There is no need to watch the Winter Olympics, were you so inclined. The most important aspect to the Games — the determination of the best country in the world as indicated by raw medal count — has been predicted, and it is Germany. The United States, you'll be happy to know, is second.
Without beating around the bush, here is our prediction for who will take home the most medals (gold, silver, and bronze combined):
|South Korea||14||Slovak Rep.||2|
|Czech Rep.||6||United Kingdom||1|
How did we figure this out? Well, math. Sort of.
We pulled the entire history of the Winter Olympics, from the 1924 Games in Chamonix, France, to the 2010 Games in Vancouver, and evaluated how various countries had performed over time. The all-time leader is Norway, with just over 300 Winter Games medals. The United States is second.
Norway, however, is back-loaded; most of its medals happened prior to 1980. We were interested in two things: the recent trend in medal counts and how home-field advantage plays a role.
So here are the all-time trends in total medal count for each of our top 10 predicted winners. The 2014 prediction is included; to determine what it would be, we extrapolated outward from the 1980 to 2010 medal totals.
Germany (inc. East and West)
Russia (inc. USSR)
Notice the drop-off this year for Canada. That's because the 2010 Games were in Vancouver. Since 1988, a Winter Olympics host country won on average of about 28 percent fewer medals the next Games. But Russia is expected to do better than average; host countries see an average doubling of what they won the Games prior. (The notable exception is Italy in 2006.)
So there you have it. Basic math suggests a good year for the Germans. Could this be wrong? Oh man, yes. Ha ha ha ha. Yes. Very much so. But if it is right? We will probably erase this paragraph, with the exception of this: We told you so.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.