Beijing Olympics: the sports report reveals a growing specialization by country

Almost. A small medal is missing to equal PyeongChang’s record record in 2018, and no doubt this little nothing is enough to oscillate between satisfaction and slight bitterness when it comes to taking stock of the Blues at the Beijing Games: they bring back the same number titles (5), more silver medals (7 against 2), but in total one reward less than in South Korea (14 against 15).

→ ANALYSIS. Beijing 2022: ever more mixed Games

France, tenth, therefore fell one place in the medal table and, as always during the Olympic fortnight, had some real disappointments (Perrine Laffont on the moguls, Alexis Pinturault and Tessa Worley in alpine skiing), some nice surprises (the silver at 41 for Johan Clarey in downhill, Justine Braisaz-Bouchet’s title in biathlon), and champions perfectly on time, such as the crowning of the Gabriella Papadakis-Guillaume Cizeron tandem in ice dancing.

“A Many-Headed Monster”

With two titles and five medals in total, the biathlete Quentin Fillon Maillet is indeed the giant of the tricolor delegation. Corn “now the monster has many heads”emphasizes Martin Fourcade. “It is the training of Nordic skiing that is at the source of all thiswelcomes Fabien Saguez, the national technical director of the French Ski Federation. We are fortunate to have clubs and committees that do an admirable training job with young cross-country skiers. »

Generations of champions follow one another and biathlon alone can therefore provide half of the French medals. It competes with the Norwegian school, also at the party. The small Scandinavian country has the luxury of being at the top of the medal table, 25 of its 37 charms coming from Nordic skiing (biathlon, cross-country and combined).

→ ANALYSIS. Beijing Olympics: in biathlon, the emulation of a French team “Swiss army knife”

These Winter Games confirm it: the time is more and more for specialization. Concentrating resources on a few disciplines is the best way to shine in the final ranking. Germany is second in the medal table with 16 out of 27 medals gleaned from the Yanqing Ice Tube (7 in bobsleigh, 6 in luge, 3 in skeleton). Sixth, the Netherlands assert themselves by outrageously dominating the ice ring, with 16 of their 17 medals won in speed skating and short-track. Switzerland is carrying out a mad raid in alpine skiing, with 5 different Olympic champions, a historic first.

The triumph of Eileen Gu, the Kamila Valieva scandal

China has managed the feat of climbing onto the podium by diversifying the pleasures. Present until then exclusively on the ice, the country won 8 medals (including five gold) in snowboarding and freestyle skiing, with in particular the star Eileen Gu and her three medals (including two gold).

A champion who laughs, another who cries. These Games will also remain for this sad image: the distress of a 15-year-old girl, the skater Kamila Valieva, collapsed after her falls during the free program. Gold was promised to him, suspicions of doping came to thwart the fairy tale and to question the practices of the factory with Russian champions which reigns for eight years on the ice.

The International Skating Federation should propose next June to its delegates to vote to authorize the participation in senior competitions only to those over 17 years old. This would not be the least of the achievements of these Games.


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