With February 4th quickly approaching, the 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony is right around the corner. That means in just a little over a week, the entire world will turn their attention to the many talented athletes competing for their shot at a podium finish at the Winter Olympics.
Some of these athletes are seasoned veterans at the Winter Olympics, while others are making their Olympic debut in Beijing. Either way, they’ve proven to be some of the best of the best at their respective sports and will compete against one another on the world’s biggest stage.
It’s something that only happens once every four years, so it’s quite a big deal – not just for the athletes, but for the countries they represent. The Winter Olympics is a true testament to who reigns supreme in winter sports, so prepare to be amazed for what 2022 has in store for us.
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Athletes to Watch During the Winter Olympics
The 2022 Winter Olympics will start on February 4th and come to an end on February 20th. It’s the first time Beijing is hosting the Winter Olympics, though they recently hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008 – becoming the first city to ever host both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
This year’s Winter Olympics will be one for the record books as it will feature 109 events in total – the most ever at the Winter Olympic Games. That means there are well over 300 medals up for grabs and with over 2,850 athletes across 91 nations, competition is going to be very steep.
The sports included at the 2022 Winter Olympics are 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.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at 25 athletes everyone should have their eyes on as we prepare for the coveted 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
25. Natalie Geisenberger
Natalie Geisenberger is a German luger that’s entering her fourth consecutive Winter Olympic Games. After a bronze medal finish in women’s singles in 2010, she has won back-to-back gold medals in women’s singles and mixed team relay in 2014 and 2018. All in all, she has five Olympic medals – four gold and one bronze. She recently gave birth to her first child in 2020.
24. Sarah Nurse
Sarah Nurse is a Canadian ice hockey player that made a name for herself after breaking the PWHL record for most goals in a season with 35. She helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2013 U18 Championships, a gold and bronze medal at the 2021 and 2019 World Championships (respectively), and a silver medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
23. Shaoang Liu
Shaoang Liu is a Hungarian short track speed skater that made his Olympic debut in 2018. Although he placed 20th in 1,500 meters and 19th in the 500 meters, he finished with a gold medal in the 5,000 meters relay. It was his country’s first ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics, which he shared with his brother and teammate, Shaolin Sándor Liu.
22. Katie Ormerod
Katie Ormerod is a snowboarder that represents Great Britain. She has waited for her chance at the Olympics for far too long. Ormerod just barely missed qualifying for the 2014 Olympics at the age of 16 and was supposed to make her debut at the 2018 Olympics, but had to pull out due to a broken heel and wrist. She’s the first female to ever land a double cork 1080.
21. Eileen Gu
Eileen Gu is a Chinese freestyle skier that began skiing at an early age with her mother. After putting Gu in skiing lessons, she quickly progressed and started competing at a high level in 2018 at the age of 15. She won two gold medals and a silver at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, two gold and a bronze at the 2021 Winter X Games, and two gold and a bronze at the 2021 World Championships.
20. Sui Wenjing & Han Cong
Sui Wenjing and Han Cong are Chinese pair skaters that have been competing together since 2007. They’re two-time Junior Grand Prix Final winners, three-time World Junior Champions, one-time Grand Prix Final winners, six-time Four Continents Champions, and two-time World Champions. They also earned a silver medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
19. Olga Mikutina
Olga Mikutina is an Austrian figure skater that’s making her Olympic debut at the 2022 Winter Olympics. She was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine in 2003 and started skating at an early age. She started competing at the senior level in 2019 and has won the 2020 Eiscup Innsbruck, the 2020 Istanbul Cup, and the 2021 Sofia Trophy. She’s just 18 years old, but she can skate as well as anyone.
18. Anna Hasselborg
Anna Hasselborg is a Swedish curler that very well could be one of the greatest of all-time. She’s entering her second Olympic Games after finishing with a gold medal in 2018, which resulted in her becoming the first curler to simultaneously hold gold medals at the Olympics, the European Curling Championship, and World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.
17. Perrine Laffont
Perrine Laffont is a French mogul skier that’s entering her third consecutive Winter Olympics. After placing 14th in 2014, she took home a gold medal in 2018 and is looking to repeat as champion in 2022. She’s a three-time gold medalist at the World Championships, twice for dual moguls and once for moguls – she also has a bronze and silver medal in moguls.
16. Dorothea Wierer
Dorothea Wierer is the most decorated Italian biathlete ever. Across her career in IBU World Cup races, the Olympics, and the World Championships, she has five individual medals, 14 sprint medals, 16 pursuit medals, seven mass start medals, nine relay medals, 11 mixed relay medals, and two single mixed relay medals. She has two Olympic bronze medals.
