The 2022 Olympic Winter Games in China officially run from February 4th to the 20th. While not as large as the summer Games, it still features 2,900 athletes from 85 countries competing in 15 disciplines. While we previewed some sports in a previous post, we now conclude with the rest.
Biathlon: This cross-country skiing and shooting combo involves endurance and a steady hand. The Europeans dominate the event. There are 11 categories.
Bobsled: The women’s monobob joins the men’s and women’s two-person bobsled and the men’s four-person bobsled. Former two-time gold medalist Kallie Humphries has switched from Canada to the United States team and is joined by overall world cup champion Elana Meyers Taylor.
Cross-Country Skiing: The U.S. claimed its first gold thanks to Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall winning by a hair in the 2018 sprint relay. Diggins returns, but she recently had a disappointing finish at the world championships after crashing. Norway is historically strong and is led on the women’s side by Therese Johaug.
Freestyle Skiing: This includes six aerial events, moguls and ski cross. Canadians dominated with four golds in 2018 (no other country had more than one), with a broad array of stars from around the globe. The United States has numerous medal contenders, including Alex Hall and Colby Stevenson in men’s slopestyle.
Hockey: The big news is that NHL players will not compete due to the league’s concerns over infection, which also prompted them to pause the season, so there will be a lot less star power in men’s hockey. The U.S. and Canada dominate the women’s competition.
Luge: Featuring competitors sledding down a course feet-first at 90 mph, this sport has been dominated in recent decades by the Germans, but American Chris Mazdzer won silver in 2018 and returns.
Nordic Combined: This category combines ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Women may begin to compete in this sport in the 2026 games.
Skeleton: Also featuring competitors going down an icy track on a sled, this sport finds them going headfirst. The Americans have won three of the 12 golds awarded in this category, but Germany, Austria, and Russia have strong teams.
Ski Jumping: An extreme sport decades before the X Games, competitors climb to the top of a structure, which sends them skiing down and flying hundreds of feet through the air. Women were added to this competition in 2018, and this year will also feature mixed team competitions. There are five categories.
A once every four years experience
As is also the case with the Summer Olympics, American audiences do not see elite-level competition in many of these sports outside of the Olympics. Excepting the World Cup and a select few other events, they do not get to see athletes represent their countries as they compete. And finally, some get to shine in the global spotlight for a brief but incandescent moment. This all combines to make the Olympics special. The United States has several athletes who will be participating in their fifth Olympic Games, including Katie Uhlaender (skeleton), Shaun White (snowboarding) and Lindsey Jacobellis (snowboardcross).