Everything You Need to Know About the Beijing Winter Olympics

Just six months after the conclusion of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, the Beijing Winter Olympics are almost here.

Normally, the Summer and Winter Olympics are held every four years, on a staggered two-year schedule so that the Olympic Games occur every two years. However, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed for an entire year due to COVID-19.

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Despite the ongoing pandemic, the Winter Olympics are still scheduled to take place as planned in Beijing, the city that hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Here, WWD breaks down all you need to know about the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. Read on for more.

When do the 2022 Winter Olympics start?

Unlike the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which had to be postponed by a whole year due to the pandemic, the 2022 Winter Olympics are slated to take place as scheduled.

The Olympics will kick off on Feb. 4 with an opening ceremony, though early rounds of curling commence on Feb. 2. The games will conclude on Feb. 20 with a closing ceremony.

Where are the 2022 Winter Olympics being held?

Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics, marking the first time the Winter Olympics have ever been held in China. The city also hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, making Beijing the first city to have ever hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

What sports will be at the 2022 Winter Olympics?

Plenty of popular sports are returning to this year’s Winter Olympics, including alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, nordic combined, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboarding and speed skating.

In total, there will be 109 medal events across 15 sports.

Are there any new sports competing?

This year will see the introduction of seven new events: Women’s Monobob, Men’s and Women’s Big Air (Freestyle Skiing), Mixed Team Snowboard Cross, Mixed Team Aerials, Mixed Team Short Track Relay and Mixed Team Ski Jumping.

Which athletes are returning to the 2022 Winter Olympics?

Chloe Kim after winning gold in the women’s halfpipe event in Pyeongchang in 2018. - Credit: Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Chloe Kim after winning gold in the women’s halfpipe event in Pyeongchang in 2018. - Credit: Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

This year, Team USA will have a total of 92 returning Olympians.

A few familiar faces will be back to compete at the Winter Olympics, such as snowboarder Chloe Kim, who became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold at 17 in the women’s snowboard halfpipe event in Pyeongchang in 2018, and snowboarder Shaun White, who holds the record for most X-Games gold medals and most Olympic gold medals by a snowboarder.

Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin will be back to compete in her third Winter Games, with strong odds to medal in her multiple events, as she did in Pyeongchang, and snowboarder Jamie Anderson will also return for her third Olympics appearance.

Which athletes will not be partaking in the 2022 Winter Olympics?

Due to scheduling conflicts, National Hockey League players will not be able to participate in ice hockey during the Winter Games this year, citing that COVID-19 has disrupted the NHL regular season.

“We have waited as long as possible to make this decision while exploring every available option to enable our players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a press release. “Unfortunately, given the profound disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-19-related events — 50 games already have been postponed through Dec. 23 — Olympic participation is no longer feasible.”

NHL players also missed the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

How is COVID-19 affecting the 2022 Winter Olympics?

The COVID-19 protocols in Beijing will be similar to those in Tokyo, but much stricter, taking into consideration China’s “zero-COVID-19” policy.

Unlike in Tokyo, all athletes, staff, media members and other participants must be fully vaccinated in order to be in designated Olympic areas without having to do a 21-day quarantine. Everyone must also present two recent negative tests from approved labs.

Throat swab testing will be required daily for all participants. Masks that are N95, or those that are similar, will be required for both indoor and outdoor areas, with exceptions such as drinking and eating.

As for fans, international spectators are not permitted, though Beijing organizers are still finalizing the plans for local attendance. If there are fans allowed, they can only clap to support the athletes and not chant or shout.

Is Russia still banned from the Olympics?

Russia is still not allowed to compete in the Olympics due to a four-year ban on global sporting events instituted by the World Anti-Doping Agency over the country’s athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

Russian athletes, however, can still compete in the Winter Games as athletes for ROC, which is an acronym for Russian Olympic Committee. The athletes are also permitted to wear the colors of the Russian flag. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Russian athletes competed as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

Russia’s Olympics ban ends in December 2022.

What will the Team USA uniforms look like?

Alysa Liu in the Opening Ceremony Parade Uniforms by Ralph Lauren. - Credit: Courtesy of Opening Ceremony
Alysa Liu in the Opening Ceremony Parade Uniforms by Ralph Lauren. - Credit: Courtesy of Opening Ceremony

Courtesy of Opening Ceremony

Ralph Lauren is continuing his tradition of designing the Team USA Olympic uniforms. The design of the anorak, midlayer jacket, pants, gloves and boots clearly has its roots in American sportswear — and is offered in red, white and blue color palette — but it’s what’s inside that really sets it apart.

The pieces were created with Intelligent Insulation, a temperature-responsive fabric comprised of two materials that expand or contract at different rates in response to temperature changes. As the mercury drops, the lengths of the two materials change, causing the textile to constrict and bend, increasing the amount of insulation.

This “personal thermal management” system will essentially swell to become a puffer outside in the cold but flatten in warmer temperatures when the insulation is no longer needed, said David Lauren, Ralph Lauren’s son and chief branding and innovation officer for Ralph Lauren Corp. “It thinks for itself, it’s so intelligent.”

How can I watch the 2022 Winter Olympics?

NBC will broadcast the Olympic Games and provide extensive coverage throughout the day on NBC, NBC Sports, CNBC and the USA Network. Viewers can also stream coverage on the NBC Olympics website, NBC Sports app and on Peacock.


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