15. Gus Kenworthy
Gus Kenworthy is a British-American freestyle skier that will be retiring from the sport after this year’s Winter Olympics. The four-time gold medalist at the Winter Dew Tour and two-time gold medalist at the New Zealand Winter Games is entering his third Olympic games. He won a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics for the US, but has represented Great Britain since.
14. Aleksander Aamodt Kilde
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde is a Norwegian alpine skier that’s entering his third consecutive Winter Olympics. Though he has never won an Olympic medal, that very well could change in 2022. He’s been competing on the senior circuit since 2014 and has 11 wins, 26 podium finishes, and the 2020 World Cup title. He has been on fire since returning from injury in December.
13. Sven Kramer
Sven Kramer is a Dutch long track speed skater that’s entering his fifth consecutive Winter Olympics. He earned a bronze and silver in 2006, a bronze and gold in 2010, two golds and a silver in 2014, and a gold and bronze in 2018. With nine Olympic medals, he’s the most decorated speed skater in Olympic history and can join the coveted double-digit medal group in 2022.
12. Dave Ryding
Dave Ryding is an Olympic alpine skier that represents Team Britain. He is entering his fourth consecutive Winter Olympics, though he has never won an Olympic medal. Ryding hopes to change that in 2022, coming off a gold medal finish at the 2022 World Cup. That win resulted in him becoming the first British alpine skier to win a World Cup event and he did it at 35 years old.
11. Tina Hermann
Tina Hermann is a German skeleton racer that’s entering her second Winter Olympics after placing fifth in women’s skeleton at the 2018 Olympics. She has been racing since 2007 and joined Germany’s national team in 2009, though she’s also employed as a police officer. She’s a four-time World Champion that’s coached by Dirk Matschenz and Jens Müller.
10. Nathan Chen
Nathan Chen is an American figure skater that has captured the hearts of many over the past five years. He’s entering his second Winter Olympics after finishing with a bronze medal in 2018. He’s a three-time World Champion, one-time Four Continents Champion, three-time Grand Prix Final winner, and one-time World Team Trophy winner looking for his first Olympic gold.
9. Hanyu Yuzuru
Speaking of Nathan Chen, let’s not forget about his rival and the man standing in the way of his Olympic gold. Hanyu Yuzuru is a Japanese figure skater that’s entering his third consecutive Winter Olympics. He’s looking to become the first male skater in over 100 years to win three consecutive gold medals – doing so in 2014 and 2018. The odds are in his favor in 2022.
8. Charlotte Kalla
Charlotte Kalla is a Swedish cross-country skier that’s entering her fourth consecutive Winter Olympics. She won a silver and gold medal in 2010, two silvers and one gold medal in 2014, and three silvers and one gold in 2018. With nine total Olympic medals, she has a chance to become one of seven Winter Olympic athletes with double-digit medals in their career.
7. Chloe Kim
Chloe Kim is an American snowboarder that’s entering her second consecutive Winter Olympics at just 21 years old. At the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Kim took home a gold medal at the halfpipe and is looking to repeat as champion in 2022. She has also won six gold medals at the X Games – three of which came before she turned 16 years old.
6. Ireen Wüst
Ireen Wüst is a Dutch long track speed skater that’s entering her fifth consecutive Winter Olympics. She has won at least one gold medal in all four of her previous appearances, winning gold and bronze in 2006, gold in 2010, two golds and three silvers in 2014, and two silvers and a gold in 2018. She’s one of three athletes entering 2022 with nine career Olympic medals.
5. Suzanne Schulting
Suzanne Schulting is a Dutch short track speed skater that’s entering her second consecutive Winter Olympics. In her Olympic debut in 2018, she won a bronze medal in Women’s 3,000 meter relay and gold medal in Women’s 1,000 meters. Her gold medal was Netherland’s first in short track speed skating, making her one of the youngest Dutch athletes to ever win gold.
4. Francesco Friedrich
Francesco Friedrich is a German bobsledder that’s entering his third consecutive Winter Olympics. After placing seventh in two-man and eighth in four-man in 2014, he won gold medals in both events in 2018. He recently won a record 10th World Championship and very well could be one of the greatest bobsledders in the history of the sport by the time he retires.
3. Mikaela Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin is an American alpine skier that’s entering her third consecutive Winter Olympics. She won a gold medal in 2014 for the slalom event and then a gold and silver in 2018 for the giant slalom and alpine combined, respectively. She’s the most decorated alpine skier in American history and will look to earn her third Olympic gold medal in Beijing in 2022.
