Winter Olympics 2022

Not even six months after the end of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the next Olympic highlight was upon us. From February 4 to 20, the winter sports elite met for the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

For host China, the 2022 Olympics were a premiere: After the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, the Winter Games were now held in the Middle Kingdom for the first time. Beijing is thus the first city in history to host both summer and winter games.

From March 4 to 13, 2022, Beijing will also host the Paralympic Winter Games.

Eileen Gu: China's Olympic Hero from the USA

Ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, the diplomatic conflict between the USA and China was coming to a head. For freeskier Eileen Gu, this was a piquant situation: she was born in California and grew up in the USA. At the 2022 Olympics, however, Gu was competing as a gold medal hopeful for China - and was promoting communication instead of confrontation. 

With two gold medals and one silver, she became China's biggest star at the Games.

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Mikaela Shiffrin: The alpine queen goes home empty-handed

Mikaela Shiffrin is set to become the greatest skier of all time. Her collection of records is already impressive - but at the Winter Olympics, the US American experienced a sporting disaster: she failed to finish in the slalom, giant slalom and combined. She finished ninth in the super-G, 18th in the downhill and also missed out on a medal in the team competition, finishing fourth with the USA. We introduce the person Mikaela.

7 Facts You Need to Know About Mikaela Shiffrin

2022 Olympics: Beijing one of three venues

In addition to the Beijing metropolitan region, competitions were also held in Yanqing, about 90 kilometers away, and Zhangjiakou, about 220 kilometers away. The opening and closing ceremonies took place at the Beijing National Stadium, which was built for the 2008 Olympic Games.

This is how the competitions were divided among the venues:

  • Beijing: ice hockey, figure skating, speed skating, short track, curling, some freestyle skiing and snowboarding
  • Yanqing: bobsleigh, luge, alpine skiing
  • Zhangjiakou: biathlon, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, partly freestyle skiing and snowboarding

Corona and the Olympic Games: No fans from abroad - bubble for athletes

There has probably never been such a clear home advantage at any Winter Olympics: Due to the worldwide Corona pandemic, only spectators residing in mainland China were allowed in Beijing, according to the official Olympic homepage. At the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the competitions took place completely without spectators because of the pandemic.

Athletes also had to restrict themselves: unvaccinated participants had to undergo a 21-day quarantine after entering China. Daily testing was mandatory for all Olympians. In addition, they were not allowed to leave their bubble for the duration of the Games.

Olympics 2022: Seven new medal events in Beijing

In contrast to the Summer Games in Tokyo, no new sports were added to the program in Beijing. However, there were new disciplines as well as alignments of the women's competitions with the men's.

The following competitions were new at the 2022 Olympics:

  • Short track mixed team competition
  • Ski jumping mixed team competition
  • Women's monobob
  • Freestyle skiing mixed team competition in jumping
  • Men's freestyle skiing big air
  • Women's Freestyle Skiing Big Air
  • Snowboarding Mixed team competition in snowboard cross

Winter sports in China: Olympics as a major project

The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing were the most expensive Summer Games in history, costing around $44 billion. At least: Some of the venues in Beijing were used again this winter. In the capital itself, only the speed skating arena and the freestyle area had to be rebuilt. China's government was planning for the 2022 Games to cost $3.9 billion.

China and Western companies are hoping the Games will jump-start winter sports in China: President Xi Jinping spoke of up to 300 million potential winter sports fans after the award. In 2019 alone, 28 new ski resorts were opened. However, the biggest buyer of skis in Asia is still Japan.

The Olympic Games through the ages

As young and modern as the Summer Olympics in Tokyo are supposed to be, their origins go back in time: in 776 BC, the first Olympic Games of antiquity were held. The ancient Greeks also focused on athletic competitions, but above all the games were a religious festival in honor of the gods. The games were held in Olympia, the site of one of the largest temples of Zeus in Greece, which was already famous in ancient times for its magnificent temple complex.
The ancient Olympic Games held an important place in the lives of the ancient Greeks. The Olympics were a time of unification, held at four-year intervals, just as they are today. Participants came from all corners of the Greek world to compete for the ultimate prize: an olive wreath, return to their city-states as heroes, and immortal glory. At the beginning of the Ancient Olympics, only one running event was held, but over time, other sports and disciplines were added. In total, 20 different sports were held over several days, and the winners of the games were admired and immortalized statues.
The purpose of the Olympic Games was on the one hand to demonstrate the physical qualities of the participants, but of just as great importance were the games from a political point of view, they served to strengthen the relationship between the various Greek cities.

In addition to victory, it was the Olympic values themselves that gave the Games special meaning - noble competition and the effort to combine body, mind and will into a balanced whole.
In the course of the centuries not only other sports were added, but also the procedures and organization of the Olympic Games developed further. For example, a uniform schedule of the events was introduced and with the Olympic Truce an agreement was concluded which was supposed to guarantee the safe execution of the games by a truce of several months. The games took place for almost 12 centuries until the Roman Emperor Theodosius banned them in 393 AD.

The Olympic Games were revived by French baron Pierre de Coubertin in the late 19th century. The Olympic Games, also known as the Summer Olympics, have been held every four years since 1896, with the exception of the years during the World Wars. For the ancient Greeks, the Olympics were still a men-only competition, and it wasn't until 1900 that women were allowed to compete.

The history of the Winter Olympics, however, is much shorter: they have no roots in ancient times, but were first held in 1924 in Chamonix, France. Until 1992, the Winter Games were held in the same year as the Summer Games, before a two-year alternation between Winter and Summer Games was introduced with the Winter Games in Lillehammer in 1994.