An overview of the 2022 Winter Olympics


Ashley Holm, Writer

This year’s Winter Olympics will be taking place in Beijing, China. It will take place from Friday, Feb. 4 -Sunday, Feb. 20. Athletes competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics must be vaccinated or spend 21 days in  quarantine. Additionally, they will receive daily COVID-19 tests, and face masks are to be worn at all times except for when they are competing. 

The Winter Olympics is classified as a competition for all sports that are played with snow or ice. It is held like the Summer Olympics every four years for athletes across the world. From talking to people around OHS, the most popular sports of the Winter Olympics are skiing, ice hockey, figure skating and speed skating. Physical Education and Health teacher Mr. William Blechschmidt said, “You get to see a lot of different sports that you normally wouldn’t get to see and it is really cool to see that.” The Olympics are a way to get to know sports that do not gain recognition elsewhere. Some athletes that are expected to win medals for the USA include Nathan Chen, a men’s figure skater; Shaun White, a men’s snowboarder and Mikaela Shiffrin, a women’s alpine skier. There will be 109 events at the 2022 Winter Olympics, and the USA will be aiming for gold.

One of the sports included is the biathlon. The biathlon is a cross-country skiing course where competitors carry a rifle. During different times in the race, competitors stop and shoot at different firing ranges. Competitors are required to shoot in both standing and prone (lying down on stomach) positions. Six types of biathlon events include individual, sprint, relay, pursuit, mass, start and team.

Bobsleigh and skeleton are two more of the sports being competed in the Winter Olympics. Bobsledding consists of a group of two to four people sliding down ice in a sled. Skeleton is very similar to bobsledding, but it is just a single person. Luge is a form of small sled racing. Competitors ride the sled lying on their back, steering by leg and shoulder movements.

Another popular sport included in the Winter Olympics is curling. Curling is a team sport on ice,  and the teams are usually made up of four people. Two teams play on a group of ice, taking turns sliding a granite stone on ice towards a target. Mr. Blechschmidt said, “Curling is my favorite sport, seeing the four dads from Bemidji that won four years ago was a big deal.” Ice hockey, one of the other team sports played in the Winter Olympics, is a game between two teams, usually with six players per team. They wear skates on ice and compete on an ice rink. The goal of the game is to shoot a puck into a goalie net, past the goaltender. 

Skating is one of the core groups in the seven sports, it includes figure skating, short track speed skating and speed skating. Figure skating is skating in pairs or individually. The figure skaters jump, spin, do lifts and footwork in a program. There are various types of figure skating and numerous events you can compete in. Sophomore Alayna Wannarka said, “Figure skating is one of my favorite sports to watch during the Winter Olympics.” Speed skating is racing on ice with skates, the blades of the skates are longer. Short-track speed skating is the same as normal speed skating, but it is based on finishing a race first instead of beating the clock.   

Skiing is also one of the seven groups, and its disciplines are alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, nordic combined, snowboard and freestyle skiing. Alpine skiing is competitive downhill skiing, whereas cross-country skiing is long distance skiing. With ski jumping, skiers go down a hill and once they come to the end, they try to jump and achieve as much air distance as possible. Nordic combined is a combination of cross-country skiing and ski jumping. For snowboarding, athletes ride down a hill with a snowboard. Lastly, freestyle skiing adds harder tricks and difficulty to normal skiing.

The curling competition is set to begin on Feb. 2, a couple of days before the official start to the Winter Olympics. There are seven sports, which are divided into 15 disciplines. Only selected fans are allowed at the Winter Olympics this year, with no one from outside of the country invited due to COVID-19 protocols. The Winter Olympics in the USA will be broadcasted on NBC, and can be watched with any NBC streaming device or Peacock’s streaming service.  Remember to tune into the Winter Olympics on Feb. 2 for curling and Feb. 4  through Feb. 20 on NBC.