2. Mikaël Kingsbury
Mikaël Kingsbury is a Canadian freestyle skier that’s entering his third consecutive Winter Olympics. After winning a silver medal at the moguls event in 2014, he took home the gold medal in that same event in 2018. He’s also a nine-time FIS Freestyle World Cup winner and is the most decorated mogul skier of all-time. He’s the gold medal favorite in this year’s Olympics.
1. Sara Takanashi
Sara Takanashi is a Japanese ski jumper that’s entering her third consecutive Winter Olympics. She’s one of the greatest female ski jumpers of all-time and is a heavy favorite entering 2022. She’s a four-time World Cup Overall title holder, seven-time World Champion, and even won a bronze medal at the 2018 Olympics. She could very well earn her first Olympic gold in 2022.
Who Are the Most Decorated Athletes at the Winter Olympics?
Ever since the inaugural 1924 Winter Olympics, there have been a handful of athletes to dominate the games year-in and year-out. In fact, there are only six athletes in Winter Olympic history to have achieved double-digit medals in their respective sport – that’s right, just six!
Those six athletes are Marit Bjørgen (15 medals), Ole Einar Bjørndalen (13), Bjørn Dæhlie (12), Ireen Wüst (11), Raisa Smetanina (10), and Stefania Belmondo (10). Of those six, Ireen Wüst is the only one competing in the 2022 Olympics with a chance to win even more medals.
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With that said, there are several Winter Olympic athletes that could join that list in 2022. Claudia Pechstein, Sven Kramer, and Charlotte Kalla each have nine career Olympic medals – with Pechstein becoming the second athlete and first female to appear in eight Winter Olympics.
20 Things to Watch Now That the Olympics Are Over
The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China was one for the history books. While some people were unimpressed with this year’s games and there was more than enough drama to go around, that shouldn’t take away from all the amazing moments we witnessed this year.
With 109 gold medals and over 300 total medals up for grabs, it was Norway that walked away with the most hardware with 16 gold medals, eight silver medals, and 13 bronze medals – a total of 37 medals and five more than the next closest, the Russian Olympic Committee with 32.
The United States fared well in this year’s Olympics, walking away with 25 total medals – eight gold medals, 10 silver medals, and seven bronze medals. Lindsey Jacobellis was the only American athlete to win two gold medals, while Nathan Chen finished with a gold and silver.
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Best Things to Watch Now That the Olympics Are Over
The 2022 Winter Olympics came to an end on February 20th and it left a lot of people around the world stuck with nothing to do – especially considering how much time we spend consuming the Olympic action. It’s the equivalent to binge-watching a TV show and you just watched the finale.
Some people are happy the Olympics are over – either they absorbed all the winter sports they needed or they were never interested in the first place. Other people aren’t ready to say farewell to winter sports and want the fun to continue. Which side of the spectrum do you fall on?
If you’re looking to squeeze that last little bit of Olympic spirit out of your system, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to detail 20 of the most exciting things to watch now that the Winter Olympics have come and gone – including sporting events, movies, and documentaries!
20. Ice Castles (1978 & 2010)
Ice Castles is a movie that tells the story of Lexie Winston, a young figure skater who rises to stardom before suffering a major head injury that robs her of her eyesight. She eventually fights her way back to competition after learning to overcome her disability and skate again.
If this sounds like a movie you’d be interested, you’re in luck because there are two versions! The original one was released in 1978 and is perfect for those that love old movies. If you’re into remakes, then there’s a 2010 version that’s just as good and follows the same exact story.
19. The White Stadium (1928)
The White Stadium is a documentary about the 1928 St. Moritz Olympics. It was the first year the Winter Olympics wasn’t held in conjunction with the Summer Olympics. It was directed by Arnold Fanck and became the first official Olympic feature film with backing by the IOC.
The film gives you an inside look at what the Olympics were like nearly 100 years ago. It features athletes such as Sonja Henie, Alf Andersen, Bertel Backmann, Sherwin Badger, Ivar Ballangrud, Theresa Blanchard, Ellen Brockhoft, Pierre Brunet, and Melitta Brunner.
18. Crossing Beyond (2018)
Crossing Beyond is a documentary about five athletes – Marissa Brandt (hockey), Daniela Iraschko-Stolz (ski jumper), Billy Morgan (snowboarder), Akwasi Frimpong (skeleton), and Sayed-Ali-Shah Farhang (skier) – competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Frimpong was the first skeleton athlete from Ghana, Brandt was a South Korean athlete adopted to the United States, Morgan won bronze medal in the big air event, Farhang was one of the first two Winter Olympians from Afghanistan, and Irashko-Stolz was overcoming a knee injury.
