The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, are about one year away. And if they were being held today, it's a pretty safe bet that Canada would on its way to an excellent showing. What are we using to make such claims? Did we fashion a crystal ball from sea ice off the coast of Baffin Island?
Nope. We're just looking at the latest medal chart for the World Cup circuit. On it, Canada has 35 gold, 27 silver, and 34 bronze, for a total of 96 medals. Only Germany has more (49 G, 42 S, 36 B, 127 total), while the United States is close behind (32 G, 27 S, 33 B, 92 total). So what is this "World Cup circuit" anyway?
It has nothing to do with soccer
The World Cup circuit is a grouping of gold, silver, and bronze medals won in a huge variety of winter sports. The list of sports includes (deep breath!)...
...alpine skiing, cross country, biathlon, bobsleigh, figure skating, freestyle skiing, luge, nordic combined, speed skating, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, and snowboarding! (Whew!)
Each of these sports have their own series of World Cup events each year. Bundle them all together, and you get a total World Cup circuit medal count!
Why it matters
The World Cup circuit matters because all of these events are included in the Winter Olympics every four years. By combining all of these events together, you can get a very good indication of how well a country's team will do at an Olympics. And these results don't include winter team sports such as hockey and curling, which Canada traditionally does very well at. In other words, we've got a lot to look forward to at Pyeongchang!
This past week, Canadians won gold in the cross country, skeleton, and men's and women's moguls events (in fact, the women swept the podium, winning gold, silver and bronze!). They also added a silver medal in women's bobsleigh, thanks to the team of Melissa Lotholz and Olympic hero Kaillie Humphries.
Always something going on
So far, 347 total events have been played across the World Cup circuit. Most of these sports have a season that begin around October/November and go until mid- to late March. In fact, this weekend has events in every one of these sports (except for biathlon and short track). So if you're interested, take your pick and watch the excitement for yourself!