Cortina 2021: Which country wins the most medals?
It ain’t Austria
Yes, the men also have a World Cup. We just don’t break it down like the ladies because Alexis Pinturault, Marco Schwarz and Marco Odermatt weren’t raised in EagleVail and don’t live in Edwards.
But we’ve got great racing in the next two weeks on the men’s side at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Cortina, Italy, and here’s our biennial, useless exercise in trying to predict the madness. As always, this is strictly for recreational purposes. We don’t endorse an office pool or any other form of gambling like that.
No, sir. No way.
At the time of this exercise, the men still have one more weekend of speed — a downhilll and super-G in Garmisch, Germany, Nonetheless, there have been four super-Gs to date and four different winners — Switzerland’s Mauro Caviezel, Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (injured and out), American Ryan Cochran-Siegle (injured and questionable) and Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr.
So that’s no help. RCS is a huge question mark after his crash in Kitzbuehel, Austria. If he makes it back, it’s a triumph in itself.
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We’re taking Kriechmayr if for no other reason that if the Austrians don’t win a gold in speed at worlds, their country could spontaneously combust. (You think I’m joking, but I’m not.) Switzerland’s Odermatt takes silver and Austria’s Matthias Mayer gets bronze.
Country G . S . B . Tot
Switzerland . 2 5 0 7
Austria . 2 1 3 6
Italy . 2 1 2 5
France . 1 2 1 4
Slovakia . 2 1 0 3
USA 0 1 2 3
Norway . 0 0 2 2
Czech Rep. 1 0 0 1
Please note we do not project parallel events or the team competition as we are purists.
Expect chaos. Again, just like the ladies, combined has not been contested this season. What’s more, the top 11 super-G — the downhill element of this combined — racers in the world have no slalom points. No. 12 in the super-G points is France’s Pinturault.
By the way, the top six slalom skiers in the world have no super-G points this year. No. 7 in the slalom points is Pinturault.
So let’s call it Pinturault, Switzerland’s Loic Meillard and Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen.
Switzerland’s Beat Feuz won the Wengen, Switzerland, downhill in Kitzbuehel (COVID relocation) and then won the actual Kitzbuehel downhill two weekends ago. Winning twice at Kitz does it for me.
Feuz, Mayer and Italy’s Dominik Paris.
Giant slalom, Feb. 19
There’s no Marcel Hirscher (retired) and American Ted Ligety is likely not going to be a factor. Times have changed here. Also, American Tommy Ford is out with an injury, and, with him, goes America’s best chance of a medal.
This is a Pinturault-Odermatt showdown, and we’ll go with Odermatt with Norway’s Lucas Braathen in third.
And, yes, we’re rooting madly for local River Radamus to make the flip.
Slalom, Feb. 21
Austria’s Schwarz is the prohibitive favorite. No pressure there being the Austrian expected to win. Just ask Hirscher who needed four cracks at worlds before winning the GS in 2017 or his third and last try at the 2018 Olympics to strike gold.
Schwarz, Switzerland’s Ramon Zenhaeusern and France’s Clement Noel, and best of luck to local Alex Leever.