In one month’s time, the world will focus on the Beijing Olympics, which will kick off two weeks of winter sports competition.
There will be the traditional events like skiing and figure skating. And the Beijing Olympics also will incorporate the sizzling X Games events, which are so popular with a younger audience. Expect to see a lot of Shaun White and Chloe Kim.
The Beijing Olympics will feature 109 medal events. There are seven new events, which definitely are of the non-traditional variety. But they’ll definitely be fun to watch. The new events include men’s and women’s big-air freestyle (on skiis). There also will be a women’s monobob — that’s a one-person bobsled. You’ll see mixed team competitions for freestyle skiing aerials, ski jumping and snowboard cross. And there also will be a mixed relay for short-track speed skating (think roller derby, but on ice).
The Beijing Olympics start Feb. 4 with the traditional opening ceremony. Since Beijing is 12 hours ahead of our Eastern time zone, U.S. audiences may find morning viewing the most compelling. It was much the same last summer from the Tokyo Games. Catch the action on NBC, Peacock and USA Network.
And as Outsider starts the countdown to the Beijing Olympics, here are some of the Americans who should shine next month.
Figure skating remains the most popular Olympic sport to watch on television. And an American could dominate. Nathan Chen should be the favorite for the men’s gold medal. In 2018, nerves got to him in the short program at the PyeongChang Games and he took himself out of the medal race. However, he won the long program, becoming the first skater ever to attempt six quad jumps. He landed five of them, with his performance vaulting him to fifth overall. And since the 2018 Olympics, he won gold at the world championships in 2018, 19 and 2021. The home fans at the Beijing Olympics probably will be cheering for Chen. Both his parents are from China.
Another star at the Beijing Olympics likely will be skier Mikaela Shiffrin. She has finished either first or second in every World Cup slalom or giant slalom race she’s competed in this season. Shiffrin took time off over the holidays after she had a positive Covid test. She was second in her first race back.
Plus, keep an eye on Shaun White, who is a legend in both skateboarding and snowboarding. He owns three gold medals in snowboarding. A fourth would be record breaking.
Then there’s Chloe Kim. She was only 17 in 2018 when she won the women’s gold on the halfpipe.
No doubt, Covid will be a huge story at the Beijing Olympics. All athletes must be vaccinated or else they’ll need to do a three-week quarantine. Daily Covid tests are required. And much like Tokyo, there will be travel restrictions on the athletes. There will be spectators, but only from mainland China.