Day 1 of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

By Jack Bantock, Ben Church, John Sinnott, Fernando Alfonso and Adrienne Vogt

Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT) February 6, 2022
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3:47 p.m. ET, February 5, 2022

What's coming up for the Winter Olympics on Sunday

From CNN's John Sinnott

Day two of the 2022 Winter Olympics will include events in ski jumping, curling, ice hockey, snowboarding, luge and figure skating, to name a few.

These are some key moments to look out for:

Can Norway remain on the up with the men's downhill?

Norway's in-form Aleksander Aamodt Kilde laid down a marker by setting the fastest time on Friday in the wind-affected second training run for the men's downhill.

The 29-year-old set the pace on the new course, dubbed "The Rock." With no test events held at the newly designed slope because of the pandemic, it is arguably the fairest downhill race in history as everyone is new to the course.

There will also be a fresh winner crowned, as Aksel Lund Svindal, who has since retired, won in PyeongChang four years ago — the first time Norway claimed top spot in the marquee event. 

Figure skating: A long way to go with the short program at the team event

Nathan Chen, considered the gold-medal favorite in figure skating’s men’s singles event, finished in first place last Friday in the men’s short program of the team event, giving the US team an edge to win an early medal in Beijing.

On Sunday, it is the turn for the women to take to the ice in the short program, so it should mean a first Olympic look at 15-year-old Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee. Valieva has already broken world records — and look out for her quad jumps. The team skating event format is almost like a mini-Olympics: Every team enters a man, a woman, a pairs team and a set of ice dancers, and the five best-scoring countries advance to a free skate on Monday, where the team with the most points after all the events are completed wins. 

Podium predictions

  • Snowboard: All eyes will be on New Zealand's Zoi Sadowski Synnott as she tries to hold off the double Olympic champion Jamie Anderson of Team USA in women’s slopestyle. No snowboarder has won three golds in a row at the Olympic Games, as Anderson aims for history. 
  • Cross-country skiing: Norway's Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo leads the field in the men’s 15km + 15km skiathlon final.  
  • Freestyle skiing: The women’s moguls takes place under the lights with a likely duel between Perrine Laffont of France and Jakara Anthony of Australia.   
  • Speed skating: Nine-time Olympic medalist Sven Kramer of the Netherlands goes for his 10th in the men’s 5000m. 

3:06 p.m. ET, February 5, 2022

US bobsledder cleared to compete in Olympics after negative Covid-19 tests

Elana Meyers Taylor has been cleared to compete after testing negative twice for Covid-19.
Elana Meyers Taylor has been cleared to compete after testing negative twice for Covid-19. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

American bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor has been given the green light to compete in the 2022 Beijing Winter Games after testing negative for Covid-19, according to the official Olympics site.

Two days after arriving in the Chinese capital, she tested positive and has been self-isolating.

"I'll be leaving tonight, which is the morning for you guys, and headed to another hotel, so I can start the process of getting back into training and getting everything ready to race," she told NBC's Today Show this morning.

Meyers Taylor was put into self-isolation after testing positive, where she continued to train during the week, while awaiting to be cleared. 

Meyers Taylor, who won two silver medals and a bronze at previous Olympics, is a two-time women's bobsled world and overall World Cup champion. She is scheduled to compete in the women’s monobob and two-woman bobsled events.

She traveled to Beijing with her nearly 2-year-old son, Nico, and her husband, Nic Taylor, who is an alternate bobsledder for Team USA.

When she found out about her positive test, she wrote on Instagram:

"I am asymptomatic and currently at an isolation hotel- and yes I am completely isolated. Getting to the Olympics is never easy, and this time, as a new mom, it has been the most challenging, but also, incredibly rewarding, to be able to show that it can still be done. So many people, especially other moms from all walks of life, have been so supportive of my efforts to get back to the Olympics. It’s been an incredible wave of positivity that I’ve been riding to a while so I’m going to continue to do that. This is just the latest obstacle that my family and I have faced on this journey, so I'm remaining optimistic that I'll be able to recover quickly and still have the opportunity to compete."

