The Most Successful Winter Olympic Nations
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games are finally here and we cannot wait but dive into the atmosphere of this “most wonderful time of the year”. We are sure that Andy Williams would not mind that we stole his words sung in 1963, times so different from the situation in which today's Olympians compete.
The Olympic village has already welcomed most winter athletes who are eagerly making their last preparations or have already started contending. These Games will be unique in many aspects, the most significant being that Beijing is the first city ever to host both summer and winter Olympics. The Chinese city is not close to the mountains as you may think, but it has high-level facilities and infrastructure that were recently transformed from summer to winter sporting venues.
No matter if you are an avid punter or just an enthusiastic sports fan, we invite you to take a look at our article outlining the most successful Olympic nations and the athletes that are most likely to conquer this year’s medals.
The Most Successful Olympic Nations
|№||Nation||Number of Olympic Medals||Beijing Most Medals Odds|
*ROC (Russian Olympic Committee)
Norway is the undisputed Winter Olympics master since it has stood out among all other nations from the very beginning of the Games in 1924. This relatively small Scandinavian country has won the impressive 368 Olympic medals, many more than any other nation. Norway has been a Winter Olympic Games leader multiple times - 1924, 1928, 1936, 1948, 1952 (host), 1968, 1994 (host), 2002 (gold medals), 2014 (gold medals), and 2018.
It seems that Norway's dominance will continue in Beijing 2022. The honor of the country will be defended by 83 athletes distributed in 9 disciplines - alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, curling, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, snowboarding, and speed skating. The team is led by the magnificent Marit Bjørgen.
Whatever we say about her wouldn’t be enough. The cross-country skier was on the top of the medal table at the 2010 Winter Olympics with five medals (three gold). She has participated in five Olympic Games. In the 2018 Pyeongchang Games the total number of her medals reached 15, the greatest achievement in Winter Olympics history.
Looking back to all the preceding Winter Olympic Games, we see that the US has participated in all the 23 editions of the most significant event in the field of winter sports. In terms of medals won, the country drops behind Norway with 63. So far, the United States of America have won 305 medals, 105 gold, 112 silver, and 88 bronze. The country has hosted the Games four times - 1932 in Lake Placid, 1960 in Squaw Valley, 1980 again in Lake Placid, and 2002 in Salt Lake City.
It is no wonder that the Americans are the biggest squad to arrive in Beijing. 224 winter athletes will compete in 15 sports and will try to strengthen the position of the US as one of the best Winter Olympic nations. With so many competitors performing well this season, it is hard to distinguish the most successful one. However, we cannot miss saying a few words about Mikaela Shiffrin.
The 26-year old alpine skier is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, has won the Overall World Cup three times, and the world title in slalom, to name just a part of her accomplishments. We will see her in Beijing's slalom, giant slalom, and downhill. Shiffrin is under great pressure since everybody at home expects her to become the all-time most awarded alpine skier.
In third place in terms of Olympic medals won, Germany shows up with 240. It has managed to do this in just 12 editions of the Olympic Games, twice less than Norway and the US, a fact that makes the achievement even more impressive. The most successful Games for the country were 1992 Albertville, 1998 Nagano, and 2006 Turin when Germany was on the top of the medals table. We must clarify that German athletes have not participated just in Chamonix (1924) and St. Moritz (1948) but due to the amendable status of the country through the years the results of East Germany and West Germany have not been included in the discussed statistics.
We went through the 2022 Olympic team and there is no way not to meet you with Claudia Pechstein, the lady that will be 50 years old just a few days after the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games end.
In her rich career, the German speed skater has won 9 Olympic medals - 5 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze. Pechstein is the first female Winter Olympic athlete to win medals in five consecutive Games (1992-2006). It remains to be seen how successful will be these eighth Olympic Games for Claudia Pechstein, all her fans keep their fingers crossed.
Austria may not be the overall most successful Winter Olympic nation but it certainly rules the world of alpine skiing. And how could it be otherwise given that this is the homeland of great athletes like Herman Maier (the Herminator), Benjamin Raich, Mario Matt, Marlies Schild, and so many more? Оut of a total of 232 medals, 121 are namely in the discipline of alpine skiing. As with Germany, the Games in Albertville and Turin are the most victorious, with 21 and 23 medals, respectively.
