The year 2022 will begin with a spectacular international event for sports fans: the Winter Olympics, postponed for a year, will finally take place and provide the spectators with the opportunity to cheer for their favourite athletes. The organisers decided to hold a full-scale event, but introducing the new rules was unavoidable.
Beijing has set the record because it is the only city in the history of the Games that host both Summer and Winter Games. The only rival for Beijing was Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. The Chinese capital received four votes more during the voting process. Beijing already hosted the Olympics in 2008, which ended with an unquestioning victory for the host country’s athletes. In less than a year, all stadiums, natatoriums and hotels built for 2008 were fitted with the latest equipment and prepared to welcome numerous guests. Some sports disciplines will be held at stadiums in other cities: Yanqing and Zhangjiakou can provide better snow coverage for the athletes.
Athletes from 95 countries around the world will take part in a large-scale competition for the title of Olympic champions from February 4 to 20. In total, over 4,000 participants applied to participate. The Winter Games have never been held on such a grand scale before. Bookmakers are confident that sports betting will soon take first place among gambling entertainment.
This year the founders of the Games paid particular attention to gender equality. To achieve an equal number of participants of both genders, the quotas of some sports disciplines were significantly changed. Currently, 47.25% of registered athletes are female, and 52.75% are male.
The Winter Games consist of 15 different disciplines, and there are 109 sets of medals in total. In 2022, new sports categories will debut as part of the Games:
- Women’s monobob (a single-person bobsleigh competition)
- Big air (ski or snowboard jumping)
- Short track mixed relay
The first achievements will be announced on February 5. On this day, there will be competitions in the following disciplines: cross-country skiing, ski jumping, biathlon and speed skating.
The opening ceremony of the Olympics is scheduled for February 4 and will be held at the Beijing National Stadium. Nicknamed the “Bird’s Nest” because of its unusual shape, it accommodates about 80,000 people. The mascot of the 2022 Olympics is a panda named Bing Dwen Dwen. A distinctive feature of the panda is the hearts on its paws, which symbolises the hospitality and sympathy of the Chinese people to the guests. There will be significantly fewer actors performing at the opening than usual. The founders of the Games focused on the technical component of the show, promising viewers a fascinating spectacle. The usual motto has also undergone some changes. Now it sounds like “Faster, higher, stronger – together.”
The flag bearers from the Russian national team will be known in just a few days. President of the Russian Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakov noted in his interview that he has a whole list of candidates in mind for this position of the highest importance.
Due to the diplomatic boycott over the human rights issues in China, official representatives of the United States and Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Belgium, Kosovo, Denmark, Japan and Lithuania will not attend the Olympics.
Government officials from Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand will also not be present at the Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the overall epidemiological situation, the country’s authorities have introduced additional preventive measures. For example, a negative covid test completed within 48 hours will be required to get into the capital. Another necessary condition will be to do another test 72 hours after the arrival. All athletes will be allowed to compete only after they consent to do PCR tests daily.
Spectators will be able to attend the competition, but their number will be significantly lower than the seating capacity allows. In addition, special seating arrangements have been made to minimise contacts between representatives of different countries with each other at the arena. The athletes will be forbidden to go out into the city without a valid reason, even in their free time.
Despite the disciplinary penalties from the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Russian national team is confident in its abilities. It plans to become one of the top three prize-winning countries. According to analysts, Russians have every chance to make their dreams come true. The same as at the last Olympics, the main rivals of the Russians are thought to be the athletes from Norway. At the 2020 Olympic Games, the Norwegian national team became the gold medalist, setting its record – 45 medals. The German national team will be a formidable opponent in hockey. Canadian and USA national teams will not play full strength, given the absence of players who are in the NHL.
To date, the Russian national team has registered the participation of 199 athletes, including 104 male athletes and 95 females. Considering the official representatives, coaching staff and personnel, the Russian delegation to Beijing will consist of 450 participants.
Alexander Bolshunov will also perform at the Olympics, among other athletes. Winner of three silver medals at the last Games, the skier is in excellent physical shape and is determined to win. The Olympic Games-2018 bronze medalist, Natalia Voronina, will perform in the speed skating discipline.
The Russian national team will participate in competitions under the banner “Russian Olympic Committee” (ROC). Athletes will present a new collection of sportswear: a turquoise colour added to the usual white, red, and blue shades. Instead of the Russian anthem, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 will be played. It is also prohibited to display the Russian flag and national symbols.