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2022 Winter Olympics: 10 reasons to watch the Beijing Games

Only six more months and the Olympic show is back with its winter edition.

It’s rare for two Games to be so close together, as Tokyo’s warmer climates have been replaced by Beijing’s cold temperatures and makeshift snow.

China’s £2.5bn event is approaching and while rising Covid cases continue to threaten the highly anticipated Games, the final touches are being made.

Here, sports post addresses the reasons fans should be excited about February’s episode.

Only six more months and the Olympic show is on its way again with its winter edition, in Beijing

Only six more months and the Olympic show is on its way again with its winter edition, in Beijing

More events than ever before

The Winter Olympics take sport to a whole new level with the most extreme and dangerous competitions.

And this time there are seven more events to know, try to understand and finally watch in awe and marvel at the sheer skill.

Running from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20, the program now includes women’s monobob, big air freestyle skiing, short track speed skating mixed relay, plus mixed team events in mixed team ski jumping, aerial freestyle skiing and snowboard cross.

There will be seven new events next month, including mixed relay short track speed skating

There will be seven new events next month, including mixed relay short track speed skating

There will be seven new events next month, including mixed relay short track speed skating

Female athletes now have the chance to compete alone in bobsleigh, while a mixed relay event in short track speed skating promises to be the perfect cocktail of chaos and excitement.

The program includes alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, tobogganing, Nordic combined, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboard and ice skating.

Most Gender Balanced Games

The addition of seven additional events makes this year’s Games the most gender-balanced Winter Games of all time.

In the new disciplines, the percentage of female athletes will increase to 45.44 percent.

This comes after the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year had the most gender equality, with 48.8 percent of athletes competing in women.

Freestyle skier Eileen Gu, British snowboarder Katie Ormerod (see below) and short track speed skater Suzanne Schulting are just some of the names that could be making headlines next month.

British snowboarder Katie Ormerod makes her Olympic debut

British snowboarder Katie Ormerod makes her Olympic debut

British snowboarder Katie Ormerod makes her Olympic debut

Katie Ormerod is back

The 24-year-old will happily make up for lost time. The Team GB snowboarder suffered a career-threatening injury that prevented her from competing in Pyeongchang four years ago.

Ormerod was considered the most promising British medalist after her success at the World Championships and the X-Games, but her Olympics were over before they even started.

She broke her heel in two the night before the match was due to start. Ormerod previously fractured her anterior cruciate ligament, damaged the meniscus in both knees, fractured her shoulder and both arms, as well as her back.

The Halifax star underwent seven surgeries, a skin graft and nearly two years of grueling rehabilitation before returning to action.

Ormerod is finally ready for the main stage.

Beijing makes history

The Chinese city is the first to ever host the Summer and Winter Olympics after the 2008 event.

The summer edition 14 years ago was China’s first time holding the Olympics and it was quite the spectacle.

Beijing doesn’t seem like the most obvious location for a winter sports spectacle, but all eyes have been splashing on the city for fourteen days.

The spectacular Bird’s Nest National Stadium will once again host the opening and closing ceremonies.

The spectacular Bird's Nest National Stadium will once again host the ceremonies

The spectacular Bird's Nest National Stadium will once again host the ceremonies

The spectacular Bird’s Nest National Stadium will once again host the ceremonies

Non stop action

Like last summer in Tokyo, the time difference is great for viewers in the UK as we can wake up to some fierce competitive action.

Beijing is eight hours ahead, meaning some medals will be decided around lunchtime.

And for those struggling to sleep… the event preliminaries will take place in the early morning hours in the UK.

There’s daily non-stop action for two weeks and let’s face it, there’s not much else going on during dark and cold February weekdays in Britain.

For those fans who have suffered watching England’s horrific efforts Down Under, the Winter Olympics are a much more uplifting prospect.

The opportunity to watch incredible wall-to-wall sport is here and the Olympics have that feel-good factor.

figure skating duel

The rink is usually the setting for hard-fought and fierce battles in the form of ice hockey clashes, but it is set to be the scene of an epic battle between two figure skaters.

Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu is aiming for his third title in a row and if he succeeds, he will become the first to win three consecutive Olympic titles in 94 years.

The main rival of the Japanese star is three-time world champion Nathan Chen of the US, who has reached the world top three times in the past four years.

Chen claimed the bronze medal in the figure skating team in Pyeongchang, but this time wants to do two better in the individual competition.

Triple World Champion Nathan Chen

Triple World Champion Nathan Chen

Two-time Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu

Two-time Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu

Three-time World Champion Nathan Chen (left) takes on two-time Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu (right) on the ice

Pressure is on

The host city is always under pressure to perform to beat or at least match the Games of four years earlier.

The amount of money invested and the rotation of the entire event combined with the level of control increases the heat.

And Beijing will be under the microscope with little snow. The organizers will use 49 million gallons of water for 300 snow cannons to create artificial snow.

Organizers will use 49 million gallons of water for 300 snow cannons to create artificial snow

Organizers will use 49 million gallons of water for 300 snow cannons to create artificial snow

Organizers will use 49 million gallons of water for 300 snow cannons to create artificial snow

A ski center near the city only had 2cm of snow between January and March 2021 – less than London.

It is not the first time that the Winter Olympics have been held in a destination where such a crucial element is missing. Eighty percent of the snow at the 2014 Sochi Games was fake.

“The snow will be comparable to Russia and comparable to PyeongChang at the 2018 Olympics. They both had partial artificial snow,” said GB’s snowboardcross racer Charlotte Bankes.

“As riders we have to adapt, but we’ve all been through it before.”

No host of the Winter Olympics wants headlines criticizing the quality of the snow.

crazy sports

The Olympics give fans the chance to see sports that are rarely seen. Last year’s summer spectacle saw unusual sports such as skateboarding and climbing appear on our screens.

But the winter version raises the stakes a bit more with athletes literally risking their lives for glory.

The skeleton (pictured) and tobogganing are exciting sports where athletes risk their lives

The skeleton (pictured) and tobogganing are exciting sports where athletes risk their lives

The skeleton (pictured) and tobogganing are exciting sports where athletes risk their lives

Skiing, snowboarding and rollerblading are all ridiculously fast, but the skeleton and tobogganing are just insane.

Can’t miss tossing an ice slide with heads and feet barely off the ground on a tea leaf-like sled traveling at about 80-90 mph.

Team GB seems to have a knack for the skeleton too!

Expert analysis

That’s a nice twist on the expertise fans will get from Britain’s greatest winter Olympian, Lizzy Yarnold, ever.

The double Olympic gold medalist will provide insight into bobsleigh, skeleton and luge from the BBC’s home in Salford during the Games.

Yarnold won the skeleton in Russia in 2014 and defended her title four years later in South Korea.

The 33-year-old will be part of the BBC’s more than 300-hour live coverage on two of their channels.

If you’ve been there, done it, and got the t-shirt (and medal), Yarnold’s insight will be invaluable.

Stories of the unexpected

Speaking of t-shirts… the Winter Olympics always have something to do with Tonga’s shirtless skier, one of many unexpected stories.

Pita Taufatofua went viral when he went shirtless during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

The cross-country skier became an online sensation once again by donning his signature look in freezing temperatures four years ago at the closing ceremony of PyeongChang, then back in Tokyo.

Skier Pita Taufatofua went shirtless at PyeongChang's closing ceremony four years ago

Skier Pita Taufatofua went shirtless at PyeongChang's closing ceremony four years ago

Skier Pita Taufatofua went shirtless at PyeongChang’s closing ceremony four years ago

Meanwhile, it has been 34 years since Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards became the first person to represent Great Britain in ski jumping at the Olympics.

Edwards competed against the odds after financing everything himself and working as a plasterer. He finished last in the 70m and 90m events, but his story inspired.

At the same Games in 1988, the Jamaican bobsled team that inspired the Cool Runnings movie captured the hearts of fans around the world by making their Olympic debut in Calgary.

So, it begs the question… what will be next?

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