Team Danmark had a good Olympics, but how did their predictions fare?

Six months ago, we went head-to-head with the sports body. Who won gold, and who ended up being the rower from Niger?

So the Olympics are over and Denmark’s 112 participants won nine medals, and finished in the top eight an impressive 33 times – a 75 percent increase on the 19 top eights in 2008 in Beijing. 

 

It was their best medal haul since London in 1948, where they won 20 – reaping the benefits of continuing to play sport under the Nazi occupation, it was suggested at the time by some of the sore losers. 

 

But enough of the 64-year-old bitterness that most of their rivals at the last London Games had to get by training on one egg a week, this is a time to celebrate. Whoopee!  Get the red and white flag out and shake it about.

 

“The Danish athletes have delivered great results,” enthused Niels Nygaard, the chairman of Danmarks Idræts?Forbund (DIF), the country’s  Olympic committee, in a press release. 

 

“It’s perhaps our best Olympics ever when we look at the increased international competition.  The success is largely due to the improvements made to the sporting set-up in Denmark by the DIF, combined with Team Danmark’s additional support for the elite.” 

Not always a good sign if you can fit all of your countryÂ’s medallists into the same row in a photo. (Photo: Scanpix/Michael Bothager)But just how confident were they that their improvement would pay dividends six months ago? We’re glad you asked because the Danish Olympic team, Team Danmark, in February predicted the number of medals they would get, specifying exactly which sports they would win them in, and not wanting to feel left out, The Copenhagen Post had a go as well. We argued that geography was on Denmark’s side, and that the British summer’s “windy, rainy and rarely warm” climate would suit their participants. And accordingly we went slightly higher. 

As Djeep, one of the commenters on our website, warned: “It’s wishful thinking, counting your chickens before they hatch etc! Well, who’s going to have the last laugh!” So let’s have a look, ever so slightly gloatingly, at who did. 

 

Swimming:

Team Danmark: ONE 

CPH Post: TWO

Actual Result: ZERO

Running Score: CPH Post 0, Team Danmark 0

 

Ouch, that’s a car crash of a start for both tipsters. We were super-confident Lotte Friis, 24, would medal at least once, but she came fourth and fifth in the 400-metre and 800-metre freestyles. While Rikke Moller Pedersen came fourth in the 200-metre breaststroke and Jeanette Ottesen Grey failed to mount a challenge in any of her three finals. And the others swam like lame ducks. 

 

Badminton:

Team Danmark: ONE 

CPH Post: TWO

Actual Result: TWO

Running Score: CPH Post 1 , Team Danmark 0

 

Oh yea of little faith, Team Danmark. Sure the Chinese are pretty amazing – they scooped all five golds – but your prediction proved to be a tad pessimistic, considering the Danish team’s recent form in Europe. Still it was a brave punt by the Post. Denmark had won a medal in each of the Olympics from 1992 to 2004, but in 2008 it drew a blank. Not only that, we named Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen as the country’s “best bet” and a doubles partnership involving Christinna Pedersen as their “second best hope”. Get in!

 

Rowing:

Team Danmark: ONE 

CPH Post: TWO

Actual Result: THREE

Running Score: CPH Post 1, Team Danmark 0

 

Crikey, did anyone see that one coming? While Team Danmark glumly went for one (they’re just not very good at this, are they?), the Post was clearly out of its depth, tipping Henrik Stephansen, “an insanely talented lightweight single sculler”, as the country’s best hope. Would have been nice, but they don’t race lightweight single sculls at the Olympics, and he was seriously out of his league against the big boys. Still, at least the Post suggested the lightweight coxless four and said Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist would “go close” in the lightweight double sculls.  

 

Sailing:

Team Danmark: ONE 

CPH Post: TWO

Actual Result: TWO

Running Score: CPH Post 2, Team Danmark 0

 

Predicting sports results can be a rum business. In all honesty, our knowledge of the Weymouth conditions was pretty limited, our info on the Danish entries even worse, and we’d never heard of Jonas Høgh-Christensen – and Team Danmark knew all of this and still managed to balls up their prediction. It was instinct, pure and simple, and the sailors delivered.  

 

Handball:

Team Danmark: ONE 

CPH Post: ZERO

Actual Result: ZERO

Running Score: CPH Post 3, Team Danmark 0

 

Deary me, Team Danmark are making this too easy. While the men developed a winning habit on their way to second in their group, they never looked convincing. We said that teams would be looking to stop Mikkel Hansen, and stop him Croatia and Sweden most certainly did. And let’s face it, the women never had a chance once they were drawn in the harder of the two groups.

 

Cycling:

Team Danmark: ONE 

CPH Post: ONE

Actual Result: ONE

Running Score: CPH Post 4, Team Danmark 1

 

At last, a correct prediction. So all that expertise does count for something. 

 

Tennis:

Team Danmark: ONE 

CPH Post: ZERO

Actual Result: ZERO

Running Score: CPH Post 5, Team Danmark 1

 

To be fair, Team Danmark did change their mind about Caroline Wozniacki, and this prediction was always entirely about her. But she was the same player in July as she was in February (in better form in fact), so you have to ask who’s making these calls?  

 

Other sports:

Team Danmark: ZERO 

CPH Post: ONE

Actual Result: ONE

Running Score: CPH Post 6, Team Danmark 1

 

We said “it stands to reason, Denmark will spring a surprise or two”, and they did. We said we have “a sneaky suspicion this might be in the shooting [a silver], dressage [fourth in the team event], triathlon [admittedly hopeless] or canoeing [fourth in the  men’s sprint]”, and we were right. Team Danmark weren’t. 

 

Final total:

Team Danmark: SEVEN 

CPH Post: TEN

Actual Result: NINE

Final Score: CPH Post 6, Team Danmark 1

 

But let’s not get too carried away with our win – our commenters are always there to ensure we know we’re rubbish.

 

“Shame on you Copenhagen Post!!!! I would not have thought you would start this Danish feel-good rubbish,” wrote Rugratzz when we made the predictions in February. 

 

“Were you told to write this, or did you make it up yourself? You could be right if half the world does not turn up.” 

 

If by half the world, he was talking about the wildernesses of Russia, Canada and Africa, or indeed the world’s oceans, he had a very good point. 




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