The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 are almost here!
With the Games officially opening on 4 February, it's time to familiarize yourself with the top things to know about the competition.
From medal favourites and new sports to key dates and how to watch the action, we've got you covered.
Beijing 2022 schedule
The Opening Ceremony is scheduled to take place on 4 February 2022, with the Closing Ceremony taking place on 20 February 2022.
However, the competition itself will begin two days before the Opening Ceremony with preliminaries in curling, while there are also preliminary group games in women's ice hockey and qualification runs in the moguls competition (freestyle skiing) scheduled for 3 February.
Sports events at Beijing 2022
Events will be held in 15 disciplines across seven sports at the Beijing 2022 Games:
- Alpine skiing: Men's Downhill, Women's Downhill, Men's Slalom, Women's Slalom, Men's Giant Slalom, Women's Giant Slalom, Men's Super-G, Women's Super-G, Men's Alpine Combined Slalom, Women's Alpine Combined Slalom, Mixed Team Parallel
- Biathlon: Mixed Relay 4x6km (W+M), Women's 15km Individual, Men's 20km Individual, Women's 7.5km Sprint, Men's 10km Sprint, Women's 10km Pursuit, Men's 12.5km Pursuit, Men's 4x7.5km Relay, Women's 4x6km Relay, Men's 15km Mass Start, Women's 12.5km Mass Start
- Bobsleigh: Women's Monobob*, 2-man, 2-woman, 4-man
- Cross-country skiing: Women's 7.5km + 7.5km Skiathlon, Men's 15km + 15km Skiathlon, Women's Sprint Free, Men's Sprint Free, Women's 10km Classic, Men's 15km Classic, Women's 4 x 5km Relay, Men's 4 x 10km Relay, Women's Team Sprint Classic, Men's Team Sprint Classic, Men's 50km Mass Start Free, Women's 30km Mass Start Free
- Curling: Mixed Doubles, Men's competition, Women's competition
- Figure skating: Men's Singles, Women's Singles, Ice Dance, Pairs, Team Event
- Freestyle skiing: Women's Moguls, Men's Moguls, Women's Freeski Big Air, Men's Freeski Big Air, Mixed Team Aerials*, Women's Freeski Slopestyle, Men's Freeski Slopestyle, Women's Aerials, Men's Aerials, Women's Ski Cross, Men's Ski Cross, Men's Freeski Halfpipe, Women's Freeski Halfpipe
- Ice hockey: Women's competition, Men's competition
- Luge: Men's Singles, Women's Singles, Doubles, Team Relay
- Nordic combined: Ind. Gund. NH/10km, Ind. Gund. LH/10km, Team Gund. LH/4x5km
- Short track speed skating: Mixed Team Relay*, Men's 500m, Women's 500m, Men's 1000m, Women's 1000m, Men's 1500m, Women's 1500m, Women's 3000m Relay, Men's 5000m Relay
- Skeleton: Men's competition, Women's competition
- Ski jumping: Men's Normal Hill Individual, Women's Normal Hill Individual, Men's Large Hill, Men's Team, Mixed Team*
- Speed skating: Men's 500m, Women's 500m, Men's 1000m, Women's 1000m, Men's 1500m, Women's 1500m, Women's 3000m, Men's 5000m, Women's 5000m, Men's 10000m, Women's Team Pursuit, Men's Team Pursuit, Men's Mass Start, Women's Mass Start
- Snowboard: Men's Big Air, Women's Big Air, Men's Halfpipe, Women's Halfpipe, Men's Parallel Giant Slalom, Women's Parallel Giant Slalom, Men's Slopestyle, Women's Slopestyle, Men's Snowboard Cross, Women's Snowboard Cross, Snowboard Cross Mixed Team Relay*
*New Olympic event
There are 109 sets of medals to be awarded, seven more than there were at PyeongChang 2018. New events will be contested in bobsleigh, short track, freestyle skiing, ski jumping, and snowboard.
The Beijing Games will be the most gender-balanced Winter Games in Olympic history, with the quota of women increasing from 41 per cent in PyeongChang to over 45 per cent.
Top athletes to watch at Beijing 2022
The Olympic Games are where the world's best athletes gather to produce moments of extraordinary skill and drama, and Beijing 2022 will surely be no exception.
So, among the Olympic champions, X Games gold medallists, and up-and-coming stars that will be strutting their stuff on the snow and ice, here are some of the top athletes to watch at the Olympic Winter Games.
Mikaela Shiffrin (USA): The two-time Olympic gold medalist won four medals at the 2021 World Championships (including gold in Alpine combined) to add to her already historic career CV in the sport, which includes three Overall World Cup championships, four world championships in slalom, and the achievement of being the only skier in history with wins in all six FIS Alpine Ski World Cup disciplines.
