The 2022 Winter Olympics were held in Beijing, China, from Feb. 4th to the 20th. Selected as host in 2015, it was the second time the city hosted the games and the only city to host both the Summer and Winter Games.
There were 109 events (among 15 disciplines), the most ever featured in the Winter Game. Plus, two new events were introduced, women’s monobob and big air freestyle skiing. Of the 91 teams competing, Haiti and Saudi Arabia were making their first appearances in the Winter Olympics.
Some of the main venues from the 2008 Summer Olympics were also used for these games, with the Capital Indoor Stadium, Olympic Green and Wukesong Sports Center used for the five ice events. However, another Olympic Village was needed, as the apartments on the Olympic Green have been turned into a residential complex.
Concerns for Many Countries
Similar to the Summer Olympics previously held in Tokyo, China implemented COVID-19 health and safety protocols, restricting the public from attending any of the events. In addition, some athletes eligible for the games did not participate because of the pandemic in the country.
There were also several concerns related to human rights violations in China, leading to many calls for a boycott. The United States, Canada and Australia joined in a diplomatic boycott, meaning the countries did not send any official representation to China. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has remained silent on the issue.
Among the dominant athletes at these games were Therese Jahaug of Norway, who won three gold medals in cross-country skiing. She was banned from the 2018 games after testing positive for a steroid, given by a team doctor and found in a lip cream.
Eileen Gu of China won two golds and one silver medal in freestyle skiing, becoming the first athlete to win three medals at one Olympics in the event. She finished just short of winning her third gold by finishing 0.33 points behind on her last slopestyle.
Irene Schouten of the Netherlands was also a top performer in the games. She ended with three golds and one bronze medal in speed skating, also setting Olympic records in both the 3000-meter and 5000-meter events.
One of the greatest surprises of the Olympics occurred when Sweden’s Walter Wallberg edged defending Olympic champion and nine-time World Cup title holder Mikael Kingsbury in Men’s Moguls. It was Sweden’s first gold medal in freestyle skiing.
In another unexpected result, the United States won over China in the mixed team aerials, the Olympic debut for the event. China was the heavy favorite, but fell short in the final round. It was the team’s first medal in aerials since the 2010 games.
As was expected, Norway led the final medal count with a total of 37 (16 gold, eight silver and 13 bronze). The ROC team of Russian athletes finished second in total medals with 32, including six golds.
Germany finished with 27 total, and second with a dozen golds. Canada was fourth overall with 26 medals, tied with the ROC in bronze medals (14). The United States finished fifth in total medals with 27, including eight gold and 10 silver.