The country arrives in Beijing with 64 male and 42 female athletes in twelve sports. Contrary to expectations, we decided to introduce you more closely not to one of the twenty-two alpine skiers, but to the hope for a gold medal in snowboarding - Anna Gasser.
The famous Austrian snowboarder competes in the slopestyle and big air disciplines, with her greatest success being of course the 2018 Olympic title. Anna Gasser is the first female athlete in this sport to perform a double salto backwards with a half-turn. In 2017, Anna was announced by ESPY for Best Female Action Sports Athlete.
Another country that has never missed the Olympic Games is Canada. What is more, it was the first nation to win 14 gold medals in one edition of the competition, a record that was later only matched by Germany and Norway in Pyeongchang in 2018. Canada has hosted the Olympic Games twice, in Calgary in 1988, and Vancouver in 2010. As for the winter sports the country competes in, the ones with the greatest number of wins are speed skating and short track. At the other extreme are Nordic combined and ski jumping where a Canadian athlete has never reached a podium position.
The retired two-time Olympic champion Catriona Le May Doan is head of mission of the Canadian delegation this year. Canada is coming to Beijing 2022 with its third-largest group of 215 athletes. They will measure swords with competitors in 14 disciplines.
Marie-Philip Poulin-Nadeau is an exceptionally successful female ice hockey player, currently a captain of the national team. Together with her teammates, she has won two world titles and two Olympic titles. Her nickname is Captain Clutch given to her after she scored the game-winning goal both in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics. At the 2021 IIHF Women's World Championship Marie-Philip Poulin-Nadeau scored such a goal again and now is the holder of a "golden goal hat trick" at major international championships.
The Soviet Union comes in sixth place in terms of Olympic medals won - 194. The significance of this achievement is far higher though if we take into account the fact that these 78 gold, 57 silver, and 59 bronze medals were collected during only 9 Olympic Games. If we add the 121 medals won by Russia after the political changes and the 17 under the ROC flag, the overall number grows dramatically.
But we are not here so much to do mathematical calculations, but rather to acquaint you with interesting information about the teams so that all you have to do is enjoy the competition. And why not make an online bet?
In Beijing 2022 you won’t see the Russian national flag but again the one of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) due to the huge doping scandal a few years ago. Sport analysts and bookmakers predict that this year’s Olympics will be victorious for the ROC and they will be among the top three nations. Just a tiny part of the Russian athletes most likely to touch the Olympic gold are the teenage figure skating sensation Kamila Valieva, the cross-country skier Alexander Bolshunov, and the men's national ice hockey team.
The beautiful 15-year old Russian skater Kamila Valeryevna Valieva is breaking record after record and is changing the world of female figure skating. To name just a few of her accomplishments, we will mention that she is the 2022 European champion, the 2021 Rostelecom Cup champion, the 2021 Skate Canada International champion, and the 2022 Russian national champion. Kamila holds the current world record for the women's short program, free skating, and total scores. We cannot wait to see if she will reach the success of Tara Lipinski, who won the title in the 1998 Olympics at the age of 15 years and 255 days.
Finland is the second Scandinavian country that has deserved to be among the top 10 Winter Olympic nations. The country has never missed the Winter Olympic Games since their start in 1924. Most triumphs of the Finnish winter athletes are in Nordic combined, ski jumping, speed skating, and cross-country skiing. The latter is considered a national sport in Finland and people say that as soon as children learn how to walk, they put skis on.
Finnish athletes with remarkable achievements at the Winter Games are the figure skater Clas Thunberg who won 7 medals (5 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze) and Matti Nykänen who collected 4 gold and 1 silver medals in ski jumping. Famous for his persistence is another ski jumper Janne Ahonen who competed in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics at the age of 40.
In Beijing 2022, Finland will be represented by 95 winter athletes in alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and snowboarding. One of the most decorated Finnish representatives this year is Iivo Henrik Niskanen.
Niskanen has been a participant in the FIS Cross-Country World Cup since 2011. His first victory is on 30 November 2014 when he was the winner of the 15 km classic race in Ruka, Finland. The biggest achievements of Henrik Niskanen so far are the two Olympic titles, in the men's team sprint at the 2014 Winter Olympics with Sami Jauhojärvi and in 2018 when he became the individual Olympic champion on the men's 50 km classic race.
