Olympics 2022: Athletes and Rivalries to Watch in Beijing

Observe our newest protection of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Gold isn’t a positive factor on the Winter Olympics: For each big-name athlete or crew on the Beijing Video games, there may be somebody standing in the best way of victory. Many occasions will likely be determined by a showdown between two prime contenders, or by a star’s battle in opposition to one thing extra fearsome. Listed here are among the rivalries to observe over the following two weeks.

Diggins equipped what many thought of to be essentially the most thrilling American second on the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics when she outraced skiers from Sweden and Norway within the closing stretch of the crew dash, earning the United States its first gold medal in cross-country snowboarding.

Her accomplice that day, Kikkan Randall, has retired, however Diggins is again at age 30 and will rating a person gold this time round. However the scorching skier proper now could be the Russian Nepryaeva, who took away Diggins’s Tour de Ski title this 12 months and leads the World Cup standings.

Hanyu, of Japan, is in search of to change into the third singles skater to win three consecutive gold medals and the primary in practically a century. He plans to try a quadruple axel, the game’s most tough leap, and could possibly be the primary individual to land it in competitors if profitable.

Chen, the American star, has a bonus in his experience with different quadruple jumps. However he might want to keep away from a disastrous quick program, which ruined his medal chances in 2018 and value him victory final fall at Skate America.

In her teenage years, Kim dominated the halfpipe, a run that culminated in a gold medal on the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. Stardom got here rapidly. However she quickly discovered the game too cloistered and movie star too uncomfortable, so she stepped away, pondering retirement. She went to Princeton and spent 22 months with out using a snowboard. After which she returned and dominated once more.

Something however one other gold for Kim will likely be an upset. But when it’s Mastro who beats her, it is not going to be an enormous one. Mastro, a fellow 21-year-old Californian, has lingered in Kim’s shadow. On the 2021 X Video games and World Championships, she completed second to Kim. This could possibly be Mastro’s time to pounce.

The title that’s lacking right here? Shaun White. Whereas White, 35, will compete in his fifth Winter Olympics, in search of his fourth gold medal within the halfpipe, he’s now not the favourite. That mantle belongs firmly to Hirano, 23, a two-time silver medalist who leads a dominant Japanese crew (together with Hirano’s youthful brother, Kaishu) that might sweep the rostrum.

The largest wild card is James, of Australia, who has been engaged on the identical game-changing trick as his Japanese rivals: the triple cork. Those who land it’ll more than likely take house {hardware}.

Get able to see quite a lot of Gu. Born and raised in San Francisco, however competing for China (her mom’s homeland) in three occasions, Gu, 18, has captured the creativeness of the host nation. China has by no means received greater than 5 gold medals at a Winter Olympics, however Gu is favored to win three in halfpipe, slopestyle and large air.

The freeskier more than likely to disrupt these ambitions is Sildaru, of Estonia, who will flip 20 throughout the Video games. Like Gu, she is the uncommon athlete to compete in all three disciplines, and she or he is the uncommon competitor who has crushed Gu up to now 12 months.

Girls’s Hockey

The dominant forces in girls’s hockey are anticipated to play for the gold medal on Feb. 17. However their preliminary-round matchup on Tuesday will provide each groups closing tuneups simply earlier than the beginning of elimination play.

The People want to repeat as Olympic champions and their roster consists of 13 gamers from the 2018 Video games in Pyeongchang, together with the forwards Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield, in addition to the goalies Maddie Rooney and Alex Cavallini. Canada posted a 4-2 file in opposition to the US throughout an exhibition tour forward of the Beijing Video games and could have Marie-Philip Poulin and Rebecca Johnston making their fourth Olympic appearances.

Males’s Hockey

The groups that took silver and bronze on the 2018 Video games will duel on Feb. 10, the second day of the boys’s match. Canada has assembled a roster that features the previous N.H.L. participant Eric Staal, whereas Patrick Hager, Germany’s scoring chief in Pyeongchang in 2018, is anticipated to compete. However the absence of present N.H.L. gamers injected some uncertainty into the match, during which the Russian crew is now favored for gold.

Schulting is extending the Dutch dominance of speedskating into quick observe. Ultimately 12 months’s world championships she received all three particular person races (500 meters, 1,000 meters and 1,500 meters) and the Dutch girls received the relay.

Arianna Fontana of Italy, Lee Yubin of South Korea and Kristen Santos of the US are the very best bets to disclaim Schulting repeated journeys to the highest spot on the rostrum.

Bowe, of the US, is the world-record holder within the 1,000 meters, however a few Japanese skaters are scorching on her tail.

