The 2022 Winter Olympics


After four long years, America’s greatest athletes finally took the stage again to bring home the gold once more. The 2022 Winter Olympics began on February 4, with a remarkable and memorable opening ceremony. The games were held in Beijing, China where 84 countries participated in alpine skiing, snowboarding, curling, figure skating, luge, and more events.
However, the games were not without controversy. China has been under fire for human rights violations, including the ongoing genocide and oppression of Uyghur Muslims and other ethinc and religious minorities. This resulted in several countries, including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom diplomatically boycotting the games. This means that while athletes from these countries competed, government officials and diplomats did not attend the games as they normally would. Still, athletes from all over the world went on to make history.
For American snowboarder Shaun White, this year was a bitter sweet experience. White competed in five Winter Olympics, winning the gold medal in 2006, 2010, and 2018 in the snowboard halfpipe event. While White did not achieve a spot on the medal stand this year, he had a good run and thanked snowboarding and his family for all they have done for him during his career.
Figure Skating is a popular hallmark of the Winter Olympics, and 2022 left spectators with plenty to talk about. Russia, often a leader in skating, has had its fair share of Olympic scandals, and has been banned from the games as a nation, so are only allowed to compete under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). Scandal seems to have followed the ROC into 2022 after 15-year-old skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication. After being suspended for one day after her positive test, Valieva qualified for the women’s free skating on February 17. However, during her free skate, Valieva wiped out numerous times. Even with all the mistakes she made, Valieva was still welcomed back to Russia with cheers and open arms.
For American figure skating, Nathan Chen took home the gold, beating reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. He is now one of the most decorated American Olympic skaters in history.
To top it all off, American speed skater Erin Jackson became the first Black woman to win a gold medal in her event. The last time the women’s American speed skating team won a gold medal was in 1994. Jackson was originally a champion inline skater before she switched over to speed skating. She won 12 world championship medals and 47 national titles. Overall, Jackson said she could not have felt more humbled and honored that she won the gold for her country.