It is time for another cross-country master - Sweden. More than half of the country’s Olympic medals (80 out 158) are from this discipline with 57 being gold. As for the most victorious Swedish winter athletes through the years, these are Sixten Jernberg, Gunde Svan, and Thomas Wassberg, each of them with 4 Olympic titles. A quite interesting fact about Sweden is that the Nordic country has been much more successful in the Summer Olympics where it has won the impressive 503 medals.
The 2022 Swedish Olympic team is probably one of the youngest since a great part of the athletes are debutants at this major sporting event. Nonetheless, the local Olympic committee recently challenged them to win a record number of medals in Beijing. Among the most promising members of the Swedish squad this year is the biathlete Hanna Öberg.
Hanna started competing in the biathlon World Cup in 2017 when she was announced as the IBU Female Rookie of the Year. She didn’t have to wait long for her first victory, it came just a year later in Pyeongchang where she surprisingly became an Olympic champion in the Individual. What a start, isn’t it? In Beijing, she is accompanied by her younger sister Elvira Öberg. Elvira is a prospective future star with her most impressive a chievement so far being the three gold medals in the youth category at the 2018 Biathlon Junior World Championships in Otepää.
In the ninth place, we find Switzerland, a winter Olympic nation with a marked focus on alpine skiing. Those who are keen on watching slalom, giant slalom, super G, and downhill know pretty well that there is always a Swiss who can mess up the plans of the ever-multitudinous and ambitious Austrian team. Just think about Lara Gut, Carlo Yanka, Daniel Albrecht, and Didier Cuche, and you will understand what we are talking about.
Switzerland is coming to Beijing with quite a large team. 167 Swiss athletes will do their best to win the medals in 13 disciplines. Excluding ice hockey where the country has qualified both its men’s and women’s teams, the sports with the greatest number of contestants are alpine and freestyle skiing.
The most experienced Swiss representative at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games is Simon Amman who is at the Games for the seventh time.
Simi Amman is one of the most decorated ski jumpers in history. He has four Olympic titles under his belt and is the first and only athlete to achieve a double-double during the Olympic Games. The 40-year old started his career at 16 years of age and so far has won the 2007 Ski Jumping World Championships, the 2010 Ski Flying World Championships, the 2010 Nordic Tournament, and the 2010 Ski Jumping World Cup overall title.
We are closing the list of the ten most successful Winter Olympic nations with the Netherlands which has collected 45 gold, 44 silver, and 41 bronze medals so far. If it wasn’t for speed skating, we wouldn’t have grounds to talk about the country at all since 121 of the 130 medals are from this discipline. The only other sports with relatively successful Dutch participants are short track, figure skating, and snowboarding.
Just before the Olympics, there were some murmurs in the team, caused by strange decisions of the local speed skating federation. For example, we won’t see Dai Dai N’tab in Beijing although he finished second in the national qualifications. Also, Marcel Bosker will represent the Netherlands in the 1,500 meters discipline no matter he finished after Patrick Roest at the Nationals.
However, nobody is saying a word against the participation of Suzanne Schulting in Beijing.
Schulting won the first-ever Dutch Olympic title in short track speed skating in Pyeongchang 2018. The 24-year old from Groningen has been an overall World Champion two times, in 2019 and 2021, and is also a three-time overall European Champion (2019, 2020, 2021). It is very likely that Suzanne Schulting will strengthen her position as the dominating athlete in her sport.
Final words about the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
We have to admit that our team had a great time collecting the above information about the strongest Winter Olympic countries and their most prominent athletes. What we are sure about is that the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games have all prerequisites to become very exciting and to make us witness exceptional excellence in the athletes’ performance.
It will be interesting to see if the positions in our ranking will remain the same or there will be some shifts. According to Winter Olympics bookmakers’ odds, the undisputable favorite to win the most medals in Beijing is Norway. The country enters the competition with odds of - 650, while the score for the runner-ups (Germany and ROC) is +800.
The world’s first-class alpine skiers, curlers, figure skaters, snowboarders, bobsledders, and hockey players are definitely worth watching, so grab the Olympic schedule and let’s go to Beijing at least virtually.