Taylor said she hopes to stand on the podium with her son in her arms.

She had also been chosen as Team USA's flag-bearer for the opening ceremony, but speed skater Brittany Bowe was selected to walk on her behalf.

CNN's Homero DeLaFuente contributed to this post.

2:19 p.m. ET, February 5, 2022

Figure skating pair Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc chart their own path

From CNN's George Ramsay, Nina Avramova and Dan Moriarty

Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc skate during the US Figure Skating Championships on January 6, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc skate during the US Figure Skating Championships on January 6, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Competing in a discipline with synergy at its heart, figure skating pair Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc have found a winning formula on their way to qualifying for the Winter Olympics.

"Dad jokes and puns, mostly," is what LeDec quips as being key to the duo's success. "And a lot of hard work ... we can work super hard and push ourselves beyond what we knew was possible."

The American pair say their bond off the ice influences how they perform on it, propelling them to new heights in their skating careers.

After winning their second national title last month, Cain-Gribble and LeDuc are now preparing to compete in their first Winter Olympics in Beijing.

It will be a landmark moment regardless of how they perform in the pairs events with LeDuc, who identifies as gay, set to become the first out, nonbinary athlete to compete at the Winter Olympics, according to Team USA.

For the duo, who have been competing together since 2016 and have both taken breaks from competitive pairs skating, the build-up to the Games has been a chance to reflect on their own journeys.

Frequently, they say, they have found themselves at odds with skating's norms and expectations during the course of their careers.

"For a long time, Timothy and I didn't see ourselves represented, and so we didn't quite feel like we belonged," Cain-Gribble tells CNN Sport.
"And for a long time, people had things to say about us. Even when we teamed up, they had a lot of things to say about my body, or about Timothy's sexuality. People still will make those comments."

Cain-Gribble, who at five-foot-six is taller than most women who compete in pairs skating, has previously spoken about how body shaming almost forced her to retire from the sport.

She adds: "I think for us, it's about leading with authenticity, being our true selves out there and creating a very inclusive environment."

Read the full story here:

12:52 p.m. ET, February 5, 2022

Gone-but-not-forgotten sports of the Olympics: Skijoring, speed skiing and sled dog racing

From CNN's Jack Bantock

French skier Michael Prufer competes in speed skiing at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville.
French skier Michael Prufer competes in speed skiing at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. (Dimitri Iundt/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images)

At the 1928 Winter Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, demonstration sports — not part of the official program — were included for the first time.

With demonstration events ceasing to exist after 1992, CNN Sports explored some of these "lost sports" of the Winter Games.


Exhibited at St. Moritz in 1928, skijoring holds the honor of being the first ever demonstration sport at a Winter Olympics.

It has taken many forms over the years. It began with skiers being pulled by reindeer in Lapland, before trying their hand behind horses, dogs and — popularized in the 1950s — behind motorcycles and cars.

The central difference to the European version of skijoring is that in the US, the horse has a rider. While in Switzerland, many competitors grow up on horse ranches and ski, in the US, most are either very accomplished horsemen or very accomplished skiers.

The sport has enjoyed a golden age over the last decade in the US. Some 23 races are slated for 2022, with two more potentially to come in Canada.

Speed skiing:

There are humans hurtling down the sides of mountains faster than an F1 car. Blink and you'll miss them, some of the fastest non-motorized humans on the planet: speed skiers.

In 2016, Italy's Ivan Origone flashed down a run of the La Forêt Blanche resort in France, clocking an average of 254.958 kmph (158.42 mph) across his last 100 meters to set a new world record.

For perspective, the World Air Sports Federation states that the terminal speed of the human body free-falling in a stable, head down position is between 240 and 290 kmph (149.13 and 180.2 mph) — speed skiers are effectively plummeting through the sky.

