February 18, 2010

2010 Olympics Day 5

Unnoticed Noteworthy Performance for Day 5

For Day 5 I had a tough time finding an unexpected, non-medal, overachieving performance for Canada. It was one of those days. Due congratulations to Marianne St. Gelais for her silver in the short track 500 m yesterday, but the medal disqualifies her from consideration.

I'm going to name two co-recipients for yesterday. Both of them probably had dreams of getting on the podium, and missed; nevertheless I think that the performances were noteworthy and overshadowed.

Whistler native Britt Janyk finished sixth in the women's downhill yesterday, the best Canadian result in the premier alpine event since 1994. American Lindsey Vonn absolutely dominated the field, with her teammate Julia Mancuso the only competitor to come within a second of her time.

The second co-recipient for Day 5 is short track speedskater Jessica Gregg. Gregg did not have a great race in the 500 m final last night, but she got into the final by being great in the preliminary rounds. She finished fourth after a restart. Gregg will turn 22 in March, and is in her first Olympic Games.

Medal Prediction

Alright, I know I'm falling behind! It's nice to know that somebody's reading … even if it is to nag.

Canada "lost" another 0.7 medals yesterday, compared to my prediction. The short track women's 500 m was a good chance for two medals, so to win one was not enough to boost us back over my predicted pace.

I suspect that there are a number of Canadians starting to think that reaching the top of the medal table is going to be very tough. I agree. In fact, I agreed from the outset. To add to that feeling, the US team has exceeded my expectations a bit. However, there is still lots of reason to think that the highly-publicized Own the Podium goal can be achieved.

First of all, let's look at my own prediction. It's true that so far the team is tracking a little bit under my initial prediction, as shown in the figure at the end of this post. But don't forget that I have tended (in the past) to be pessimistic about Canada's chances. And even according to my prediction, after the results of day 5 our chances of reaching 30 medals or more has decreased from about 25% to about 9%. A couple of days of winning two medals per day would recover essentially all of what's been "lost."

Second, let's look at some of the other predictions that were made before the Games. As previously noted, the Associated Press predicted that Canada would win 30 medals, and that they would have won 7 by the end of day 5. So we're only "down" by one on that front. Sports Illustrated also predicted 30 medals, but only six by the end of day 5, so we're even on that one. And the Canadian Press predicted a ridiculous 37 medals for Canada — remember that nobody won more than 29 in Torino — so the fact that we're "only" at six compared to the 10 predicted by Day 5 is not that disturbing.

In short, there are still lots of ways that Team Canada can get to 30 medals. I don't know for sure if that will be enough. As I said above, the US team is lapping the field at the moment. In Torino they "only" won 25 medals and they are going to have more than 15 medals after Day 6 this time. But I can say that Canadian experts fully expected to get their biggest medal surge in the last few days of the games.

Sport Event Athlete Category Result Impact
Initial Prediction         27.05
Day 1         -0.75
Day 2         +0.45
Day 3         -0.50
Day 4         +0.00
Alpine Ski Downhill - W Brydon, Emily Possibility 16th -0.35
Alpine Ski Downhill - W Janyk, Britt Outside 6th -0.10
Speed Skating - ST 500 m - W Roberge, Kalyna Strong 6th -0.65
Speed Skating - ST 500 m - W Gregg, Jessica Outside 4th -0.10
Speed Skating - ST 500 m - W St. Gelais, Marianne Outside SILVER +0.90
Speed Skating - LT 1,000 m - M Morrison, Dennis Outside 13th -0.10
Cross Country Ski Sprint - W Renner, Sara Outside 34th -0.10
Cross Country Ski Sprint - W Crawford, Chandra Outside 26th -0.10
Snowboard Halfpipe - M Lamoureux, Justin Outside 7th -0.10
Day 5         -0.70
Current         25.55

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