Norwegian, German, Russian athletes set to shine at Beijing Winter Olympics
Published: Feb 01, 2022 02:29 PM
When it comes to the Winter Olympics, history makes it hard to look past Norway for who will top the medal table - and the Beijing 2022 Games are no exception.

The Nordic powerhouse has long dominated the podium at Winter Games, comfortably sitting atop the all-time medal table when it comes to golds (132) and total medals (368). 

Recent history also favors the Norwegians after their performance at the last Winter Olympics in South Korea, four years ago. 

Norway won 14 golds at Pyeongchang 2018, level with Germany in second place, but topped the medal table with an all-time single Winter Games record haul of 39 medals. That was enough to beat the previous benchmark of 37 set by the US at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

All signs point to them going even better in Beijing, even though the delegation's target is to finish in the top three.

Sports data giant Nielsen-Gracenote has long predicted that this will be the case - and they have doubled down on Norway's expected performance.

Norway is predicted to win 45 total medals and 22 gold in the company's Virtual Medal Table.

Two-thirds of Norway's predicted medals are expected to arrive in their trademark dominant sports - cross-country skiing and biathlon. It is not much of a shock given both are often described as Nordic skiing and they are tipped to top the Nordic combined event as usual.

While Norway is set to top the podium, they are not the only ones expected to have a record year. The athletes of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) have been tipped to bring home somewhere between 32 and 38 total medals, which would be better than Russia or the Soviet Union won at a single Games. It would certainly be an improvement from sixth at Pyeongchang in 2018 and better than the 30 medals and a place in the top three targeted by ROC chief Stanislav Pozdnyakov. 

Cross-country skier Alexander Bolshunov won four medals at the 2018 Games and took gold at last year's world championships, while Natalya Voronina is the 5,000-meter speed skating world record holder. Elsewhere, figure skaters such as Anna Shcherbakova, Kamila Valieva and Alexandra Trusova are medal favorites while the reigning Olympic champion men's ice hockey team will be buoyed by the absence of NHL players.

Perennial powerhouse Germany has been tipped by many, including Gracenote, to finish third at these Games. They finished second in South Korea four years ago just eight medals off Norway. 

German hopes will be pinned on bobsled medal magnet Francesco Friedrich - double gold winner at ­Pyeongchang and 13-time world champion - and their world champion luger Julia Taubitz.