The sport has made just one appearance at the Winter Olympics as a men's and women's demonstration event at Albertville in 1992.

Sled dog racing:

Debuting as a demonstration sport at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, 90 years later, the sport is still alive and barking as dogs pull their harnessed drivers, or mushers, around courses across the globe.

Most popular in the Arctic regions of North America and Europe, any mention of sledding and the breeds of dogs involved — huskies, malamutes and similar Nordic breeds — always come with the association of snow.

Now, 10 years shy of the 100th anniversary of sled dog racing at the Winter Olympics as a demonstration sport, talk continues to swirl of the sport one day making a return to the Games.

Watch more here:

12:15 p.m. ET, February 5, 2022

Norway takes home the gold as China wins big on Saturday

From CNN's Jack Bantock

Tarjei Boe, Johannes Thingnes Boe, Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland of Norway celebrate after winning the biathlon mixed relay 4x6km on Saturday.
Tarjei Boe, Johannes Thingnes Boe, Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland of Norway celebrate after winning the biathlon mixed relay 4x6km on Saturday. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Having arrived in China as the most successful country in Winter Olympics history, Norway was quickly into the groove on day one of Beijing 2022.

Norway got off to a golden start on Saturday, with the Nordic country claiming two top medals to take its all-time gold tally to 134. That's 29 more than the United States, which sits in second on 105.

Norwegian Therese Johaug won the first gold of Beijing 2022 with a dominant victory in the 15-kilometer cross-country skiing race in the women's skiathlon, cruising to her first individual Olympic title in 44 minutes and 13.7 seconds.

The 33-year-old is competing in her third Games, but missed PyeongChang 2018 due to a positive drug test in 2016.

"I've been training a lot for this for many, many years," Johaug told reporters. "It's been a special week for us."

Johaug finished just over 30 seconds ahead of the ROC's Natalia Nepryaeva, who won silver in a time of 44:43.9.

Austria's Teresa Stadlober completed the podium, securing bronze with a 44:44.2 finish.

Medal tally for Feb. 5:

  • Biathlon: Mixed relay 4x6km (women's and men's): Norway
  • Cross-country skiing: Women's 7.5km + 7.5km skiathlon: Therese Johaug, Norway
  • Freestyle Skiing: Men's moguls: Walter Wallberg, Sweden
  • Short Track Speed Skating: Mixed team relay: China
  • Ski Jumping: Women's normal hill individual: Ursa Bogataj, Slovenia
  • Speed Skating: Women's 3000m: Irene Schouten, Netherlands

Read more here.

9:21 a.m. ET, February 5, 2022

China claims first gold medal at Winter Olympics

From CNN's Homero DeLaFuente

China's Wu Dajing, left, narrowly beats out Italy's Pietro Sighel to win the short track mixed relay on Saturday.
China's Wu Dajing, left, narrowly beats out Italy's Pietro Sighel to win the short track mixed relay on Saturday. (Harry How/Getty Images)

China claimed its first gold medal of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, after placing first in the short track mixed relay speed skating event on Saturday. 

The host nation narrowly beat out second-place Italy by 0.016 seconds to claim their first-ever short track mixed relay gold, to a huge roar of the crowd.

China finished with a time of 2:37.348, while Italy notched a time of 2:37.364 for second place. Hungary came in third with a time of 2:40.900.

9:01 a.m. ET, February 5, 2022

Monobob? Meet the 7 new Olympic events

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Canadian Kaillie Humphries, competing in the monobob for the USA during the World Cup, in Altenberg, Germany.
Canadian Kaillie Humphries, competing in the monobob for the USA during the World Cup, in Altenberg, Germany. (Robert Michael/picture alliance/Getty Images)

The 2022 Olympic Games are underway from Beijing, China, and along with the international pageantry also comes the traditional events fans have grown to know and love; hockey, curling, and figure skating, to name a few.

