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6 Underdogs Who Could Win a Medal at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games (2022)

| January 24, 2022 9:13 am PDT

Everyone loves an underdog story, right? For many sports fans, nothing beats a rank outsider upsetting the odds and getting the better of their favored opponent.

The Olympics have produced plenty of famous underdog stories over the years. Indeed, both the Summer and Winter Games have dished up their fair share of against-the-odds moments.

With the Winter Olympics right around the corner, it’s time to check out the underdogs who could win a medal at Beijing 2022. You may recognize some of the athletes and teams on this list, but others will shock you.

Here are six underdogs that could win a medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Tobias Arlt/Tobias Wendl (Germany) – Men’s Doubles Luge

Boasting a whopping eight Winter Olympic gold medals between them, Tobias Arlt and Tobias Wendl are bona fide luge legends.

The German duo won both the men’s doubles and mixed team event at Sochi 2014 before achieving the same feats four years later in Pyeongchang. That means they head to Beijing as double defending champions.

However, “The Tobys” are not favored to triumph this time around. Despite having collected six world titles across their 21-year career together, they come into the 2022 Games as underdogs.

Arlt and Wendl managed to win just one of the 12 events during the 2021-22 Luge World Cup, registering two second-place finishes and three third-place finishes along the way.

The fellow German pair of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won five events, including four of the final six.

Team Country Points
Toni Eggert/Sacha Benecken Germany 907
Andris Sics/Juris Sics Latvia 883
Tobias Arlt/Tobias Wendl Germany 796

Still, it is worth noting that Eggert and Benecken were heavy favorites to win the men’s double event at Pyeongchang 2018. What happened? They ended up finishing 0.290 seconds behind Arlt and Wendl.

Having clinched gold at each of the previous two Games, Arlt and Wendl won’t be the biggest underdogs at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Yet, following a below-par World Cup campaign, they are not expected to defend their crown.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they upset the odds, though. The two 34-year-olds invariably rise to the occasion of the Winter Olympics, so I can see them adding to their medal haul in China.

Canada – Men’s Ice Hockey

When my colleague, Nick Sterling, took a look at the early contenders for the men’s ice hockey at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Canada (+150) and the USA (+325) were the clear frontrunners. At the time, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was priced at +425.

However, when my colleague, Adam Haynes, examined the latest odds for the men’s hockey at Beijing 2022 just a few days ago, the ROC was the new gold medal favorite.

Here are the current men’s ice hockey odds for the Winter Olympics.

Russian Olympic Committee+132
Czech Republic+660

As you can see, Canada has dropped to fourth in the odds table, with Team USA all the way down in sixth place. That’s because the NHL will not be releasing any of its players for the upcoming Games.

Many of the greatest ice hockey players on the planet represent Canada. Superstars such as Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and Alex Pietrangelo were set to compete at Beijing 2022 before the NHL announced its embargo in December.

That said, the Canadians – who are ranked #1 in the world – should still have enough top players to challenge for a medal in China.

Let’s not forget that Canada has won a record nine men’s ice hockey golds, as well as four silvers and three bronze medals. The men claimed three of the four golds on offer between 2002 and 2014 before finishing as runners-up in 2018.

Team USA achieved one of the biggest betting longshots in sports history when they won gold at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The “Miracle on Ice” is among the most memorable Olympic upsets of all time.

Of course, Canada claiming gold in China would not be the same as the United States shocking the world in 1980. But there is no denying that they Canadians are underdogs at Beijing 2022.

Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) – Women’s Snowboard Cross

At 36, Lindsey Jacobellis is set to be one of the oldest athletes at Beijing 2022. Although her age makes her a Winter Olympics underdog this year, you would be foolish to write her off.

The Connecticut snowboarder first took to the Olympic slopes all the way back in 2006. If it weren’t for a fall on the penultimate jump, should we have won gold in Turin. Instead, she had to settle for second place.

Jacobellis failed to progress to the medal round at both the 2010 and 2014 Games, finishing fifth in Vancouver before finishing seventh in Sochi. But if her performance at Pyeongchang 2018 is anything to go by, she could snatch a medal in 2022.

The veteran reached the final of the snowboard cross in South Korea and led for most of the event. However, she ended up slipping to fourth place at the eleventh hour – agonizingly missing out on a podium spot by a mere 0.003 seconds!

