The United States won its first ever medal in singles’s luge yesterday with Erin Hamlin’s bronze in women’s singles. The USA has won luge medals before but only in men’s doubles. The USA has never won a medal in biathlon but that is the only sport missing from the American Winter Olympic trophy case. How does that stand compared to other nations?
First of all, as we discussed on this blog almost a month ago, we will consider sports as all the sports and disciplines on the Olympic Program. Thus we will use 15 sports – Alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsledding, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, Nordic combined, short-track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboarding, and speed skating. We’ll skip military ski patrol, which was only an Olympic medal sport in 1924 and is somewhat similar to biathlon.
So given that, which nation has won medals in the most sports? Has any nation won medals in all the sports? The answers are the USA, sorta, and no, sorta.
Here is the list of all nations who have won medals in 10 or more sports:
CAN,12,Luge/Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping
ITA,11,Curling/Freestyle/Ice Hockey/Ski Jumping
So the USA leads with medals in 14 of the 15 available Olympic Winter sports. Or do we?
Look at the Soviet Union down at the bottom of that list with medals in 10 sports. They are missing curling, freestyle, short-track, skeleton, and snowboarding. But none of those sports were on the Olympic Program when the Soviet Union existed as a nation. So one can say that the former Soviet Union is the only nation to have won Winter Olympic medals in every sport on the Olympic Program available to them.