With first place in the overall medal count secured, Norway now looks to break an Olympic record.
At this point, the question of who will lead the medal count in PyeongChang hasn’t just been answered; it's practically pointless. This has been Norway's Games more than any other country, as the small Scandinavian nation has run rampant in South Korea. The country long ago locked up first place at these Games; with a 10-medal lead and just two days of events to go, it’s a sure thing that Norway will beat out Canada and Germany for first place. What’s really up for grabs now is Olympic history. Norway’s 37 medals are already the most the country has ever won in a single Games, easily topping the 26 it won in Sochi in 2014 and at home in Lillehammer in ’94. But if the country can add one more to its tally, it will top the United States in 2010 for the most ever by one country in a single Winter Games.
Those odds look good, given that there are still nine events left in which Norway can finish on the podium. It took home two more in the last day of competition, with silvers in the men's biathlon 4x7.5 kilometer relay and the men's 1,000 meter speedskate. In the former, Norway's foursome was just 55 seconds off ancient rival Sweden’s gold medal time; the victory gave the Swedes just their 11th medal of the Games. In the latter, Havard Lorentzen—who skated to gold and an Olympic record in the 500 meters—finished a mere .04 seconds behind the Netherlands’ Kjeld Nuis, as the Dutch secured their eighth gold and 18th medal—all coming in speedskating.
Behind Norway, there's a bitter battle between Canada and Germany for second place. The Canadians jumped in front of the Germans on Friday by winning three medals, including gold and silver in the women's freestyle skiing ski cross big final, but they missed out on a huge and expected chance at a podium finish in curling, where the men's team was surprisingly swept off by Switzerland in the bronze medal match. Germany, meanwhile, earned a bronze in the men's biathlon relay, but the bigger prize came in hockey, where the men's team denied Canada a spot in the final in an upset win and will play the Olympic Athletes from Russia for the gold.
Speaking of Russia, the nation's athletes finally have their first gold of PyeongChang, as 15-year-old Alina Zagitova edged teammate Evgenia Medvedeva for first place in the women's figure skating event. Zagitova squeaked by Medvedeva in both the short and free skate, earning the gold by a mere point; Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond took the bronze. With Zagitova's win, the OAR now have 14 total medals—a far cry from 2014, where the Russians dominated the competition by winning 29 medals at home in Sochi, including 11 golds.
Team USA was unable to add to its medal count on Friday; the U.S. was well off the podium in the women's figure skating event, with a high finish of ninth place, while American Joey Mantia missed out on bronze in the 1,000 meter speedskate by four-tenths of a second. Team USA will win at least one medal on Saturday, though, with a guarantee of no worse than silver in men’s curling, and an American should finish on the podium in the men’s big air snowboard. As it stands now, the U.S. is fourth in the medal count, five behind Germany for third place but three ahead of fifth-place Netherlands and six up on sixth-place France. The French missed out on their likely final chance to boost that number, as their men's biathlon relay team, led by the legendary Martin Fourcade, ended up a distant fifth in that race, denying him the chance to become the first winter athlete since Norway's Ole Einar Bjørndalen to win four medals in a single Games.
Finally, the host nation picked up its 12th medal of the PyeongChang games, with South Korean speedskater Tae-yun Kim winning the bronze in the men's 1,000 meters. That boosted Korea's medal total to four golds, four silvers and four bronzes, with all but one coming on the ice in speedskating. The Koreans will have two more chances to add to that count before the Games finish with the men’s and women’s mass start finals in speedskating on Saturday, as well as at least a silver medal in women's curling, with that match against Sweden on Sunday.
For a current tally of all the medals, check out our live tracker right here.
Check back tomorrow for the latest medal count as the 2018 Winter Olympics draw to a close.