10 Unforgettable Moments From The Beijing Olympics



The Bird’s Nest in Beijing

Julia Egtvet, Reporter

Despite a recent rise in COVID-19 worldwide along with political unrest, the Beijing Winter Olympics kicked off on February 4, 2022. As we look back, in no particular order, here are the unforgettable moments. 

  1. Nathan Chen, also known as the Quad King, won the gold medal in the men’s singles program for figure skating. During his short program, he set a new world record. Chen’s success in the 2022 Olympics came after he finished 5th in 2018. 
  2. Kamila Valieva, a Russian figure skater, just 15 years old, became the center of a doping scandal and there was a question about whether she would be allowed to compete. In December, she failed a drug test, claiming contamination from her grandfather’s heart medication. After review, a committee decided she would still be able to compete. Valieva was slated to win the gold medal in all her events. However, she did not place in the top three during the women’s singles program.
  3. At just 18 years old, Eileen Gu experienced great success at her first Olympics. Gu won two gold medals along with a silver medal in multiple freestyle skiing events. She was born in the United States, but she skied for China which stirred up quite a bit of controversy within both countries. 
  4. Lindsey Jacobellis won the first gold for the United States in the winter games during the women’s snowboarding cross competition. Jacobellis made her 5th Olympic appearance and won her 2nd medal. 
  5. Mixed cross snowboarding debuted in Beijing this year. Nick Baumgartner and Lindsey Jacobellis of the United States won gold in this new event. At 40 and 36 years old respectively, the duo became the oldest medalists in U.S. snowboarding history for their genders. 
  6. Erin Johnson is the first U.S. African American athlete to win a medal in speed skating. Despite being ranked 1st worldwide in her event, Johnson struggled during trials and originally did not qualify, but teammate Brittnay Bowe offered her a spot for the 500-meter event. She went on to win a gold medal.
  7. Chloe Kim defended her gold medal in the women’s halfpipe competition. In her 2nd Olympics appearance, she only needed her first run to win the competition. 
  8. This year, the U.S. men’s hockey team had a rocky road to the Olympics. In December the NHL decided they would not allow their players to travel to Beijing. With only 10 days to put the team together, the roster included 15 NCAA athletes. They had success until the quarterfinal when they lost against Slovakia. 
  9. Shaun White’s epic snowboarding career concluded in Beijing after 5 Olympic games. He failed to end on a high note after he finished 4th in the men’s halfpipe. White ended his storied career with 3 gold medals from 2006, 2010, 2018. 
  10. Despite the excitement of the games, NBC experienced its lowest ever ratings for the Olympics. Viewership was down 42% from the previous low during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. 

After three games hosted in East Asia, the Olympics now return to Europe for the summer 2024 games in Paris.