the 2014 Winter Olympics by Infostrada Sports.You will note that while the US is first (great) for Gold Medals by two over second place Norway (wow, they only have a total of 4 million people), Norway is first (amazing) for total medals by four over second place Canada. Only six Gold Medals for Russia might not be the best return for the now estimated $50 billion dollars spent over the last seven years by Vladimir Putin on Sochi.
The latest reports this week still indicated several unfinished hotels both in the Sochi area and in the mountain areas just days before the press and spectators will arrive. All of the Olympic sports venues are completed, which is what TV watchers will be seeing. However, just a few days ago at the venue for the new sport of slopestyle snowboarding, a top Norwegian contender crashed on the rail portion of the course during the three-hour training session and his collarbone injury will keep him out of the Games. The other contenders, including those from Finland, the US, Canada and others believe the design of the course is not safe, and have proposed changes. The race director said they would modify the course, but the sport is one of only two that was scheduled to start last Thursday, the day before the Opening Ceremonies.
Besides concern for completion of facilities, safety of venues for athletes, terrorism and corresponding Russian security measures and political (anti-gay) legislation, the long term worry for Sochi has been the amount of mountain snow coverage for a specific two-week period in a sub-tropical location in southern Russia. Nature did provide winter snow over two separate weeks during the last two months for a natural snow base, but that would not have been enough for the outdoor sports activities. Thanks to America, their snowmaking technology, expertise and machines have now produced a required cover of about two feet of snow over all of the mountain venues.
Let The Games begin!