by Sarah Li ’25
Published Feb. 10th, 2022
On February 4th, the doors of Beijing’s National Stadium open once again for Olympic action, as athletes will once again descend upon the Bird’s Nest for a jam-packed sixteen days of competition. With a total of 15 disciplines, 109 events, and close to 3,000 athletes, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will mark the first time a city has ever held both summer and winter games.
The opening ceremony will be live-streamed on NBCUniversal at 6:30am ET on Friday, February 4th. Throughout the games, NBC, USA, and the Olympic Channel will broadcast daily coverage and highlights during primetime.
Figure skating looks to remain one of the most popular winter events. In the men’s field, a showdown between Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning two-time Olympic champion, and the USA’s Nathan Chen, who had a disappointing skate in Pyeongchang but has been dominant ever since, could be worthwhile to watch. Meanwhile, in the ladies’ field, 15-year-old Russian phenom and world record holder Kamila Valieva is the clear favorite for gold.
In snowboarding, viral sensation Chloe Kim is favored to take home another gold medal, returning from a brief mental health struggle. In an interview with TIME, Kim discussed how her Olympic fame left her feeling lost, but the star athlete says she is now ready to win gold once again. American legend Shaun White is poised to make his fifth appearance at the Winter Games, chasing his fourth halfpipe gold.
American alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin will chase a three-peat in the event after wins in Pyeongchang and Sochi. This year’s games will also feature seven new events, including freestyle skiing big air, women’s mono bob, and various new mixed team events.
In an effort to limit the spread of Covid-19, all athletes, officials, media, and other personnel will be separated from the public in a “closed-loop” bubble and will be tested daily.
The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing also comes amid political controversy. The US is leading a diplomatic boycott of the games over concerns with China’s human rights abuses, primarily regarding the treatment of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The boycott means that no U.S. government officials will attend the games, though U.S. athletes will still be allowed to compete. Several other countries have also joined the boycott, including Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Belgium.