From the opening to the closing ceremony, this year's Winter Olympics in Beijing was full of gold medals, broken world records, and newly forged friendships!
For the final Olympic count China came in 3rd place, with nine gold and 15 overall. Team USA followed closely behind in 4th place, with eight gold and 25 overall medals.
This year’s Olympics also celebrated new diversity in competing athletes, with American figure skater Timothy LeDuc as the first non-binary Winter Olympian, and American Erin Jackson becoming the first black woman to win a speed skating medal!
Below are some of the more memorable highlights from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Snowboard Big Air
As a little kid, China’s Su Yiming shined as a child actor. At the 2022 Winter Olympics, Yiming stole the spotlight in Men’s Snowboard Big Air, capturing the gold, along with the hearts of the host nation. Yiming only took up snowboarding seven years ago when China was awarded the winter games, but the 17 year old who’s known as “Ming” to family and friends, worked hard to excel at the sport and in doing so, took gold in Big Air, beating out Canadian Max Parrot. In Snowboard Slopestyle, Yiming narrowly missed out on his second gold medal of the games, as Parrot took the top spot.
Yiming appeared in the 2014 action movie "The Taking of Tiger Mountain.” He also plays guitar, surfs, and loves Hip Hop music. Look for Su Yiming to have a starring role in the 2026 winter games in Italy!
2022 was a historic year for two American snowboarding legends, Lindsey Jacobellis and Shawn White. For both athletes, Beijing was their fifth Olympics games. After chasing the title for over 20 years, Lindsey Jacobellis won the gold medal in the women’s snowboarding cross at the age of thirty-six, making her the oldest female Olympic snowboarding medalist in history.
Lindsey Jacobellis also won gold in this year’s Mixed Team Snowboard Cross Finals, competing alongside Nick Baumgartner, who, at forty years old, is now the oldest Olympic snowboarder to win a medal.
Famed American snowboarder Shawn White announced that after his run at the Beijing Winter Olympics, he would be retiring from the sport. Beijing was White’s fifth Olympic games, and while he placed fourth in this year's snowboarding halfpipe competition, he holds three Olympic gold medals in the event. Many of the tricks we saw win gold at this year’s event were invented by White, who is known as a legend and crusader in the sport of snowboarding.
It would be difficult to talk about women’s skiing without mentioning the disappointment for American star Mikaela Shriffrin, who not only failed to medal, but also skied out in the Slalom and Alpine Combined. Shiffrin did complete two events: The super-G, finishing ninth, and the downhill, which she completed with an 18th-place finish.
In Women’s Alpine Combined, it was Switzerland taking home gold and silver, with Italy winning bronze. Chinese skier Fanying Kong finished 15th.
Overall, Switzerland was king (and queen) of the mountain, setting a record with five gold medals. Beat Feuz (Men’s Downhill), Michelle Gisin (Women’s Combined), Lara Gut-Behrami (Women’s Super-G), Marco Odermatt (Men’s Giant Slalom) and Corinne Suter (Women’s Downhill).
In 2022, Chinese-born U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen iced everyone, winning gold in Beijing. Chen, who’s free-skating event was choreographed to Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” made the world forget about his disappointment four years earlier, landing all five of his quadruple jumps. Chen beat out a pair of Japanese skaters, Yuma Kagiyama, (silver) and Shoma Uno, (bronze).
Aside from his stellar skating, Chen looked great, as well, wearing a galaxy-inspired outfit designed by Vera Wang.
Off-the-ice controversy surrounded the women, as the ROC’s Kamila Valieva failed a drug test taken on December 25th, but the results didn’t come to light until after she competed in the team event on February 8th. And because the case is ongoing, team medals were not awarded. The U.S. fought to get its silver medals while the games were still going on but lost that battle. More bad news for the ROC which has been banned from the upcoming world championships.
In Pairs Figure Skating, two-time world champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China captured the pairs skating gold medal after falling short four years earlier by less than a half point. Pairs teams from the ROC captured silver and bronze.
‘O Canada’ on the women’s side, as America’s neighbor to the north takes gold, with the United States winning silver and Finland claiming the bronze medal. Canada’s win avenges what happened four years ago in the PyeongChang Olympics, losing to Team USA in the gold medal game.
For the men, and for the second straight Winter Olympics, the National Hockey League refused to allow its players to participate. With many of the world’s top players sidelined by the NHL, Team USA was at a distinct deficit and failed to win a medal. Finland won gold, followed by the ROC, and Slovakia.
Jamaica is always front and center to those seeking a bobsled heartwarming upset, but that will have to wait until 2026, as the four Jamacians finished dead last in Beijing, 8.25 seconds off the lead. The team hit the wall and exited the sled kissing a lucky egg, just like in the movie “Cool Runnings.”
Germany took gold and silver in the four-man and swept the two-man event. The two-women bobsled featured Germany one and two, with the U.S. taking bronze. In Women’s Monobob, the U.S. won gold and silver, with Canada coming home with bronze.
After seventeen days of bringing the world together for the largest spectacle in sports, the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing came to a colorful and dramatic close, passing the torch to Italy, which will host the games in 2026 in the Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo. The theme of the Closing Ceremony was “Together for a Shared Future,” and was directed by film director and producer Zhang Yimou, who also directed the opening ceremonies.
Following all the pomp and pageantry, the Olympic Flame was extinguished and the 2022 Winter Olympic Games came to a close.