Winter Olympic Nations – Probably Not Gonna Compete

We’re in a little bit of a holding pattern while we await the IFs to publish the final lists of NOCs who have accepted their quota spots in the various 2014 sports. That should be out on Monday, the 27th. Final entries should be coming in starting that day as well.

In the interim, we’re fairly certain that the NOCs in the attached PDFs will not be competing, although all of them have competed previously at the Winter Olympics. That is because they no longer exist as nations – Czechoslovakia, Fed. Rep. of Germany (West), German Democratic Republic (East), Netherlands Antilles, Serbia & Montenegro, Soviet Union, Unified Team, and Yugoslavia. These are for historical interest only.

Previous Winter Olympic Nations – Not Competing in Sochi

The attached factsheets will give information about nations that have previously competed at the Olympic Winter Games. A few have actually qualified (Algeria, Puerto Rico, South Africa) but their NOCs have elected to not send any athletes to Sochi. There appear to be 22 nations that have previously competed at the Winter Olympics but will not be in Sochi.

We will send out the factsheets for the Sochi competing nations on Monday, after acceptances of quota spots is finalized. Tomorrow, just for historical interest, we’ll give information about those previous Winter Olympic Nations that no longer exist (Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Netherlands Antilles, East & West Germany)

New Winter Olympic Nations for Sochi

We’ll start the Sochi NOC Factsheets with the one dealing with those nations that have never before competed at the Olympic Winter Games. There appear to be 7 that will make their debut in Sochi.

Quotas for all sports have been announced. Nations are now in the process of either accepting their quotas or turning them down, and having them re-allocated to other nations. So it will be a day or two until we have more definitive information about the competing nations. Factsheets on those will follow shortly.

Olympic curling head to head

Curling may not be the most exciting sport to the uninitiated viewer, but the ice sport often brings close encounters at the Olympics. Ten teams will be taking part in both the men’s and women’s competition, and as usual they will play a round-robin tournament before heading into the playoffs.

In the men’s tournament, Canada has a positive record against all other nations in the field. An exception is technically speaking Russia, as the host nation is competing in the Olympic curling for the first time. Given their 10th place in the last Worlds, not too much should be expected of them on home ice. Great Britain – or Scotland to be more precise – and Sweden are the only nations to have taken part in all Olympic curling competitions, also competing in that almost forgotten 1924 tournament (which featured France as the third nation). Despite this long history, the Britons have never beaten Canada at an Olympics, while the Swedish curlers fear the Swiss, being down 0-6 in their matches.

Medal-wise, Canada, Norway and Switzerland are the most likely to be on the podium. Canada has won two silvers (1998, 2002) and two golds (2006, 2010), while Norway and Switzerland have won one gold each, and earned three medals in the last four Olympics. Scotland has done well at recent World Championships, though, and Sweden are the reigning World Champions.

CAN CHN DEN GBR GER NOR RUS SUI SWE USA
CAN 1-0 3-0 5-0 4-0 5-3 4-3 4-2 7-0
CHN 0-1 1-0 0-1 0-1 0-1 0-1 0-1 1-0
DEN 0-3 0-1 2-1 1-1 0-3 1-2 0-3 2-1
GBR 0-5 1-0 1-2 3-1 2-2 1-3 2-4 2-3
GER 0-4 1-0 1-1 1-3 0-4 1-3 1-3 2-2
NOR 3-5 1-0 3-0 2-2 4-0 5-2 3-1 3-2
RUS
SUI 3-4 1-0 2-1 3-1 3-1 2-5 6-0 2-2
SWE 2-4 1-0 3-0 4-2 3-1 1-3 0-6 1-4
USA 0-7 0-1 1-2 3-2 2-2 2-3 2-2 4-1

There is no nation with a positive record against all teams in the women’s competition. Both Canada and Sweden have a historically been better than six of their nine opponents. Canada has lost its only match against China, and is down 2-3 versus Switzerland. The Swedes, champions in 2006 and 2010, are 2-3 down against the Canadians, and the current host nation, Russia, is also ahead 2-1. New on the Olympic ice sheets will be South Korea, which surprisingly took 4th place in the 2012 Worlds. This brings the number of Asian nations competing to a record three.

Looking at the medal history, Canada has always been on the podium, but have only won the gold once, in 1998. Sweden appeared three times in the top three, placing third in Nagano besides their two titles. With two silvers in 2002 and 2006, the Swiss are the third most medalled nation in women’s curling. Recent World Championship medalists also include Scotland (2013 winners) and China.