Bowe received the race on the first two World Cup stops of the season, however victories on the subsequent two belonged to Nao Kodaira and Miho Takagi. Takagi is the very best 1,500-meter skater on this planet, whereas Kodaira is ranked third within the 500 meters, that means Bowe must fend off challenges from each a sprinter and a longer-distance skater.


Norway tends to win quite a lot of males’s biathlon occasions. Johannes Bo has received the final three World Cup titles, and his brother Tarjei and the remainder of the crew are all threats to win on any given day.

However biathlon could be fickle. An amazing skier can miss a couple of photographs within the taking pictures portion, be pressured to ski penalty laps, and be thrust instantly out of competition.

France might need gave the impression to be in for a down cycle after the five-time Olympic gold medalist Martin Fourcade retired. However Quentin Fillon Maillet has come ahead to fill his skis, and Germany, Sweden and Russia are additionally poised to benefit from a foul shot or two by Norway.

Nordic mixed is a mixture of ski leaping and cross nation, and Riiber, of Norway, is especially nice at leaping. “Each crew and each athlete in our sport is watching video of him, attempting to determine how and why he’s on one other degree,” the American Jared Shumate told The Associated Press.

Riiber began this season with eight wins within the eight occasions he entered, and it seemed seemingly that he would have the ability to exorcise the demons of two disheartening fourth-place finishes within the Pyeongchang Video games. However a again damage induced him to overlook a number of occasions, and the up and coming Johannes Lamparter of Austria has been grabbing victories. Now, Riiber’s Olympics could possibly be derailed by a optimistic coronavirus take a look at, reported the day earlier than the opening ceremony; with out two damaging checks, he won’t be able to compete.

Ski Leaping

With Marita Kramer of Austria out because of a positive coronavirus test, the ladies’s competitors is instantly vast open. Althaus, the defending silver medalist from Germany, and Takanashi, the defending bronze medalist from Japan, are the elder stateswomen at age 25 on this younger individual’s recreation. Kriznar, a 21-year-old Slovenian, represents the following wave. She edged Takanashi for the final World Cup title.

After the ladies’s occasion, there will likely be one other gold medal alternative within the new combined crew occasion.

The Latvian brothers are coached by their father, Dainis Dukurs, a former bobsledder. They’re every in search of the medals which have eluded them all through their in any other case illustrious careers.

Martins Dukurs, 37, is a six-time world champion who received silver medals on the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, however remains to be chasing his first gold. Tomass Dukurs, 40, received a World Cup gold medal in December by holding off Martins at their house observe in Sigulda, and is once more attempting for his first Olympics medal after two fourth-place finishes.


For the primary time at an Olympics, these longtime buddies and rivals will likely be competing beneath the identical flag. Humphries, a two-time gold medalist for Canada in two-woman bobsled, left the nation, citing harassment throughout the sport’s nationwide governing physique after the 2018 Winter Olympics. She gained American citizenship this winter.

Meyers Taylor is in search of her first Olympic gold medal, having received two silvers and a bronze. She and Humphries are tied for essentially the most Olympic medals amongst feminine bobsledders with three, and they’re going to have an additional alternative so as to add to their totals with the debuting monobob competitors — supplied Meyers Taylor is cleared to compete in time. She tested positive for the coronavirus final week.

Geisenberger, of Germany, deliberated skipping these Olympics over the remedy of sliding athletes by Chinese language officers throughout coaching periods final 12 months. As a substitute, she is defending her back-to-back gold medals within the girls’s singles occasion. Geisenberger is extensively considered the very best feminine luger within the sport’s historical past, and a German athlete has received gold within the occasion at each Olympics since 1994.

Geisenberger’s most severe competitors will most likely come from her teammates. The 25-year-old Taubitz is the reigning world champion.


Canada received the boys’s Olympic gold medal in 2006, 2010 and 2014 and was starting to think about it a birthright. Then the cult hero John Shuster and the People bounced again from a shaky begin to roar to the gold in 2018, leaving Canada behind in fourth.

Sweden or Britain would possibly win the gold medal this time. However no rivalry is extra fierce than Canada in opposition to the decrease 48. (And, sure, Shuster and his team are again representing the US.)

Jonathan Abrams, Alan Blinder, John Department, Kevin Draper, Matt Futterman, Jeré Longman and Victor Mather contributed reporting.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/04/sports activities/olympics/beijing-olympics-matchups.html Olympics 2022: Athletes and Rivalries to Watch in Beijing

Fry Electronics Team

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