17. Take Off 2 (2016)
Take Off 2, also known as Run-Off or Gukgadaepyo 2, is a South Korean documentary that tells the story of South Korea’s first ever women’s national hockey team. The team was granted automatic entry into the 2018 Olympic Games, two years after the film was released in 2016.
The original team included the likes of a woman that abandoned North Korea, a former short track speed skater that was banned, a middle school student, and a middle aged woman. It’s an interesting story that’s much more popular now with the emergence of women’s hockey.
16. Icarus (2017)
Icarus is a 2017 documentary directed by Bryan Fogel, who seeks the help of Russian scientist Grigory Rodchenkov in winning an amateur cycling race while taking a banned substance. Rodchenkov was head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory prior to appearing in the film.
During the film, the Fogel and Rodchenkov become friends. Rodchenkov eventually tells Fogel that he oversees a state-sponsored Olympic doping program. The film is once again relevant amid the Kamila Valieva doping investigation during the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
15. Molly’s Game (2017)
Molly’s Game is a 2017 film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. It follows the story of Molly Bloom, a mogul skier that had dreams of competing in the Olympics. Those dreams came to a screeching halt when she suffered a career-ending injury in an Olympic qualifying event in 2002.
After the injury, Bloom starts to manage illegal underground poker games with wealthy and famous individuals. She eventually starts her own underground poker empire, but one of her players is an informant for the FBI. They bring down her operation and arrest her in the process.
14. Watch the 2021-22 NBA Season
Alright, let’s take a break from the movies and documentaries. Although not an Olympic winter sport, the NBA is technically a winter sport and it’s in full bloom right now. With roughly 20 or so games remaining in the 2021-22 regular season, the NBA playoffs are right around the corner!
By now, we have a pretty clear look at who the top teams are in the league – the Suns, Warriors, Heat, Bulls, and Grizzlies are separating themselves from the pack. With that said, you can’t count out the Philadelphia 76ers after obtaining James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets.
13. Downhill Racer (1969)
Downhill Racer is a 1969 film directed by Michael Ritchie, written by James Salter, and based on a 1963 novel by Oakley Hall. It stars Robert Redford, Gene Hackman and Camilla Sparv, but you also get to see Sylvester Stallone make his film debut – albeit just one scene in the movie.
The film tells the story of David Chappellet, an American downhill skier that fights for his spot on the United States’ Olympic team. Not only does he make it, but he stuns the world with a gold medal. It’s a cool movie for those that like the downhill battle that makes skiing so exciting.
12. Sticks and Stones: The Battle for the Soul of Curling (2014)
Sticks and Stones: The Battle for the Soul of Curling is a 2014 documentary that tells of Warren Hansen’s impact on the state of curling as we know it today. Prior to the 1970s, curling wasn’t viewed as a pro sport and curlers weren’t viewed as athletes. Hansen wanted to change that.
You’ll get a close-up view of Hansen’s efforts in banning smoking (which happened during the games), promoting fitness, introducing officials into the game, as well as coaches and uniforms. His goal was to bring respect to the game and have it recognized on an Olympic level.
11. Watch the 2021-22 NHL Season
We’re going to take another break from the movies and documentaries. For those that were looking forward to seeing NHL players in this year’s Winter Olympics, you were likely disappointed when the NHL announced its players won’t be participating – it was tragic.
With that said, you can catch all the NHL action you could possibly need with the regular season in full swing. Most teams have around 30 games remaining in their season before the playoffs start, which is when things really get interesting. Buckle up and prepare for the excitement!
10. 2022 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships
The next few things on our list are all related, but they’re different events that will feature a lot of different athletes. First, let’s talk about the 2022 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships for those that didn’t get enough curling during the Olympics. It’s one of the best Olympic sports.
This year’s mixed doubles championships are being held between April 23rd and April 30th in Geneva, Switzerland. It’ll feature 16 teams, instead of the usual 20 teams. Scotland and Sweden won the last two championships, but Switzerland won the two prior to that. It should be exciting!
9. 2022 World Women’s Curling Championships
Alright, let’s move on to the 2022 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Women’s Curling Championship, which is being held between March 19th and March 27th in Prince George, Canada. The city was slated to host the championships in 2020 before it was canceled due to COVID-19.
Although the United States hasn’t yet announced their team, they’re currently slated to play Russia, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, Scotland, and Denmark in the round robin. Switzerland was the winner in last year’s games.
8. 2022 World Men’s Curling Championships
Lastly, we have the LGT World Men’s Curling Championships 2022, which is being held between April 2 and April 10 in Las Vegas, NV at the Orleans Arena – which hosted the 2018 championships. This year’s installment will feature 13 teams from talented countries.