CAN CHN DEN GBR JPN KOR RUS SUI SWE USA
CAN 0-1 5-0 5-1 3-1 3-0 2-3 3-2 5-0
CHN 1-0 1-0 0-1 1-0 0-1 2-0 0-2 1-0
DEN 0-5 0-1 2-2 3-1 0-3 0-3 2-3 3-1
GBR 1-5 1-0 2-2 2-2 3-0 3-1 1-5 2-2
JPN 1-3 0-1 1-3 2-2 2-1 0-3 0-4 2-2
KOR
RUS 0-3 1-0 3-0 0-3 1-2 0-3 2-1 1-2
SUI 3-2 0-2 3-0 1-3 3-0 3-0 0-4 4-0
SWE 2-3 2-0 3-2 5-1 4-0 1-2 4-0 3-1
USA 0-5 0-1 1-3 2-2 2-2 2-1 0-4 1-3

USA Sports Factsheets – the Nordic Sports

And here is the next-to-last set of USA related sports factsheets, this time for the four Nordic sports of cross-country skiing, biathlon, Nordic combined, and ski jumping. Tomorrow, we’ll finish up the USA sports factsheets with the team sports of curling and ice hockey. Later this week, now that the sports quotas have closed (19 Jan), we will start giving National Factsheets for the competing nations at Sochi.

Twins competing in the same event at the Winter Olympics

The Dutch speed skating twins Michel and Ronald Mulder have both qualified for the Sochi Olympics in the 500 m. The two are both medal hopefuls, being ranked 2nd and 5th in this season’s World Cup Standings. Twins competing in the same event at the Winter Olympics is not unique, but still relatively rare.

The first time this happened was in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936. The hockey players András and László Gergely both were forwards for the Hungarian team, which ranked 7th. Sixteen years later, twins won the first Winter Olympic medal together. Swedish hockey players Hans and Stig Andersson earned a hockey bronze in 1952. The two were born with surname Andersson, but changed their names to Tvilling before the 1956 Olympics, a name meaning “Twin” in Swedish. We are not entirely sure about the 3rd pair of twins to compete at the Winter Olympics. Sources are unclear on whether František and Steve Tikal are twins or not – they certainly are brothers. Their story is interesting nonetheles, as Steve had fled communist-ruled Czechoslovakia for the West, and represented Australia while his brother still played for their mother country.

The first gold winning twins came in 1964, again in ice hockey, with Soviet twins Boris and Yevgeny Mayorov. After retiring from active sports, Boris became coach of Spartak Moscow, while Yevgeny became the team’s director. The 1964 ice hockey event was the first competition at the winter Olympics with two twins competing, as Geza and Iuliu Szabo also played for Romania. In Sapporo 1972, the first twin sisters first competed. The Firth twins would eventually contest four Olympic Winter Games together. Sharon and Shirley were both members of the Gwich’in First Nation in Canada, and later featured in a CBC documentary called “The Olympians: The Firth Sisters”. The first mixed gender twins entered in 1976, when Christian and Karin Künzle of Switzerland ranked 7th in pairs figure skating.

At the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics, the best ever twin performance at the Winter Olympics came in the men’s slalom. Phil Mahre, already a silver medallist in 1980, claimed gold in the Olympic slalom. His twin brother Steve came second (after winning the first run) to produce the first 1-2 for twins in Winter Olympic history. After the Mahres, only one pair of twins has medalled: the Sedins. Henrik and Daniel helped Sweden win the 2006 hockey gold medal, equalling the performance of the Mayorovs. The Sedins have played together on the same team their entire professional career, both now being long time representatives of the Vancouver Canucks. In 1999, they  won the Elitserien Player of the Year together.

The full list of twins competing in the same event at the Winter Olympics:

