With the Sochi Winter Olympics now underway, attention turns to one particular thing that will interest American fans (as it does fans of any other nation). Namely, who is winning gold medals, and how are various nations stacking up against one another in the vaunted medal count. The medal count, and ultimately winning it, is the most important distinction for any nation’s bragging rights. It also speaks to the essence of the friendly competition which the Olympics stands for. Mostly though, it’s a rare instance when blind nationalism is still acceptable.

As always, the United States is fully expected to do well, if not challenge for victory in the overall medal count. The largest American team ever assembled will have its hands full in Sochi with an array of talented (and deep) teams from a myriad of other countries, including Canada, Germany, and most all, Russia. As hosts, the Russians are fully equipped with the talent to challenge for the victory in the medal count.

On top of that, the Russians are obviously competing on home soil, and are perhaps spared from the… “challenging” circumstances that some Sochi visitors have been placed in.

Historically, the United States doesn’t normally win the most gold medals, considering that this hasn’t happened in any of the last three Games. However, in terms of total medals, the United States has a title to defend. In Vancouver 2010, they came away with a staggering total of 37, seven more than second-placed Germany.

Medal Count:   Gold      Silver     Bronze     Total

Russia                      5               8             6                     19

USA                          5              4              10                   19

Norway                    7              4              7                     18

Netherlands            5              5              7                     17

Canada                    4              8              4                    16

Germany                 8              3              4                    15

Sweden                    2             5               2                     9

Austria                    2              6              1                      9

Switzerland            5              2              1                      8

France                    3              1               4                     8

Slovenia                 2              1               3                     6

Belarus                   5             0               1                     6

Images via Russiatrek.org