2022 Winter Olympics recap

Anna Claire Edenfield, Culture Reporter

The 2022 Winter Olympics kicked off February 4, 2022 in Beijing, China. Over the course of 16 days, 91 countries competed in 15 different winter events. 2,871 athletes from across the globe competed for gold.

These athletes train year-round and many have been training for multiple years to make it to Beijing. Even during the summer, winter athletes train extensively finding solutions to train with no snow, such as skiers using water ramps to practice their moves. 

The events include alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, nordic combined, short-track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboard and speed skating. Within these main events, new additions were added this year.

NBC Olympics reports seven new events, with five being mixed men and women’s events. New additions to the 2022 Winter Olympic events include women’s monobob, men’s/women’s freestyle skiing, mixed team snowboard cross, mixed team aerials, mixed team short track relay, and mixed team ski jumping.

The US sent 224 male and female athletes who competed in all 15 events. According to NBC Chicago, the US placed fifth out of 91 countries, with a total of 25 medals; including eight gold medals, ten silver and seven bronze. 

FOX Sports reported that Lindsey Jacobellis was the first to strike gold for the US in the 2022 competition. After competing in the women’s snowboard cross event, Jacobellis received her first gold medal after attending five different Winter Olympics.

In the previous 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, Jacobellis was favored to win gold in the women’s snowboarding cross event. Unfortunately, a fall cost her the gold, but she was still able to land a silver medal that year. However, Jacobellis didn’t receive another medal until 2022, but struck gold twice in women’s snowboard cross and mixed team snowboard cross.  

Many recognize the famous snowboarder, Shaun White, who recently announced his plans to retire from his snowboarding career. His last olympic snowboarding competition ended with White in fourth place, just 2.25 points behind Jan Scherrer from Switzerland. Whether it was nerves or a sore back leg, White fell in his last snowboarding run, causing him to lose his chance at a medal. 

After five Winter Olympics and three gold medals, White announced officially the 2022 Olympics would be his last. However, he looks forward to his future after his snowboarding career. In an interview with NBC Olympics, White said, “”As one door closes, another opens, and I can’t wait to affect that next generation.”  

Back in 2018, Chloe Kim became most known for her achievement of being the youngest snowboarding woman to strike gold at 17-years-old according to CBS Sports. Now at 21-years-old, Kim struck gold once again at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

According to People Magazine, Kim decided to take a leave of absence from her studies at Princeton University in 2020. Instead, she chose to continue pursuing competitive snowboarding, because she truly loved it. By putting focus on her mental health and training for a sport she loves, Chloe Kim’s hard work paid off.   

Her first run on the halfpipe ended emotionally with tears and a smile out of pure excitement. According to NPR, she finished just four points ahead of second-place winner, Queralt Castellet, from Spain. 

22-year-old Nathan Chen recently became the first US athlete to win gold in men’s figure skating since 2010. With a score of 332.60, he secured a 22.5 point win over Yuma Kagiyama of Japan. According to Vox Magazine, Chen has been widely known for his quadruple jumps since 2017, but only finished fifth at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Nonetheless, Chen came back and landed five quadruple jumps, proving his record-breaking abilities in men’s figure skating. According to Time Magazine, his emotional skating performance would set a new world record in the short program and secure Chen’s first gold medal at his second olympic competition. 

Overall, all US athletes who competed in the 2022 Winter Olympics worked extremely hard and many athletes left Beijing with medals. The US had an overall medal increase from 23 total medals in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, to 25 medals in 2022.

Although the US placed fifth overall, the US was just 2 medals behind Germany, who placed third overall. On Feb. 20, the closing ceremony occurred at “The Bird’s Nest” in Beijing and Team USA marched through, led by flag-bearer and Olympic bobsledder, Elana Meyers Taylor.   

If you missed the opportunity to tune in to NBC and watch this year, be on the lookout for the 2026 Winter Olympics. At the 2022 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony, the handoff occurred from Beijing, China to Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. The 2026 Winter Olympics will be held in Italy February 6-26, 2026. 

In the meantime, you can check out NBC Olympics website for a full recap of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.