  • András and László Gergely (Hungary) – Ice hockey 1936
  • Hans and Stig Andersson-Tvilling (Sweden) – Ice hockey 1952 & 1956
  • František and Steve Tikal (Czechoslovakia & Australia) – Ice hockey 1960 [twins not confirmed]
  • Boris and Yevgeny Mayorov (USSR) – Ice hockey 1964
  • Geza and Iuliu Szabo (Romania) – Ice hockey 1964 & 1968
  • Christer and Thommy Abrahamsson (Sweden) – Ice hockey 1972
  • Sharon and Shirley Firth (Canada) – Cross country skiing 1972 (5 km, relay), 1976 (5 km, 10 km, relay), 1980 (5 km) & 1984 (5 km, 10 km, 20 km)
  • Christian and Karin Künzle (Switzerland) – Figure skating 1976 (pairs)
  • Phil and Steve Mahre (USA) – Alpine skiing 1976 (giant slalom), 1980 (slalom, giant slalom) & 1984 (slalom, giant slalom)
  • Dorota and Małgorzata Tlałka-Mogore (Poland) – Alpine skiing 1984 (slalom)
  • Antonia and Ferdinand Becherer (West Germany) – Figure skating 1988 (pairs)
  • Catarina and Christina Eklund (Sweden) – Biathlon 1994 (7.5 km, 15 km)
  • Dmitry and Stanislav Dubrovsky (Russia) – Nordic combined 1994 (individual)
  • Kenji and Tsugiharu Ogiwara (Japan) – Nordic combined 1998 (individual, team)
  • Melanie and Maureen de Lange (Netherlands) – Short-track speed skating 1998 (relay)
  • Ben and Matt Hindle (Canada) – Bobsleigh 1998 (four-man)
  • François and Maurice Rozenthal (France) – Ice hockey 1998 & 2002
  • Nataliya and Vera Zyatikova (Belarus) – Cross-country skiing 2002 (10 km, 15 km, pursuit, relay)
  • Lanny and Tracy Barnes (USA) – Biathlon 2006 (15 km, relay)
  • Daniel and Henrik Sedin (Sweden) – Ice hockey 2006 & 2010
  • Julia and Stefanie Marty (Switzerland) – Ice hockey 2006 & 2010
  • Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux (USA) – Ice hockey 2010
  • Laura and Sara Benz (Switzerland) – Ice hockey 2010
  • Valj and Vita Semerenko (Ukraine) – Biathlon 2010 (7.5 km, 10 km, 15 km, relay)

Multiple Siblings at the Winter Olympics

The Canadian Dufour-Lapointe sisters – Chloé, Justine, and Maxime – have qualified for the Canadian 2014 Olympic team in freestyle skiing, specifically in moguls. It appears, barring some unforeseen circumstance, that all three sisters will compete together in freestyle moguls. Has this ever happened before – three siblings competing together in the same Winter Olympic event?

Sorry to disappoint the Dufour-Lapointes, but yes, it has happened before – 5 times, to be precise, but only twice before in individual events.

The first time it happened in an individual event was 1960 in women’s slalom Alpine skiing when the French Leduc sisters (Anne-Marie, Marguerite, Thérèse) all competed together. The next time was in 1976 in men’s 15 km cross-country skiing, when Argentina’s Jerman brothers all competed (Marcos Luis, Martín Tomás, Matías José). But the Dufour-Lapointes can realize that it has been 38 years since this occurred at the Winter Olympics.

The three times it has happened in team events were in 1980 ice hockey when the Šťastný brothers (Anton, Marián, Peter) competed for Czechoslovakia; in the 1988 2-man bobsled when Mexican bobsledders Jorge Tamés and José Tamés made up one Mexican team, and their brothers, Luis Adrián Tamés and Roberto Tamés made up the other Mexican team; and in the 2010 ice dancing event with Chris, Cathy, and Allison Reed, with Chris and Cathy competing for Japan, and Allison for Georgia.

In all, we can trace 19 families who have had 3 or more siblings compete at the Winter Olympics, although in most cases, not in the same event. This group is led by Spain’s Fernández Ochoa siblings (3 brothers, 2 sisters), with 5 siblings. There have been 5 cases of 4 siblings competing at the Winter Olympics, and 13 cases of 3 siblings from the same family.

Below is what we think is the entire list. Now, if you know of others, let us know, because we will admit that this is a difficult query that challenges even our extensive databases. But we think this is complete.

 

Winter Games – 5 Siblings (1)

Francisco Fernández Ochoa (M/ESP-ASK)

Juan Manuel Fernández Ochoa (M/ESP-ASK)

Luis Fernández Ochoa (M/ESP-ASK)

Blanca Fernández Ochoa (F/ESP-ASK)

Dolores Fernández Ochoa (F/ESP-ASK)

 

Winter Games – 4 Siblings (5)

Carolina Birkner (F/ARG-ASK)

Ignacio Birkner (F/ARG-ASK)

Magdalena Birkner (F/ARG-ASK)

Jorge Birkner (M/ARG-ASK)

 

Barbara Cochran (F/USA-ASK)

Lindy Cochran (F/USA-ASK)

Marilyn Cochran (F/USA-ASK)

Bob Cochran (M/USA-ASK)

 

Arnold Huber (M/ITA-LUG)

Günther Huber (M/ITA-BOB)

Norbert Huber (M/ITA-LUG)