Shiffrin competed in the giant slalom (gold), slalom and combined (silver) events at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and will be the favourite to medal in all three of these events in Beijing.
Sturla Holm Lægreid (NOR): The 24-year-old won four gold medals at the 2021 World Championships, triumphing in the 20km individual, mass start, relay and mixed relay events. He is yet to compete at an Olympic Games, but based on his performance at the World Championships, there's a good chance he could star in Beijing.
Francesco Freidrich (GER): Having already won four consecutive two-man bob World Championship titles, plus a four-man bob title in 2017, German pilot Francesco Friedrich achieved an exceptional double at PyeongChang 2018: a joint victory in the two-man sled and an outright win for gold in the fours.
Georgeta Popescu (ROU): Georgeta Popescu become the first female Romanian Winter Games gold medallist when she triumphed in the women’s monobob at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lausanne. With the event making its Olympic debut at Beijing 2022, can she slide her way to the podium again?
Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR): Klæbo followed up his wins in the sprint, 4x10km relay and team sprint at PyeongChang 2018 by winning gold in all three events at the 2019 World Championships and the 2021 World Championships. Klæbo holds multiple records in the sport, including being the youngest male in history to win the FIS Cross-Country World Cup, the Tour de Ski, a World Championship event, and an Olympic event.
Sweden: The Swedish men's team, led by double Olympic medalist Niklas Edin (SWE), picked up a third successive crown at the 2021 World Championships - with Edin winning his fifth world title.
Sweden's women's team are also among the favourites for gold in Beijing, with skip Anna Hasselborg the first curler in history to reign as the simultaneous holder of the European Curling Championship gold medal, the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship gold medal, and the Olympic gold medal (won in PyeongChang).
Hanyu Yuzuru (JPN) & Nathan Chen (USA): Yuzuru, considered to be one of the greatest male figure skaters in history, is a two-time Olympic gold medallist and world champion. He will surely be the man to beat in Beijing as he looks for a third consecutive men’s singles title, a feat not achieved since 1928.
Yuzuru's closest challenge will likely come from three-time world champion (2018, 2019, 2021) and 2018 Olympic bronze medalist in the team event, Nathan Chen.
Perrine Laffont (FRA): Laffont is the defending Olympic and world champion in women's moguls, and also won the last two freestyle overall Crystal Globes (awarded to the season standings leader by discipline and overall).
Gu Ailing Eileen (CHN): Gu followed up her stellar performance at the 2020 YOG (where she won three medals including gold in the women's Big Air and halfpipe disciplines) with an absurd 2021 campaign, winning gold in the halfpipe and slopestyle at the world championships and in the superpipe and slopestyle at the X Games.
Canada & USA: Barring a major upset, the women's tournament will come down to the gold medal match between Canada and the United States. This is a fairly safe prediction, given that since women's ice hockey was added to the Winter Olympics programme in 1998, all but one final has been contested between the two nations at the Games.
Canada leads the all-time Winter Olympic series 3 - 2, but the U.S. team are the defending Olympic champions.
Natalie Geisenberger (GER): 2018 Olympic champion Geisenberger remains a dominating force in the women's singles, and picked up a silver medal at the 2021 World Luge Championships in Königssee, Germany. With four gold medals and one bronze, the German is the most successful and decorated female Olympic luger in history.
Eric Frenzel (GER): Frenzel had an incredible performance at the 2018 Winter Olympics, cementing his status as one of the greatest Nordic combined athletes of all time. The German won a medal in every Nordic combined event - gold in the Gundersen normal hill/10km and team Gundersen large hill/4 x 5km, bronze in the Gundersen large hill/10km.
Short track speed skating
Suzanne Schulting (NED): Dutch sensation Schulting won the 1000m in PyeongChang, and won gold in_every_ event at the 2021 World Championships (including the overall competition). The 24-year-old may struggle to pull off the same feat in Beijing, but there's no doubt she will be among the favourites to medal - regardless of the events she's competing in.
Martins Dukurs (LAT): Six-time world champion and double Olympic silver medalist Martins Dukurs has competed in skeleton since 1998, making him the veteran of the men's field. The Latvian finished fourth at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and 16th in the 2021 World Championships, but don't count Dukurs out from contention in Beijing. After all, the man known as “Superman” by his competitors has the most World Cup titles in skeleton history.
Andreas Wellinger (GER): Four-time Olympic medallist and PyeongChang champion Wellinger is understandably one of the favourites for the normal hill competition, but it's worth noting that since the event was introduced to the Winter Olympic programme in 1964, no men's athlete has successfully defended his title.
Ireen Wüst (NED): The Dutch speed skater is the most decorated active Winter Olympian with 11 medals, and has already cemented her legacy in Winter Olympic history by becoming the first athlete to have won a gold medal in an individual event at four different Winter Games.
