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Sweden targets record medal tally

China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-27 09:24
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Sweden has set its athletes a target of winning a record number of medals at Beijing 2022.

"Our goal is to make it Sweden's strongest Winter Olympics of all time," Swedish Olympic Committee chief executive Peter Reinebo said in a recent media release.

He added that 15 medals may be achievable, a total that would match the Scandinavian country's tally from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Sweden's 14-medal haul at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang represents the country's most successful Winter Games to date-seven medals were gold, six were silver and only one was a bronze. The Sochi tally was divided into two gold, seven silver and six bronze.

Sweden finished sixth in the medal standings in Pyeongchang, while the country with a population of just 10.4 million boasted the most successful women's squad.

"The medal outcome was formidable in 2014 as well as in 2018 and while it will be very difficult to match those results, the squad that we send to Beijing is slightly stronger than the one that competed in Pyeongchang," Reinebo said.

The SOC announced on Monday that Sweden will send 116 athletes-its largest Winter Olympic squad ever-to Beijing.

So far this season, Swedish athletes have won more than 25 World Cup events in five different winter sports.

Among their biggest medal hopes is speed skater Nils van der Poel, who holds world records in the 5,000m, which he set in December, and 10,000m.

Sweden also has high hopes in biathlon, especially for the women's team spearheaded by sisters Hanna and Elvira Oberg. Their teammates have also done well in the World Cup lately, making a relay medal very possible.

Even in the absence of the Oberg sisters, the women's relay team finished second at a recent World Cup event in Ruhpolding, Germany.

One of the team members was Stina Nilsson, who claimed four cross-country skiing medals in Pyeongchang. Despite being somewhat of a biathlon rookie, she was recently selected to represent Sweden in the sport in Beijing.

Although not as successful as their female counterparts this winter, Sweden's men's biathlon team is also expected to contend for medals in Beijing. The Swedish men have performed particularly well on the shooting range at previous Games.

Three of Sweden's four male biathletes for Beijing 2022 were in the team that won the 2018 Olympic men's relay.

The biathlon mixed relay also offers Sweden hope of a podium finish.

Sweden's cross-country skiing team looks set to uphold the country's strong tradition in the grueling sport-especially the women's squad which has enjoyed plenty of World Cup success this season.

Alpine skier Sara Hector has been in formidable form this month, racking up a string of World Cup medals, while Sandra Naslund is a force to be reckoned with in ski cross.

Although billed as a favorite in slopestyle and Big Air at the last two Winter Games, freeskier Henrik Harlaut has yet to claim an Olympic medal.

Over the last decade, the 30-year-old has won several Winter X Games medals, so once again enters the Olympics as one of the big favorites.

Sweden is also a very strong curling nation, with the sport popular among Swedish TV viewers.


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