Best/worst, Sochi medal projections vs. reality: Feb. 23

The 50k cross-country race turned into a microcosm of the Olympics — a big pack going around most of the way, then Russia blasting away from everyone at the end.

For the last couple of days, we’ve figured no country would get more than 30 medals. With that cross-country sweep, Russia wound up with 33.

We’ll wrap up later today or tomorrow with a look at where each country gained or lost.

FULL TABLE

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HIGHLIGHTS

Most prescient thing I’ve ever written: On OZY on Saturday, I wrote about Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir: “Why limit them to figure skating? How about red-carpet critiques?” Today’s news: “The duo are leaving Sochi following their last show for NBC and heading to Los Angeles, where they’ll critique fashion at the Oscars for Access Hollywood.”

Best argument against inconsistent drug-testing authoritarianism: Sweden’s Nicklas Backstrom’s allergy medication tripped a drug test that wasn’t handled in a way that broke a lot of precedent. (Disclaimer 1: I’m a Washington Capitals fan. Disclaimer 2, more importantly: I’ve seen a lot of nonsense like this in the name of “anti-doping.”)

Most candid statement on doping: Austrian skier Johannes Duerr (no relation) blamed no one but himself: “This is the worst thing I’ve done in my life.”

Most impressive stand: The Olympics are finished, and 73-year-old Prokofey Drovichev’s house is still right next to the Olympic Park.

Biggest improvements: Russia’s leap from 15 medals in 2010 to 33 this time is second only to the USA’s leap from 13 to 34 in 2002, Bill Mallon reports. Adding sports and being at home can do that.

Cutest interview: Figure skater Polina Edmunds needed to interview someone in Spanish for her high school class. Short-track skater Eddy Alvarez stepped up. (HT: For the Win)

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