Wilfried Huber (M/ITA-LUG)

 

Jorge Tamés (M/MEX-BOB)

José Tamés (M/MEX-BOB)

Luis Adrián Tamés (M/MEX-BOB)

Roberto Tamés (M/MEX-BOB)

 

Józef Pawlusiak (M/POL-NCO)

Stanisław Pawlusiak (M/POL-SKJ)

Tadeusz Pawlusiak (M/POL-SKJ)

Anna Pawlusiak (F/POL-CCS)

 

Winter Games – 3 Siblings (13)

Anne-Marie Leduc (F/FRA-ASK)

Marguerite Leduc (F/FRA-ASK)

Thérèse Leduc (F/FRA-ASK)

 

Evi Mittermaier (F/FRG-ASK)

Heidi Mittermaier (F/GER-ASK)

Rosi Mittermaier (F/FRG-ASK)

 

Gordy Christian (M/USA-ICH)

Rog Christian (M/USA-ICH)

Billy Christian (M/USA-ICH)

 

Denis Couttet (M/FRA-CCS)

Henri Couttet (M/FRA-ICH)

Marcel Couttet (M/FRA-ICH)

 

Dieter Delle Karth (M/AUT-BOB)

Walter Delle Karth (M/AUT-BOB)

Werner Delle Karth (M/AUT-BOB)

 

Jim Holland (M/USA-SKJ)

Joe Holland (M/USA-NCO)

Mike Holland (M/USA-SKJ)

 

Marcos Luis Jerman (M/ARG-CCS)

Martín Tomás Jerman (M/ARG-CCS)

Matías José Jerman (M/ARG-CCS)

 

Asbjørn Ruud (M/NOR-SKJ)

Birger Ruud (M/NOR-ASK/SKJ)

Sigmund Ruud (M/NOR-ASK/SKJ)

 

Cristian Simari Birkner (M/ARG-ASK)

Macarena Simari Birkner (F/ARG-ASK)

María Belén Simari Birkner (F/ARG-ASK)

 

Anton Šťastný (M/TCH-ICH)

Marián Šťastný (M/TCH-ICH)

Peter Šťastný (M/SVK/TCH-ICH)

 

Curtis Stevens (M/USA-BOB)

Paul Stevens (M/USA-BOB)

Hubert Stevens (M/USA-BOB)

 

Jukka Ylipulli (M/FIN-NCO)

Raimo Ylipulli (M/FIN-SKJ)

Tuomo Ylipulli (M/FIN-SKJ)

 

Cathy Reed (F-JPN-FSK)

Chris Reed (M-JPN-FSK)

Allison Reed (F-GEO-FSK)

 

Doping cases at the Winter Olympics

While there have been far more doping incidents at the Summer Olympics, the Winter Games have seen its fair share of scandals around performance enhancing drugs. We’ll take you through all of them.

Sapporo 1972

The first doping incident at the Winter Olympics was in 1972. West German ice hockey player Alois Schloder tested positive for ephedrine. The team doctor, Franz Schlickenrieder, first declared having no part of this, and Schloder was suspended. After returning home, it was finally found that one of the medicines he had been given by Schlickenrieder did contain ephedrine. Schloder’s name was finally cleared, and in 1976 he won a bronze medal at the Innsbruck Olympics.

Innsbruck 1976

At these Games, two medallists were caught. The first was Galina Kulakova. A three-time gold medallist in Sapporo, she finished third in the 5 km event, but tested positive for ephedrine. As this was contained in a nasal spray she had used just before the start, the IOC disqualified her for the event, but allowed her to compete in the remaining events, in which she won bronze and gold. Ice hockey player František Pospíšil played on the silver medal winning Czechoslovakian team. After the match against Poland (won 7-1), he was found to have used codeine, as part of a flu medicine. Like with Kulakova, he was allowed to continue to play in other matches, but the result against Poland was annulled.

Sarajevo 1984

The fourth doping case in Winter Olympic history was rather low profile. Mongolian cross country skier Pürevjavyn Batsükh had solidly placed in the bottom part of the field in three events before it was found that he had used methandienone, an anabolic steroid.

 Calgary 1988

The sole doping case reported in 1988 was also of little influence. The blood of Jarosław Morawiecki, a Polish hockey player, showed use of testosterone after the match against France. Morawiecki claimed it had been in the borshch that he had eaten. While still maintaining his innocence, immediately after his return from an 18-month suspension, he was suspended again for high testosterone.

