Winter Olympics Beijing 2022: What We Learned

Much has happened at the Olympics Beijing 2022. It was a highly-anticipated event for many nations of the world. It was one of the most delicate balancing acts any sports event has ever been. The reason for the balancing act was not a specific security risk but rather the imperceptible enemy called Covid-19. The virus has kept the world on the edge of lockdown or in lockdown for the past two years. The Olympic Bubble was a new term introduced in the Tokyo Games and extended to Beijing.

China, though, has proved to be fully equipped, with the tools and means necessary, to address this. Making the Olympics safe for all participants and attendees is precisely what China’s goals were. The organization and execution was spot-on. Even though some athletes didn’t attend for various reasons, the athletic competition remained intense throughout the games. Some of the most most interesting storylines of the competitions included:

  • Kamila Vasilyeva’s Ice-Skating Near-Miss
  • The US lost the Women’s Hockey Title to Canada
  • Eileen Gu’s Unapologetic Gold Medal for China

Canada vs USA Women’s Hockey

Canada managed to finally reclaim the women’s hockey gold. The title has long been dominated by the United States, despite Canada’s hockey-mad culture. A highly-contested final between the two powerhouses finally saw Canada dethrone its southern neighbor and reclaim the gold. US athletes will have to wait until the next Olympics in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy in 2026 to try and reclaim the titles.

Winter Olympics Beijing 2022: What We Learned

Russian Figure Skating Controversy

Kamila Vasilyeva received a lot of attention during these Olympics. The 15-year-old Russian figure skater had been able to pull off some outstanding performances on the ice. However, the moment was tarnished for her after she tested positive for prohibited substances. After an investigation, Vasilyeva was allowed to return and progress to the finals.

After a fantastic performance prior to the incident, she found it harder to perform and missed out on a medal. Even though many thought she would be destined for gold. Her coaches issued a stern reprimand on how the Olympics as an organization failed Vasilyeva. In reality, it was the adults in her life, including her coaches, who did not take better care of her.

The Saga of Eileen Gu

Another highlight of the Olympics was the participation of Eileen Gu as part of the Chinese team. Eileen is a Californian-born skier, who decided to compete for China in the Winter Olympics in 2022. Her dominant performance in the halfpipe freestyle slope demonstrated her ability to perform at the highest level.

The United States and many of her compatriots regretted that she had chosen to join Team China. Tensions between her two homes have been growing recently. Eileen, though, kept her cool and focused on the sport and not the geopolitical bickering. This has proved to be a successful formula. Eileen left the Olympics triumphant with two gold and one silver medal to her name.

The Winter Olympics are usually less of a spectacle, but this year had some excellent performances, new record-setters, and generally a great feeling about it. Never mind the small geopolitical tensions that surfaced – the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 were definitely something that the people who participated or watched on their TVs would remember.

What to Expect from the Next Olympics?

There has been a bit of criticism that Beijing wasn’t really the best place to hold the Winter Olympics. Literal tons of artificial snow probably validate this point. However, as a host, China’s capital proved one of the most unique places to have the games. The Chinese hosts spared no expense or effort in making sure that everyone is safe.

The upcoming Winter Olympics in 2026 will be equally important. Europe plays a central part in sports. After all the Olympics date back to Ancient Greece and this is precisely why bringing the Olympics closer to home should provide more opportunities.

Arguably, Italy is a better spot for pure climate and geographic reasons. Italy can reasonably expect the mountains to remain cold and welcoming to winter sports as they have ever been. This will also be the fourth Olympic games that Italy has hosted. Milan may be hosting the games for the first time, but the city is no stranger to international events.

The rivalry between individual countries will surely continue to carry on no matter who is playing host and who is visiting. It’s the nature of the Olympics and it’s an important part of the draw of the games. Without rivalry, the Olympics would be just a bunch of people out having some fun. This competition has been the highest level of sports for millennia and no other form of the contest is actually as exciting as are the Olympics in all of their permutations.

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