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Sochi Games: PwC predicts nice showings by Austria, Russia

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Along with its Global Economy Watch report issued today, the folks at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) put their analytic skills to work at predicting medal tallies for the 2014 Winter Olympics. While it certainly doesn’t take a genius to reckon the top three finishers to be the US, Germany and Russia, PwC does show some gutsiness a bit further down their standings board.http://www.pwc.co.uk/economic-services/global-economy-watch/predictions-for-winter-olympics-feb14.jhtml

Applying a similar metric to that used to forecast the 2012 Summer Games, the PwC team factored in total national GDP, ski resorts per capita in the given country, amount of snowfall, previous Winter Olympics results, sporting tradition and the very tangible home-field advantage (more on this momentarily).

Throwing all variables into the calculation, the top of PwC’s medal table runs as follows.

  1. 1. United States – 35 medals (37 won in 2010)
  2. 2. Germany – 26 (30)
  3. 3. Russia – 25 (15)
  4. 4. Canada – 23 (26)
  5. 5. Austria – 22 (16)
  6. 6. Norway – 21 (23)
  7. 7. China – 15 (11)
  8. T8. Sweden – 10 (11)
  9. T8. Switzerland – 10 (9)

Winners and losers? Aside from Russia, always among the chief competitors in international sport competition, the big gain is in Austria. Traditionally dominant in alpine skiing events, PwC is looking for these 130 athletes to increase the winnings a bit.

Russia’s bid at these Games will certainly be buoyed by the hosting advantage: The statistics show that in the last five Winter Olympics, the home country has received quite a bump in overall medal count four times. Excepting Italy’s performance in 2006, a host nation in recent years has enjoyed a whopping 160% increase in medal count from the previous Games.

Meanwhile: Oh, Canada! By PwC’s reckoning, the nation who bagged the third-most hardware in Vancouver, including a Games-best 14 golds will slip to fourth in Sochi. And where is South Korea on this table? Winners of 37 speed-skating medals overall at the Olympics, South Korean skaters took six golds at the Vancouver Games to go with six silvers and a couple bronzes and a sixth-place finish on the 2010 table.

In all, an interesting bit of speculation – and one a heck of a lot meatier than the throwaway World Cup pick published last month. Just one question for the PwC crew: Who do you have to win the hockey tournament?

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