Predicted final Sochi Winter Olympics medal count: Can Team USA finish on top?

Yahoo Sports

Click the image to see who else has won a medal for Team USA along with Ted Ligety. (AP Photo)

SOCHI, Russia – The United States could need its two most disappointing teams to step up if it is to top the medal table at the end of the Winter Olympics.

With four days of competition remaining here in Sochi, the U.S. is locked in a furious battle with Norway, the Netherlands and host nation Russia to finish with the most trips to the podium.

Yahoo Sports predicts that at the conclusion of the Games the American team will end up with 28 total medals, level with Norway and host nation Russia.

[Video: How Ted Ligety made Olympic history]

However, if the U.S. short and long track speedskating teams are able to find a way to overcome the desperately poor run of form that has plagued them since the start of the Olympics, it could be enough to push the country over the top.

J.R. Celski is world record holder in the 500m short track and although he is not tipped for a medal in our predictions, the 23-year-old from near Federal Way, Wash., certainly has a chance of forcing his way into the mix if his luck changes.

Celski finished fourth in the 1500m before stumbling out of the 1000 at the quarterfinal stage. He is expected to get the U.S.’s first medal of the Games in short track as part of the men’s 5000m relay, taking place, like the 500, on Friday.

[Photos: Bode Miller's impressive Olympic career]

A short walk away at Adler Arena, the long track competition has been a scene of carnage for Team USA. Speedskating legend Dan Jansen confidently predicted eight to 10 medals before the Winter Olympics got underway; a more realistic figure might have been five given the performances of the team during the regular season.

To date there have been none whatsoever as every skater on the squad has suffered from dreadful form and the apparent fallout from the infamous skinsuits controversy.

“We have no medals, man,” two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis said earlier this week. “The way we are looking we might not get any.”

The best chance of ending the drought is in the team pursuit, especially with Davis expected to race in the event for the first time at an Olympics. Like everyone else, the U.S. is most likely shooting for silver or bronze given the extraordinary dominance of the Netherlands in long track at Sochi – with the Dutch set to take their pick from a murderer’s row of all-conquering stars for the pursuit.

In terms of the overall medal count, Norway and Russia would appear to be the biggest threats, as the Dutch are unlikely to add more than the remaining two medals up for grabs in long track, where all but one of their total national tally has come from.

[Video: American bobsledder’s unforgettable winning moment]

Norway will look to its men’s and women’s biathlon relay teams along with Martin Sundby and Therese Johaug in cross country, while Russia expects big things from short track speedskater Victor An, who has already won the 1000 and now targets the 500 and the relay. Figure skater Adelina Sotnikova is also well positioned to medal, sitting second after the short program.

For the U.S., Mikaela Shiffrin is strongly favored in the slalom event at Alpine skiing, with bobsledder Steven Holcomb expected to bring home the gold. Men’s hockey will likely medal, but their result against Canada will decide whether it’s gold, silver or bronze.

The overall medal race has been one of Sochi’s more interesting subplots, especially with Russia entering the fray early with a surprisingly high number and a chance to finish on top.

The Winter Olympics is heading towards the end, and the battle between the most successful countries is going down to the wire.

PREDICTED MEDALS FOR TEAM USA

GOLD

Alpine skiing - Mikaela Shiffrin, women’s slalom

Bobsled – Steven Holcomb, 4-man

SILVER

Hockey – Women’s team

BRONZE

Hockey - Men’s team

Short track speedskating – Men’s 5000m relay

PREDICTED FINAL MEDAL TABLE

Norway: 13 gold, 6 silver, 9 bronze - 28

USA: 9 gold, 6 silver, 13 bronze - 28

Russia: 8 gold, 12 silver, 8 bronze - 28

Netherlands: 8 gold 7 silver 9 bronze - 24

More Winter Olympics coverage on Yahoo Sports:

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so that everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Win cash in one day fantasy football contests. Join now!

    Learn how to play

    Contest Entries Entry Fee Prizes Starts (EDT)
    Premier League £1,500 Saturday 17/335 £5 £1500 Saturday 10:00 AM Enter
    Premier League £600 Saturday 0/26 £25 £600 Saturday 10:00 AM Enter
    Premier League £300 Saturday 31/340 £1 £300 Saturday 10:00 AM Enter
    • Former Soviet gymnast Korbut sells off Olympic medals

      Former Soviet gymnast Korbut sells off Olympic medals

      (Reuters) - Olga Korbut, the gymnastics darling of the 1972 Munich Olympics who has apparently fallen on hard times, has sold off her Games medals and other trophies through a U.S. auction house. Thirty-two lots, including two golds and a silver from the Munich Olympics, fetched $333,500 (£268,087) in a weekend online sale by Heritage Auctions for the former Soviet gymnast who now lives in Arizona, auction house spokesman Chris Ivy told Reuters on Monday. The top item was her team gold medal, which brought $66,000 for the 61-year-old Korbut, a native Belarusian who moved to the United States in 1991. More »

      Reuters - 1 hour 40 minutes ago
    • Gymnastics-Former Soviet gymnast Korbut sells off Olympic medals

      Olga Korbut, the gymnastics darling of the 1972 Munich Olympics who has apparently fallen on hard times, has sold off her Games medals and other trophies through a U.S. auction house. Thirty-two lots, including two golds and a silver from the Munich Olympics, fetched $333,500 in a weekend online sale by Heritage Auctions for the former Soviet gymnast who now lives in Arizona, auction house spokesman Chris Ivy told Reuters on Monday. The top item was her team gold medal, which brought $66,000 for the 61-year-old Korbut, a native Belarusian who moved to the United States in 1991. More »

      Reuters - 1 hour 45 minutes ago
    • Usain Bolt would have considered 2020 Olympics if he lost medal before Rio

      If Usain Bolt had lost his 2008 Olympic relay medal before the Rio Games, instead of last month, maybe he would have considered trying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In Rio, Bolt completed his “triple-triple” at his final Olympics, sweeping the 100m, 200m and 4x100m titles at a third straight Games. More »

      Yahoo Sports - 3 hours ago
    • Rio sambas on to The Beatles after accident mars Carnival

      Rio sambas on to The Beatles after accident mars Carnival

      By Pilar Olivares RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Carnival revellers in Rio de Janeiro danced on to Beatles songs set to Brazilian samba rhythms on Monday after an accident injuring 20 people marred the annual pre lenten bacchanalia the night before. Rio's spectacular Carnival parade of top samba troupes suffered the accident on Sunday when spectators were pushed against a wall by a faulty float at the start of the famed Sambadrome show. More »

      Reuters - 5 hours ago
    • Rio sambas on to The Beatles after accident mars Carnival

      Carnival (LSE: CCL.L - news) revelers in Rio de Janeiro danced on to Beatles songs set to Brazilian samba rhythms on Monday after an accident injuring 20 people marred the annual pre lenten bacchanalia the night before. The Sargento Pimenta street band had thousands of spirited followers twisting and shouting and singing "She (Munich: SOQ.MU - news) loves you yeah, yeah, yeah" as golden oldies from the Liverpool four blasted a waterfront park on the third day of what is dubbed the world's biggest party. Rio's spectacular Carnival parade of top samba troupes suffered the accident on Sunday when spectators were pushed against a wall by a faulty float at the start of the famed Sambadrome show. More »

      Reuters - UK Focus - 5 hours ago