Olympics Day 12: What are US medal chances today?

Tuesday's best chances for the US to win Olympic medals come in the team Nordic combined event and the men's giant slalom, where Ted Ligety and Bode Miller will ski.

Ted Ligety's dominating performance in the slalom run on Sunday's combined sets him up well for Tuesday's Olympic giant slalom in Whistler, British Columbia.

With seven days of competition remaining in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the race for the overall lead in the medals table is coming down to Germany (21) and the United States (25).

Here is a brief look at American chances in medal events for Tuesday, Day 12.

Speedskating (men’s 10,000 meters): The long distance events are dominated by Dutchmen Sven Kramer and Bob de Jong, with Norwegian Håvard Bøkko and Russian Ivan Skobrev also favorites. Expect Kramer to win gold.

• American medal chances: almost none

Biathlon (women’s 4x6 km relay): This is the Germans’ gold to lose, and it would put them (at least temporarily) atop the gold-medal standings, with eight.

• American medal chances: none

Alpine skiing (men’s giant slalom): Can America continue its streak of winning at least one medal per event at this Olympics? American Ted Ligety is leading the World Cup standings in the giant slalom, but he has not dominated the discipline the way, say, Lindsey Vonn has dominated downhill. Still, his slalom run in the combined Sunday was inspired, suggesting that he is dialed in.

Bode Miller has focused on speed events in recent years, and his giant slalom form has slipped from the days when he was winning the World Cup giant slalom title (2004) and the Olympic silver medal (2002). Normally, he would not be considered a realistic contender, but given how he has skied this Olympics, he can’t be counted out.

In a very even field, any number of skiers could be counted medal favorites, including Austria’s Benjamin Raich, the current overall World Cup leader.

• American medal chances: good (Ligety, Miller)

Nordic combined (4x5 km relay): US skiers finished 2-4-6 in the first Nordic combined race this Olympics – the first medal ever for the US in Olympic Nordic combined. The result also showed the depth of the team. Though the US’ fourth skier in the relay finished 36th in the race, the US remains a strong favorite for a medal.

Other contenders include all the traditional powers: Germany, Austria, Finland, Norway, and France.

• American medal chances: very good

Freestyle skiing (women’s ski cross): This would appear to be a battle between the favorite, Frenchwoman Ophelie David, and three Canadians – Ashleigh McIvor, Kelsey Serwa, and Julia Murray. It is almost inconceivable that the Canadians wouldn’t take at least one medal in this event, and they could take more.

• American medal chances: almost none

Figure skating (women's individual): Technically, this is not a medal event Tuesday. The short program is today, followed by the long program Thursday. But since it's often the biggest event on the Olympic card for Americans, I'll include it.

The quest for gold is a two woman race. South Korea's Kim Yu-Na is the prohibitive favorite. But if she falters, Japan's Mao Asada can take it from her with a great skate. It's hard to see anyone else winning gold.

Japan's Miki Ando and Akiko Suzuki are also medal contenders, as is Canada's Joannie Rochette, who says she will skate despite her mother dying last week. Canada will understandably be behind her 100 percent, come what may.

Americans Rachel Flatt and Mirai Nagasu are long shots, though Nagasu is an up-and-coming talent coached by Frank Carroll, who also coaches gold medalist Evan Lysacek.

• American medal chances: slim


Mark 'fesses up to all his bad forecasts on his Olympic Twitter feed and his Facebook page.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.