According to the best Winter Olympics betting sites, Jacobellis (+1000) is the sixth favorite to win gold in the women’s snowboard cross event at Beijing 2022. Charlotte Bankes (+100) is the out-and-out favorite, ahead of Chloe Trespeuch (+500), Michaela Moioli (+600), Belle Brockhoff (+700), and Faye Gulini (+700).

Having come painfully close to the podium at the previous Games, she will be desperate to make amends this time around. With past failures spurring her on, Jacobellis is among the underdogs who could win a medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Jamaica – Men’s/Women’s Bobsled

I simply couldn’t discuss the Beijing 2022 underdogs without mentioning the Jamaican bobsled teams.

Back in 1988, Jamaica’s two and four-man bobsled teams became unlikely Winter Olympics heroes when they competed at the Games in Calgary. You probably don’t need me to tell you that their exploits inspired the 1993 Disney film, Cool Runnings.

For the first time in over 20 years – and 34 years after their first Winter Olympics appearance – Jamaica’s four-man bobsled team will feature at the upcoming edition of the Games.

But the iconic four-man team will not be the only Jamaican representatives in China. For the first time ever, THREE separate Jamaican bobsled teams will compete in the same Winter Olympics.

Alongside the four-man team, the two-man team will be looking to upset the odds in Beijing. On top of that, the women are set to compete in the inaugural monobob event.

The two-man team finished 30th in 1988, while the four-man team crashed out before famously walking their sled to the finish line. We all know that Jamaica is not among the favorites to win gold this year, but the current teams will be confident of enhancing their country’s status in the sport.

Tahli Gill/Dean Hewitt (Australia) – Mixed Doubles Curling

When you think about Australia, what springs to mind? Warm beaches? Palm trees? Kangaroos? Yep, me too.

The chances are that curling didn’t pop up in your thoughts. That is totally understandable, though, as there is not a single professional curling rink “Down Under”.

But that didn’t stop Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt from making history in December. At the final Olympic qualifying event in the Netherlands, the mixed doubles outfit beat South Korea to become the first-ever Australian curling team to qualify for the Winter Games.

Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
Canada 6 3 2 11
Sweden 3 3 2 8
Great Britain 2 1 1 4
Switzerland 1 3 3 7
Norway 1 1 2 4

As you would expect, Olympic curling has been completely dominated by cold-weather countries over the years. Across all the events, Canada has won six of the 14 gold medals on offer. Sweden and Great Britain have also won multiple golds.

It wouldn’t be unfair to say that the Aussies look out of place on the list of mixed doubles teams at Beijing 2022. All the usual suspects are there, making Australia look like the odd one out.

That said, with only ten teams competing in the mixed double curling event, Gill and Hewitt stand an excellent chance of winning a medal in China. The South Korean women won silver in 2018 – and the Aussies just beat South Korea to qualify for this year’s Games.

Just like the Jamaican bobsled team, an Australian curling team sounds pretty farfetched. Still, Gill and Hewitt are among the underdogs that could win a medal at Beijing 2022.

Shaun White (USA) – Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe

Believe it or not, Shaun White is not the favorite to win the men’s snowboard halfpipe event. Instead, Japan’s 23-year-old superstar Ayumu Hirano is favored to finish atop the podium.

White has won three of the previous four Olympic halfpipe events. After clinching back-to-back golds in 2006 and 2010, the iconic Californian finished fourth in 2014 before returning to the top of the podium at Pyeongchang 2018.

Regardless of his past achievements, White’s Team USA spot was not guaranteed this year. In addition to COVID-19, an ankle injury endangered his chances of defending his crown. But a third-place finish at the recent World Cup halfpipe contest saw him secure a spot.

Since the guy already has three Olympic golds to his name, referring to White as an underdog feels strange. I mean, I almost included him on my list of the top athletes to watch at Bejing 2022.

It is worth noting, however, that White is set to become the oldest US halfpipe rider in the history of the Olympic Games. The 35-year-old is about the compete in his fifth Winter Olympics, meaning he is no longer the dominant force he once was.

Even so, there is no reason why White can’t win a medal this year. The 13-time X-Games gold medalist may be an underdog, but you’d be stupid to write him off.

More Winter Olympics Content

If you’re looking for more content like this, head over to our Olympics blog. We already have stacks of Winter Olympics blogs for you to enjoy – and more will be added in the lead-up to Beijing 2022.

Make sure you check out our Olympics picks, too. If you’re planning to wager on the Winter Olympics, our expert picks and predictions could help you to win money.

Here are some more Winter Olympics pieces to get you in the mood for Beijing 2022.

Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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