Editorial

The Top Athletes to Watch at the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022

The Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 represent several firsts in both sporting and Olympic history; a fact that China has been quick to seize on. Who could blame them? This will be the first time ever that the Olympics have been held two successive years in a row; more importantly for China, it is the first time that a single host city has showcased both the Summer and Winter variants of the Olympic Games.

The Winter games never receive quite the same level of attention as the summer games – not as many nations tend to compete in the winter games, as many of the sports are entirely unfamiliar in certain parts of the world. By contrast, the summer games will usually see almost every nation on the planet participate to some extent.

Who will Compete at Beijing 2022?

In days gone by, the international Olympic committee would simply release a list of countries who were to compete at each year’s games, but things have become complicated in recent years due to multiple factors – both Hong Kong and Taiwan once competed effectively as nation states, but this situation angered Beijing who believes that this goes against their “one China” principle.

The “One China” principle states that there is only one China – the People’s Republic of China – and that Taiwan, which also goes by the name “The Republic of China” is part of sovereign Chinese territory. Accordingly, the PRC does not believe that Taiwan should be allowed to send a separate team to the Olympics under a different flag.

Let’s leave the complicated diplomatic squabbling out of this as much as possible, however – a more serious issue has been the Russian doping scandal which has forced Russian athletes to compete as a “National Olympic Committee”, rather than a Nation State.

In 2022, a total of 85 National Olympic Committees will be participating in the games, which is down from a total of 94 at the previous Pyeongchang Winter Olympics held in South Korea in 2018.

Specific Athletes to Watch Out For:

If you are looking to place a bet on a specific athlete at the 2022 Winter Olympics, you could do a lot worse than these ten selections, many of which are favorites and all of whom have odds available on one of the best legal sports betting app in VA, Unibet:

  1. Japanese Ski Jumper Sara Takanashi

She may only be 24 years of age, but you’d never guess it by looking at her list of achievements. She broke a record for an athlete by winning 4 World Cup titles and holds a record for winning sixty individual events at a Ski Jumping World Cup. If she doesn’t reach the podium at the absolute minimum, It will be one of the biggest upsets of the entire games.

2. Canadian Freestyle Skier Mikaël Kingsbury

As one of the coldest countries in the world, Canada takes to winter sport like a duck to water, as the saying goes, and regularly makes the top three places of the table of most medals won at most Winter Olympic games. Kingsbury himself has won more medals at the Freestyle World Championships than any male competitor in history.

3. American Alpine Skier Mikaela Shiffrin

Shiffrin is a legend in the United States. An Olympic Gold Medalist who also won four medals at the 2021 Alpine Skiing World Championship, she is the youngest champion in Olympic Alpine Skiing history. The USA is expecting big things from Mikaela, and it seems unlikely she will disappoint her legions of fans.

4. German Bobsleigher Francesco Friedrich

Germany are the defending champions of bobsled after winning at Pyeongchang, and put on a stunning performance earlier in 2021 the World Championships where their team time was almost a full second faster than second-place Latvia.

5. Dutch Short Track Speed Skater Suzanne Schulting

Schulting has won gold in every event at the 2021 short track speed skating world championship, becoming only the second woman and fourth skater of all time to do so. She’s still only 23 years old and in the prime of her sporting career, so whilst competition will undoubtedly be tougher in Beijing, there is ever chance she could pull off the same record once again.

6. Dutch Speed Skater Ireen Wüst

When it comes to speed skating at the Winter Olympics, the Netherlands quite simply leave almost every other country in the dust… well, snow, I guess would be more appropriate, but I think you get the idea! Ireen is the first athlete to have won gold in any individual event at four different Winter Games – could she even make it five in 2022?

7. American Snowboarder Chloe Kim

Kim made history in Korea in 2018 when she became the youngest woman to ever win an Olympic Snowboarding gold medal. She was just 17 years old at the time. Chloe is still the reigning world, Olympic and X Games Champion on the halfpipe, and will no doubt be hoping to start further building her medal cabinet in Beijing next year.

8. Swedish Cross-Country Skier Charlotte Kalla

As Sweden’s most successful cross-country skier of all time, Kalla has indicated that 2022 will likely be her last appearance at an Olympic games. She won four medals in 2018, bringing her overall tally to nine – if you were her, wouldn’t you like to make it a nice round ten before retiring?

9. Japanese Figure Skater Yuzuru Hanyu

A 19-time world record breaker in figure skating, Hanyu has managed to earn consensus as being the best male figure skater in history. He is the reigning Olympic champion in the men’s single competition.

10. German Skeleton Tina Hermann

Tina has won the last three world championships in women’s skeleton, is a four-time world champion, and only narrowly missed out on a medal at her debut Olympics in 2018.

Which Countries are Predicted to Win the Most Medals at Beijing 2022?

Without question, we can expect to see an extremely strong showing from China themselves at next years Winter olympic games. Although sporting prowess is always looked for in children from a very young age in Western countries, China takes this to a whole new level.

Chinese children are encouraged to excel academically, and if they are also found to have exceptional gifts in any type of sporting discipline as well, they could soon find themselves with a schedule that affords them almost no time for socializing with friends, or any other kind of activity which they personally enjoy. To some Western observers, this is seen as unfair, though in truth the practice is just as common in Japan and many other parts of Asia, too.

Asia has long recognized that people (and children especially) learn much faster at an early age, so the more time they can devote to study and practice in areas where they have specific talent at a young age is seen as by far the most productive and sensible use of a child’s time – they have their whole life ahead of them, after all.

China stepped up its efforts to find and train athletes prior to the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, which resulted in them winning an unprecedented 48 gold medals – 12 ahead of the United States. The combined medal tally (Gold, Silver, and Bronze, combined) won by China only lagged behind the United States by just 12 medals. Four years earlier in Athens, China again came second behind only the United States, but that time the gap was far wider at 38 medals.

A record 109 events will be taking place at the 2022 Winter Olympics, encompassing fifteen contents which are more broadly labelled as being part of seven individual sporting disciplines.

The ultimate aim for Beijing would be to win more medals than the United States altogether – is this possible? It seems unlikely, bearing in mind that Beijing has traditionally been a much stronger performer at the Summer games than the winter ones. Still, China has surprised the world countless times in the past – and should never be underestimated.

China did win just nine medals at the previous Winter Olympics, however, compared to 23 for the United States, so it would be shocking to see them reverse this tally – even by a small number.

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