Scandinavian rivalry to top Olympic medal table to intensify over final weekend

Should Sweden win gold in the women’s football today, you’d imagine it would be game over for Denmark’s dreams of becoming the region’s top dog for the third successive games. But seriously, the nation could still win two more golds!

The Danish are often described as a homogenous nation, so it might not surprise you to learn they’ve been remarkably consistent at the Olympic Games of late.

At the last three games, starting with 2016 in Rio, they finished 28th, 30th and 30th in the medal table. Somebody alert the Twilight Zone!

This time around, they sit in 27th place with two and a half days to go.

“Eh, ah, eh, uh; Eh, ah, eh, uh, Eh, ah, eh, uh, Eh, ah, eh, uh.” 

Best in Scandinavia?
Again they are on the verge of claiming Scandinavian top dog bragging rights.

In both 2016 and 2012, they saw off Sweden (29th and 37th) and Norway (74th and 34th), so surely nothing can upset the applecart this time around?

Well, one bad apple in fact.

Big football game
The results of two major finals in the 30 hours will surely determine which nation finishes top of the Scandinavian medal table.

Sweden currently lead Denmark by three places, sitting 24th with two golds (like their southern neighbours) but with a 5-2 silver superiority.

Should they beat Canada in the final of the women’s football, which kicks off at 14:00 EST today, Denmark will need two golds to overhaul them.

We’ll need a lot of birdies
Denmark, as favourites to win the men’s gold medal handball match on Saturday at 14:00 EST, are well placed to win one, but where might the other come from?

Well, there’s the women’s golf, but it looks like a long shot. By the time Denmark wakes up tomorrow, they’ll know whether Emily Kristine Pedersen, in equal third place going into the final round, has pulled off a miracle.

She currently trails Nelly Korda by five strokes, while her compatriot Nanna Koerstz Madsen is a further two shots back in equal seventh place. 

Fairy-tale in the madison?
But don’t write off Denmark in the men’s madison in which 2012 omnium gold medallist Lasse Norman Hansen is lining up with road race leadout specialist Michael Morkøv. 

They were 2020 world champions, and TV2 rated them as Denmark’s second best chance of gold ahead of the Olympics.

While Hansen is bristling after narrowly missing out in the 4,000-metre pursuit, for the highly experienced Tour de France racer Morkøv, 36, gold would be the fitting culmination of a career helping others to success in World Tour events and winning world championships in the madison dating back to 2009.

Norway not far behind .. but probably far enough
Last but not least, there’s Norway.

Thanks to the exploits of the Boy Wonder in the 400-metre hurdles, they’re currently 28th in the medals table, also with two golds and two silvers, but with a fewer number of bronzes than Denmark. 

Could they spring a surprise and overtake their Scandinavian cousins? 

Nah, doubt it! Best leave that to the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February.