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Piotr Żyła, Dawid Kubacki and Kamil Stoch (photo by Julia Piątkowska)

Who will be the medal winners in Beijing? We know what the podiums will look like according to projections by Nielsen’s Gracenote

Medal forecasts for the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing have recently been published in the media, and they look quite promising for the Polish ski jumpers. According to Gracenote, a Nielsen company, the gold medal on the normal hill could be won by the reigning world champion from that hill size – Piotr Żyła. What are the medal distribution projections for all the Olympic ski jumping events according to the analysts from overseas?

 

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Sara Takanashi (photo by Julia Piątkowska)

American analysts representing Gracenote, a member of Nielsen Holdings, have prepared a special list illustrating the expected number of Olympic medals that each team will win at the competitions in Beijing. The specialists analyzed the chances of specific athletes by taking into account the results of some of the most important sports events, starting with the Pyeongchang Olympics (in 2018) and created a virtual list of podium line-ups.

Looking at the latest Olympic forecast, which was published at the end of October, it seems that Norway may become the biggest winter sports superpower. According to Gracenote’s analysts, it’s the Norwegians who are on track to win as many as 44 medals, including 22 golds.  This would also mean that Norway would win the overall medal standings in Beijing. The second sports superpower is expected to consist of the athletes of the Russian Olympic Committee, who will be competing under the Olympic flag. 38 medals are projected for them, 14 of which could be gold. The top three in terms of the total number of medal wins is expected to also include Germany, which is estimated to win 27 medals, including 11 gold ones. Let’s just add that the Dutch are expected to win more gold discs than the Germans (12), but they are projected to have fewer podium results in total.

Poland ranks only sixteenth in the virtual medal table, with five medals to its name. All in all, this shows that we are perhaps not quite a winter sports superpower… unless we’re talking ski jumping. Because according to the forecasts, our representatives may land on the podium in  this discipline as many as four times. But let’s start from the beginning…

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Piotr Żyła (photo by Julia Piątkowska)

The ladies will be the first to compete for the medals at the 24th Winter Olympics. Their main event will take place on February 5th on the HS-106 normal hill. According to the American analysts’ calculations, the coveted individual gold will be won by the former World Cup dominator, Sara Takanashi. After the bronze medal she won less than four years ago, this would be the greatest success for the 25-year-old Japan native at such a top-ranking event. The podium would be expected to also include the 20-year-old Olympic debutant from Austria, Marita Kramer, as well as the reigning world champion from the normal hill, 23-year-old Slovenian Ema Klinec, for whom this would be the second Olympic start in her career.

The gold medal winner on the HS-106 hill is forecasted to be Piotr Żyła. The Polish ski jumper will be participating in the Olympics for the second time, having previously competed in Sochi (2014). As the current world champion on the normal hill, he would also become a 35-year-old Olympic champion. According to the forecasts, the silver medal will be won by the normal hill specialist and 2018 Olympian, the German Karl Geiger, who would be in for quite the birthday present a few days ahead of turning 29. The top three would be made complete by the bronze medalist, Dawid Kubacki – the 2019 world champion from this hill size. The 31-year-old Polish jumper would of course achieve his best Olympic result in the third games in his career.

The Beijing Games will host a mixed team event for the first time in history. The championship title is expected to be won by the Germans, who have won gold in the last four world championships in this type of event. The Norwegians are forecasted to snag silver, and the Austrians would be left with the bronze – which means that the podium in China may look almost exactly like the one at the world championships in Oberstdorf in 2021.

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Halvor Egner Granerud (photo by Jan Simon Schafer)

After the jumpers move onto the large HS-140 hill, other competitors are expected to show their skills. In the individual competition, the gold medal is expected to land around the neck of the previous winter’s World Cup dominator and Crystal Globe winner – Halvor Egner Granerud. The 25-year-old Norwegian would thus go on to win gold already in his Olympic debut. Silver would fall prey to the highly decorated (albeit not at the Olympics) 28-year-old Austrian, Stefan Kraft, who is also the reigning world champion on the large hill. The projections would see the podium made complete by another great ski jumping star from Poland, Kamil Stoch. The 34-year-old would then add to his collection of three gold medals from Sochi (2014) and Pyeongchang (2018), this time throwing in a bronze for good measure.

The ski jumping events in Zhangjiakou would be crowned by the team triumph of the male ski jumpers from Germany, who would make their way back to the top of the Olympic podium after eight years with a silver in between. The silver medals would be won by the Austrians, while the Polish jumpers would succeed in defending their bronze from South Korea. Of course, this is just a statistical model based on numbers, and we know perfectly well that they may prove to be completely unreliable. Therefore, awarding medals long before the competitions have been kicked off is something that should be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, we have to admit that the projected Beijing Olympic podiums don’t seem at all improbable.

 

Projected podiums at the Olympic competitions in Beijing / Zhangjiakou:

competition, ski jumping hill 1st place 2nd place 3rd place
women’s individual, HS-106 Sara Takanashi JPN Marita Kramer AUT Ema Klinec SLO
men’s individual, HS-106 Piotr Żyła POL Karl Geiger GER Dawid Kubacki POL
mixed team, HS-106 Germany Norway Austria
men’s individual, HS-140 Halvor Egner Granerud NOR Stefan Kraft AUT Kamil Stoch POL
men’s team, HS-140 Germany Austria Poland

 

Bartosz Leja,
source: Nielsen’s Gracenote / own information,
translation by Anna Libera

 

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