Vancouver Olympics medal count: US chances for Day 15
The US may have to rely on short track to increase its Vancouver Olympics medal count on Day 15. But bobsled and men's hockey could take big steps toward medals today.
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Hockey (men's): It's not a medal event today, but if Team USA beats Finland in the semifinal it will be assured at least a silver – and probably a rematch with Canada. The US has put together an excellent teamm and it will face the same challenges it did against Switzerland, only more so. The Finns are well-organized and more talented than the Swiss. But the US, too, is well-organized and talented. If all goes to form this will be tough, grind-it-out hockey.
Even if they lose, however, they'd have a good shot at a bronze against probable foe Slovakia.
• American medal chances: fairly good
Snowboard (women’s parallel giant slalom): This is the one snowboarding event where the traditional European Alpine powers traditionally dominate. The twist this year is that Dutchwoman Nicolien Sauerbreij is a medal favorite. Otherwise, expect Alpine nations on the podium. The US has only one entrant.
• American medal chances: very slim (Michelle Gorgone)
Bobsled (four man): The final heats aren’t until Saturday, but heats 1 and 2 are Friday. The USA 1 sled, piloted by Steven Holcomb, is ranked No. 1 in the world and enters as the favorite. USA 2, piloted by John Napier, also has a decent shot at a medal. The competition will come from – surprise! – the Germans.
• American medal chances: very good
Short track (men’s 500 meters, women’s 1000 meters, men’s relay): A good rule of thumb is always to assume China and Korea will medal – except when they get disqualified. Korea, China, Canada, and the US dominate the sport and account for almost all the medals.
The Chinese probably have an edge over the Koreans in the women’s race. The men’s race will (again) probably come down to the Koreans against Apolo Ohno and Canadian Charles Hamelin. The Koreans will be strongest in the relay, followed by Canada and then the US and China.
• American medal chances: (men’s 500) fairly good; (women’s 1000) fairly slim; (men’s relay) fairly good