Sweden has dominated the championships in recent years and is currently seeing their fourth consecutive victory. It won’t be easy, but they have all the momentum after securing a gold medal in this year’s Winter Olympics. Great Britain took silver and Canada took bronze.
7. Blades of Glory (2007)
Blades of Glory is a 2007 sports comedy film directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon. It starred Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Jenna Fischer, and Amy Poehler in what was a star-studded lineup. With a budget of $61 million, it received over $145 million in box office sales.
The movie follows two rival figure skaters – Ferrell and Heder – that join forces and create a super duo on the ice. They must overcome the talented brother-sister duo – Arnett and Poehler – if they want to win the gold medal. Do they? Well, you’ll have to watch the movie to find out!
6. The Cutting Edge (1992)
The Cutting Edge is a 1992 sports-romantic comedy directed by Paul Michael Glaser and written by Tony Gilroy. It follows the story of a spoiled figure skater, Kate Moseley, who is forced to skate with a former Olympic hockey captain, Doug Dorsey, in the Olympic pairs event.
Although their partnership starts off rocky as the two find it difficult to work with each other, they slowly grow chemistry with one another and they blossom into a powerful duo on the ice. If you enjoy this movie and want more of it, there are several sequels that you could binge-watch.
5. Eddie the Eagle (2015)
Eddie the Eagle is a 2016 biographical sports film that originally made its debut at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. It was directed by Dexter Fletcher, stars Taron Egerton, and features some big names in Hugh Jackman, Christopher Walken, Iris Berben, and Jim Broadbent.
The film follows the story of Michael Edwards, a former Olympic skier who became Britain’s first Olympic competitor in ski jumping since 1928 when he competed in the 1988 Olympics. Although he finishes last, he becomes an instant icon and is revered by fans of the sport.
4. I, Tonya (2017)
I, Tonya is a 2017 biographical sports comedy directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Steven Rogers. It stars Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding and also features Sebastian Stan, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale, and Allison Janney. It has grossed over $50 million worldwide.
The movie is loosely based on Tonya Harding’s attack on Nancy Kerrigan that left her unable to compete in 1994. Though it’s based on real interviews with Harding and her ex-husband, there is some doubt as to whether her point of view can be trusted. Still, it’s a funny film worth watching.
3. Cool Runnings (1993)
Cool Runnings is a 1993 sports comedy that loosely follows the story of Jamaica’s first national bobsled team appearance at the Winter Olympics in 1988. It was directed by Jon Turteltaub and stars Leon Robinson, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba, and Raymond J. Barry.
It starts with Derice Bannock failing to qualify for the 1988 Summer Olympics as a sprinter. In an effort to qualify, he ends up forming Jamaica’s first bobsled team alongside a dishonored coach and a friend. Though they didn’t perform well, they were immediately viewed as sports icons.
2. Miracle (2004)
Miracle is a 2004 sports drama that’s loosely based on the events that unfolded in men’s ice hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. It was directed by Gavin O’Connor, written by Eric Guggenheim and Mike Rich, and stars Kurt Russell as head coach Herb Brooks.
The Soviets were heavy favorites coming into the Olympics and they were matched up with Herb Brooks and Team USA for a shot at the gold medal game. In what became known as the “Miracle on Ice,” the Americans upset the Soviets and later defeated Finland for the gold.
1. 2022 World Figure Skating Championships
Our final thing for you to watch now that the Winter Olympics are over is the 2022 World Figure Skating Championships, which is being held between March 21st and March 27th in Montpellier, France. It’s definitely something to look forward to after what unfolded at the Olympics this year.
It’ll feature a lot of the best skaters in the world, including Nathan Chen, Yuzuru Hanyu, Yuma Kagiyama, Shoma Uno, Vincent Zhou, and Karen Chen. It’s unclear whether or not Kamila Valieva will skate, but it’s possible barring any major news. Either way, it’s bound to be exciting!
When and Where Are the Next Olympics?
As many of you know, the Winter Olympics happen every four years and the next installment will be taking place in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy in 2026. It’ll mark the first time Italy has hosted an Olympics since Turin hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics – it was an exciting one!
While four years might seem like a long time, we also have the 2024 Summer Olympics to look forward to – which takes place every four years, but is offset by the Winter Olympics by two years. The 2024 Summer Olympics opening ceremony is on July 26, 2024 in Paris, France.
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The Winter Olympics might be over, but that doesn’t mean winter has gone anywhere and neither have winter sports. You can relive some past Olympic heroics through movies and documentaries, or make your own winter sport memories outside – if you have snow or ice.
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