Nagano 1998

After two Winter Olympics without doping cases, one of the most famous ones occurred in Nagano. Snowboarding, a new sport at these Olympics, saw its first Olympic Champion, Ross Rebagliati disqualified for marijuana traces found in his urine. The Canadian claimed it had been from second-hand smoke, and he protested the decision. Because marijuana was not found to be performance enhancing, the protest was upheld, and the gold medal was returned to Rebagliati. In 2013, Rebagliati opened a medical marijuana business.

Salt Lake City 2002

Doping-wise, the Salt Lake City Olympics meant a new low for the Winter Games. After it had become commonplace in professional cycling, the drug EPO now was popular with cross country skiers. Johann Mühlegg, a German skier competing for Spain had already won the 30 km and pursuit events before it was published that traces of EPO had been found in an out-of-competition test, after which he also won the 50 km race. While disqualified from that event immediately, he only lost his first two golds almost two years after the closing ceremony, following a lengthy case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The same fate befell two Russian cross-country stars, Olga Danilova  and Larisa Lazutina. They too had been caught out-of-competition, but it took over a year for their results to be finally cleared. Danilova had been 2nd in the 10 km and 1st in the pursuit, while Lazutina, a 5-time Olympic Champion already, had won silver in the pursuit and gold in the 15 km and 30 km.

Another medallist that fell victim to a doping suspension was Alain Baxter. On the last day of the Games, he had become the first British athlete to win a medal on snow (as opposed to ice), coming third in the slalom event. He had been unlucky enough to buy a nasal decongestant in Utah that contained methamphetamine, while the European version of the same drug was free of the substance. While he only served a short suspension, he did lose his Olympic medal.

Amid this flurry of disqualified medallists, it was hardly noticed that Vasily Pankov, a Belarussian hockey player, was also disqualified. He had been caught using nandrolone in the (lost) bronze medal match against Russia.

Several months after the Games, two Austrian cross-country skiers, Achim Walcher ] and Marc Mayer were also disqualified. While they had not been in medal contention, the IOC disqualified them for the use of blood transfusion equipment. The Austrians claimed this had been for therapeutic use, but the IOC ruled that any form of blood manipulation constitutes blood doping.

Torino 2006

Even more athletes than Salt Lake City were involved in doping irregularities in 2006, in part due to the more extensive program of out-of-competition testing. Shortly before and right after the start of the Games, a total of 12 cross country skiers received five-day starting bans after they had high hematocrit values in their blood. These can be indicative of EPO use, but all were cleared to compete afterwards. Their names:

  • Alen Abramović
  • Sean Crooks
  • Sergey Dolidovich
  • Jean-Marc Gaillard
  • Pavel Korostelev
  • Aleksandr Lazutkin
  • Nataliya Matveyeva
  • Nikolay Pankratov
  • Kikkan Randall
  • Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle
  • Robel Teklemariam
  • Leif Zimmerman (did not compete)

During an incursion in the second week of the game, four Austrian cross country skiers and two biathletes were found to be taking part in an involved blood doping schema. As with Walcher and Mayer it took some time for them to be officially disqualified. The best result of the six had been a fourth place by Wolfgang Perner in the biathlon 10 km. The disqualified athletes further included:

  • Roland Diethart
  • Johannes Eder
  • Jürgen Pinter
  • Wolfgang Rottmann
  • Martin Tauber

The only Torino competitor actually caught after a competition was Russian biathlete Olga Pylyova. After finishing second in the 15 km, she was found to have used carphedon, a stimulant.

Other Olympic hopefuls saw their participation thwarted due to infringements prior to the Olympics. Brazilian bobsledder and ex hammer thrower Armando dos Santos was sent home from the Games after the results from a test in January came in. The Australians, who had missed qualification due to Dos Santos’s team, unsuccessfully sued to be included in the Games instead.

Three more athletes missed the Games because they tried to combat hair loss. Their medicine all contained the forbidden substance finasteride.  US slider Zach Lund, Monegasque bobsledder Sébastien Gattuso and Canadian hockey goalie José Theodore all missed the Games, receiving their suspension in the week before the Games – in Lund’s case even on the day of the opening ceremony.

Vancouver 2010

After the high numbers of doping cases in 2002 and 2006, the IOC and WADA tried to catch as many athletes as possible before the Games. This seemed to have an effect as only two cases were reported. Russian hockey player Svetlana Terentyeva was reprimanded after an out-of-competition test showed presence of tuaminoheptane. As this is only prohibited in competition, she did not receive a suspension.

Kornelia Marek, a Polish cross country skier who had seen top 10 performances in Vancouver became the only athlete to be disqualified, having used rEPO.

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