Only six summer athletes have achieved this feat, and if Wüst triumphs again in Beijing, she will become the first person to have won gold at five editions of the Games.
Chloe Kim (USA): Kim became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal when she won gold in the women's snowboard halfpipe in PyeongChang when she was just 17 years old. Now 21, Kim is the reigning World, Olympic and X Games champion in the halfpipe and the first to win the title at all three of those major events, plus the Youth Olympic Games.
Beijing 2022 Olympic venues
With Beijing being in the unique position as the first city to host both Summer and Winter editions of the Olympics, several venues from the 2008 Summer Olympics will be reused for the 2022 Winter Olympics as part of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIV Olympiad's (BOCOG) Sustainability Plan.
The venues for the Winter Games in 2022 have been divided into three zones, or clusters: Beijing, Yanqing, and Zhangjiakou.
Located in central Beijing, this cluster will primarily stage the ice sports of the Winter Olympics, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games.
- The National Stadium: Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Beijing 2008 Legacy Venue
- National Aquatics Centre: Curling / Wheelchair Curling (Paralympic Winter Games), Beijing 2008 Legacy Venue
- National Indoor Stadium: Ice Hockey / Ice Sleigh Hockey (Paralympic Winter Games), Beijing 2008 Legacy Venue
- Wukesong Sports Centre: Ice Hockey, Beijing 2008 Legacy Venue
- National Speed Skating Oval: Speed Skating
- Capital Indoor Stadium: Short Track Speed Skating & Figure Skating, Beijing 2008 Legacy Venue
- Big Air Shougang: Freestyle Skiing Big Air & Snowboard Big Air
Located 75 kilometres northwest of Beijing's city centre, Yanqing is a mountainous suburb of China's capital filled with hot springs, national parks, ski resorts, and the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China. Yanqing's Olympic venues will stage the alpine skiing events as well as the sliding events: bobsled, luge, and skeleton.
- National Sliding Centre: Bobsleigh, Skeleton, Luge
- National Alpine Ski Centre: Alpine Skiing / Para Alpine Skiing (Paralympic Winter Games)
Zhangjiakou is a popular Chinese ski destination approximately 180 kilometres northwest of Beijing. The newly constructed Beijing-Zhangjiakou intercity railway will transfer guests between all three venue clusters for the Winter Olympics in just one hour. Zhangjiakou's venues will stage the majority of the ski and snowboarding events at the 2022 Winter Games, including freestyle, cross-country, ski jumping, Nordic combined, and biathlon.
- National Biathlon Centre: Biathlon / Para Biathlon & Para Cross-Country Skiing (Paralympic Winter Games)
- National Ski Jumping Centre: Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined (Ski Jumping)
- National Cross-Country Centre: Cross-Country, Nordic Combined (Cross-Country)
- Genting Snow Park: Freestyle Skiing, Snowboarding / Para snowboarding (Paralympic Winter Games)
How to watch Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022
The event will be available to watch via live television broadcasts and digital streaming platforms, with highlights also available on social media, and full coverage on Olympics.com throughout the Games.
The full list of broadcast partners and their coverage plans will be revealed prior to the start of the Games, and will be updated here once confirmed.
Beijing 2022 medals
The Beijing 2022 medals - named "Tong Xin", meaning "together as one" - are composed of five rings and a centre; the design is based on Chinese ancient jade concentric circle pendants with the five rings representing the Olympic spirit to bring people together and the splendour of the Olympic Winter Games being shared all over the world.
The five Olympic rings are engraved in the centre on the front of the medals and the words “XXIV Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022” are engraved around it, surrounded by ice, snow and cloud patterns. On the back, the emblem of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 is placed in the centre with the full Chinese name of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games（北京2022年第24届冬季奥林匹克运动会) engraved around it.
Also on its back is the name of the medal event, engraved on the outermost ring.
Beijing 2022 Olympic mascot, emblem, slogan & torch
A giant panda named Bing Dwen Dwen (冰墩墩) is the official mascot of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
“Bing” means ice and also symbolises purity and strength, and “Dwen Dwen” represents children. The mascot embodies the strength and willpower of athletes and will help to promote the Olympic spirit.
The Games emblem is based on the Chinese character for winter, 冬. It is meant to resemble a skater at the top and a skier at the bottom, with China’s rolling mountains, Olympic venues, ski pistes and skating rinks in the middle.
“Together for a Shared Future” is the official motto of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
The torch for Beijing 2022 - bearing the name 'Flying' (飞扬 Fei Yang) - honours the Olympic legacy in the Chinese capital by featuring a similar design to the cauldron of the 2008 Olympic Games, which looked like a giant scroll.