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Olympics-China expected to reap record medal haul at Beijing Games say analysts

Randy Mancini 27 Feb 2
Cross-Country Skiing - Training
2022 Beijing Olympics - Cross-Country Skiing - Training - National Cross-Country Centre, Zhangjiakou, China - February 2, 2022. An athlete of China in action during training. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

February 2, 2022

By Martin Quin Pollard

BEIJING (Reuters) – China are predicted to win a record 13 Olympic medals, including a record six golds, at this month’s Beijing Winter Games, according to a Virtual Medal Table forecast from data analysts Nielsen Gracenote published on Wednesday.

    Such a bumper haul would beat China’s previous best of 11 medals, including five golds, from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

It would also be a vast improvement on the 2018 Pyeongchang Games where Team China won one gold, placing them 16th in the medals table.

    There is more “uncertainty” in this forecast than usual because of a dearth of data on Chinese athletes who largely did not compete in international competitions in the 2020/21 season, but gains are expected from sports where the country already has some “pedigree”, the firm said.

    “Chinese success at these Winter Olympics will be focused on sports in which they have previously had Olympic medal success – figure skating, freestyle skiing, short track, snowboard and speed skating,” said Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis at Gracenote.

    All but one of China’s previous 62 Winter Olympic medals have been won in these five sports. The other was a bronze in curling at the Vancouver Olympics.

    China’s potential gold medal winners include American-born freestyle skier Eileen Gu, the figure skating pair of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong and short track speed skater and reigning Olympic Champion Wu Dajing.

The short track relay teams also have a decent shot at gold including in the mixed relay, a new event for the 2022 Games. 

Last week Chinese President Xi Jinping said he does not care how many golds China wins at the Beijing Olympics in an apparent effort to play down a focus on the medals table.

But speaking to Xinhua on Sunday the Secretary-General of China’s Winter Olympic delegation, Ni Huizhong, was more bullish.

“The delegation is eyeing the best Winter Games performance while ensuring no doping cases,” Ni said.

“Our athletes will display their sportsmanship and also abide by all the pandemic control rules.”

China has invested heavily in winter sports since winning the right to host the Games in 2015 and will field its largest ever contingent of 176 athletes at the Beijing Olympics.

The country will compete in 104 of 109 events at the Games including 35 for the first time, such as in men’s ice hockey.

(Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard; Editing by Ken Ferris)