Winter Olympics 2022 Start Strong in Beijing

Nico Marvin, Sports Editor

The Winter Olympics, a time where athletes showcase the best of the sporting world, with stories of grit, compassion and unimaginable feats of skill. Although this Olympics may be riddled with geo-political issues, on the sports side the world has been treated to an impressive first week. From ski jumpers soaring like eagles through the sky, to luge teams shooting down ice like missiles, this Olympics has not disappointed. The Cavalcade is proud to report on all the action from Beijing and bring it back home. 

Skiing Events 

The National Alpine Skiing Center has been a host to multiple events this winter, and on February 7 the men’s downhill medal round commenced. This event is one of the staples of the Olympics: In this sport competitors ski down steep mountains, and reach speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. But before the race even started, it was troubled, with one of the few training days being canceled. Because every course is different, this is crucial for the athletes to see the course and practice, however one of these days was canceled due to strong winds making the course unsafe to ski.  Evidently on the following day the cancellation did not affect the racers. Beat Feuz, of Switzerland, took an early lead and was able to keep gold, winning by one tenth of a second. Johan Clarey of France clinched silver one sixteenth faster than the Bronze medalist, Matthias Mayer of Austria.

Mikaela Shiffrin crashes out in first run. Photo courtesy of Robert F. Bukaty/AP

On the same day the women’s Giant Slalom commenced with American, and favorite to win, Mikaela Shiffrin crashing out. Beijing, the area where the Olympics are being held, is not a naturally “snowy” place. Due to this, man-made snow is laid on courses that require snow, mainly the skiing events. This snow is usually very icy, and slippery, unlike compacted natural snow, forcing skiers to go faster. When skiers go faster it is more likely that they can crash, and sometimes get injured. Shiffrin was on her first run when one of her boots made contact with a pole, and sent her crashing out, she was unharmed and will compete in other events. The women’s giant slalom gold medalist was Sara Hector of Sweden, and opponent Federuca Brignone of Italy took silver. To wrap up out the top three it would be  Lara Gut-Behrami, from Switzerland, who was not even a second behind gold. 

 

Over to the Biathlon, which is where Cross Country skiers do laps around a venue, and at certain areas have to get their heart rate down and shoot targets with a rifle. There were multiple events and in the mixed relay it was Norway who secured the Gold. In the women’s 15k it would be Denise Hermann, from Germany, to shoot her way to gold. In the men’s 20k Quentin Fillon Maillet of France, who won by 15 seconds and grabbed a gold medal. 

Cross country skiing started in week one. Photo courtesy of Aaron Favila/AP

In cross country skiing the world would witness an incredible comeback story. In the Skiathlon, where skiers do 30 kilometers split into two halves, where in one half racers use one type of ski and in the other half switch to another ski. Alexander Bolshunov, representing the Russian Olympic Committee, took gold after taking a crash early in the race. He went down hard skidding on the ground through the snow and ended up near dead last. He was able to work through the pack at maximum effort and after some time regain his position with the leaders. Bolshunov then went on the offense and attacked, made a sizable gap, and then won a well-earned gold medal. 

Women’s and men’s freestyle skiing also started this week in the Moguls Category with Walter Wallberg of Sweden clinching gold and Nick Page of the U.S. jumping his way into fifth. Ski jumping is a sport where athletes fly through the sky over large distances.  In the men’s Ryoyu Kobayashi of Japan flew into the top spot earning a gold medal in the men’s individual competition.  

Luge

The sport where athletes ride on their backs down slick tubes of ice, at back breaking speeds, started this week with

Luge races are taking place in the Yanqing National Sliding Centre. Photo courtesy of Mark Schiefelbein/AP

medals. After hours of hard racing, ultimately it would be the Germans who would win in the men’s singles event. Specifically Johannes Ludwig who put down a fast and mistake-free run to win. Only a sixteenth of a second behind

 

the German was an Austrian, Wolfgang Kindl, and an Italian, Dominik Fischnaller, would finish right behind the top two, filling the podium. Chris Mazdzer, an American, finished inside the top ten in eighth. On the women’s side it was the Germans again taking gold. Natali Geisenberger took gold only half a second faster than silver medalist Anna Berreiter, also from Germany. 

Speed Skating (Short and Long Track)

Starting in short track, specifically the mixed relay, the world witnessed a spectacle of a race. Canada, China, Italy and Hungary all made it to the finals and were ready to face off. After a restart due to athletes crashing into each other early on, the Italians led the race with Canada on their heels. But disaster struck with Canada crashing into Hungary. China and Italy raced to the line with both athletes throwing themselves at the line, ultimately China won gold by a tip of a skate over the Italians .

Speed skating is taking place in the newly built Beijing National Speed Skating Oval. Photo courtesy of Sue Ogrock/AP

Behind, Canada was able to dust off and sprint for a supposed third, but after review, they were disqualified due to starting the earlier crash, and it would be Hungary to take bronze. In long track, the women’s 3000 meter and men’s 5000 meter both went off. Nils Van Der Poel took gold in the men’s 5000, and Iren Schouten

skated her way to gold in the women’s 3000. Back to the short track, an incredible men’s 500 meter final was held. This race had a restart halfway through the race because of a broken blade in the ice. A restart in a race as late as this one is unprecedented. Because of this the race became a battle of fitness and endurance then actual sprint speed. At the start of this second race a Chinese and Hungarian athlete fell off the back, due to fatigue, and later, a second Chinese athlete would join them. Then there were only two athletes left in the front, a second Hungarian and a third Chinese competitor, both athletes sprinted for the line, pushing and shoving each-other and finally the Hungarian athlete dove for the line taking gold. Or so it would seem, both of the two athletes crossing the line before the other three, were disqualified due to the aforementioned pushes. Now the other two Chinese athletes took first, and second. The supposed last place Hungarian took third, due to the original first and second athletes getting disqualified.

 

 

Snowboarding 

Women’s and men’s freestyle took place in the first week with medals going to both. American Julia Marino was able to jump, twist and flip, to take a silver medal behind Zoi Sadowski Synnott of New Zealand on the women’s side. For the men, Canada went down the mountain doing tricks and flips to take first and third with China finishing in the middle. 

Curling medal rounds begin in the second week of the games. Photo courtesy of Brynn Anderson/AP

Curling 

Mixed doubles was won by Italy, who played a game of thought and strategy over second place Norway.  The main medals for curling will happen in the last week of the Games, and for now mostly round robin games are being played. The American team is playing solidly, and has a fighting chance of meddling. 

Figure Skating 

The Medals going out for the women’s team event were won by the Russian Olympic Committee, and Americans were able to take a silver medal. On the men’s singles side it was won by Nathen Chen of the United States.  Silver was taken by Yuma Kagiyama of Japan, and bronze went to Shoma Uno, also of Japan. More medal action happens in the second week of action as well.

With week two having more medal rounds we are certainly in for a treat. Events can be watched via Peacock at all times or on NBC or the USA networks at certain times. The Cavalcade will be covering more winter events so make sure to check back next week to read more about that action.