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2014 Winter Olympic speed skating predictions

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According to Raf Casert of the Associated Press on Saturday, the Netherlands have the capability to dominate the sport of speed skating at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

The real question is are they able to get into double digits like they were able to in 1998, when a strong Dutch speed skating team won 11 medals at the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano?

The answer seems to be yes, and my projections with nine days from the start of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi are that the Netherlands will win 14 speed skating medals.

The Dutch team is the strongest in the longer men's distances--specifically in the men's 5000m and 10000m. It is here where it is not out of the question that the Netherlands could sweep the podium in each discipline with Sven Kramer, Bob de Jong and Jorrit Bergsma finding their way on to the podium.

For Kramer, the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will be an attempt at redemption. At the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Kramer was disqualified in the men's 10000m for failing to change lanes.

On the ladies side, Ireen Wust, who won the gold medal in the women's 1500m at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and in the women's 3000m at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, has a chance to win four Olympic medals next month.

Team Canada is clearly in a period of transition when it comes to long track speed skating. The Canadian women have been very successful at the Olympic Winter Games since 1994, but it appears the talent has simply dried up. Christine Nesbitt of London, Ontario, who is the reigning Olympic champion in the women's 1000m, has had a poor season, but does have a chance to get on to the podium in the women's team pursuit and help a Canadian team bounce back after a shocking quarterfinal loss to the United States at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Here are my speed skating Olympic medal predictions:

Men's 500m (Feb. 10)

Gold--Tae-Bum Mo--South Korea
Silver--Michel Mulder--Netherlands
Bronze--Joji Kato--Japan

Men's 1000m (Feb. 12)

Gold--Shani Davis--United States
Silver--Michel Mulder--Netherlands
Bronze--Denis Kuzin--Kazakhstan

Men's 1500m (Feb. 15)

Gold--Denis Yuskov--Russia
Silver--Zbigniew Brodka--Poland
Bronze--Shani Davis--United States

Men's 5000m (Feb. 8)

Gold--Sven Kramer--Netherlands
Silver--Jorrit Bergsma--Netherlands
Bronze--Bob de Jong--Netherlands

Men's 10000m (Feb. 18)

Gold--Jorrit Bergsma--Netherlands
Silver--Sven Kramer--Netherlands
Bronze--Bob De Jong--Netherlands

Men's Team Pursuit (Feb. 21 and Feb. 22)

Silver--South Korea

Women's 500m (Feb. 11)

Gold--Sang-Hwa Lee--South Korea
Silver--Olga Fatkulina--Russia
Bronze--Heather Richardson--United States

Women's 1000m (Feb. 13)

Gold--Heather Richardson--United States
Silver--Brittany Bowe--United States
Bronze--Olga Fatkulina--Russia

Women's 1500m (Feb. 16)

Gold--Ireen Wust--Netherlands
Silver--Brittany Bowe--United States
Bronze--Lotte van Beek--Netherlands

Women's 3000m (Feb. 9)

Gold--Martina Sablikova--Czech Republic
Silver--Ireen Wust--Netherlands
Bronze--Claudia Pechstein--Germany

Women's 5000m (Feb. 19)

Gold--Martina Sablikova--Czech Republic
Silver--Ireen Wust--Netherlands
Bronze--Claudia Pechstein--Germany

Women's Team Pursuit (Feb. 21 and Feb. 22)




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