However, this year's games will introduce the world to seven brand-new events.

Here they are, along with some details on each:

Women's monobob

As the name suggests, this event features a single, female participant tasked with quickly navigating a sled down the windy, icy track all by her lonesome.

The event joins the pre-existing, traditional bobsled events: four-man, two-man, and two-woman. As such, the Beijing Games mark the first time female bobsledders have had two medal opportunities, bringing them even with men.

In the women's monobob event, each competitor's sled is identical, removing any potential design advantages.

Men and women's big air skiing (two separate events)

For the true daredevils out there, freeskiers will take to the Beijing air in an event dedicated to wowing the crowd — and the judges — with their most creative, challenging, heart-in-your-throat tricks. In events for both men and women, Olympic competitors launch themselves off of a ramp, aiming to execute a single, impressive trick on each run before landing cleanly.

The skiers begin atop a run that stands 50 meters high, and will be judged on five factors:

  • difficulty
  • execution
  • amplitude
  • landing
  • progression

In the Olympic final, competitors will make three runs, with their overall score coming from the two best attempts.

The max score for each run is 100 points.

Mixed team relay in short-track speedskating

Think of a lightning-quick, coed, relay race. Now put it on ice. That's essentially what this new speedskating event is, as teams of four (two men and two women) race one another over the course of 2,000 meters (18 laps).

The Olympics have already featured a men's (5,000 meters) and a women's (3,000 meters) speedskating relay; this year's Games, however, will be the first time a mixed-gender event is offered.

The competition begins with each female skater racing for two-and-a-half laps, followed by each male skater covering the same distance. That brings us to 10 laps. The teams' female skaters go again, each for two laps. Now we're at 14. Finally, each teams' male skaters sprint it out for two laps apiece, bringing the total laps covered to 18.

The first team to the finish wins, with medal positions expected to be decided by mere fractions of seconds.

Mixed team ski jumping

It began with men's ski jumping, back in 1988.

Women ski jumpers joined the fun 20 years later at the 2018 Olympic Games.

Now a third medal-earning opportunity has been added to the discipline, as teams of four — two men, two women — compete on ski jumps that feature a 98-meter takeoff.

The event follows a woman-man-woman-man format, with the athletes being individually judged on elements including style and distance. Each skier's score is added up to produce the team total. Look. Out. Below.

Mixed team snowboard cross

In a modern-day version of "last one to the bottom is a rotten egg," this event features teams of two, one woman, one man, racing from a starting gate atop a mountain, to the finish line down below.

It's pure speed, with various obstacles and tests of aptitude — drops, turns, jumps — sprinkled in throughout the course.

The man begins, and only when he reaches the bottom can the starting gate re-open, allowing his female teammate to begin her descent. The team whose woman reaches the finishes line fastest earns victory and is thus, most certainly, NOT a rotten egg.

Mixed team aerial freestyle skiing

Never before has aerial freestyle skiing been a team event. That all changes this year in Beijing, as teams of three combine forces to reach new heights and land upon the medal stand.

Athletes propel off a jump and soar into the sky, where they will engage in a collection of twists and turns, flips and spins, before ultimately, and hopefully, sticking the landing at the slope's bottom.

Each three-person team must have at least one male and one female, and the combined marks of the skiers will produce the team's total score.

9:08 a.m. ET, February 5, 2022

Norway wins second gold medal of the Games

From left, Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Johannes Thingnes Boe, Tiril Eckhoff and Tarjei Boe celebrate during the medal ceremony on Saturday.
From left, Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Johannes Thingnes Boe, Tiril Eckhoff and Tarjei Boe celebrate during the medal ceremony on Saturday. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images)

Norway has clinched its second gold medal in the Games so far, this time in the biathlon mixed relay 4x6km.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Tiril Eckhoff, Tarjei Boe and Johannes Thingnes Boe took the gold medal with a time of 1:06:45.6, according to the official Olympics site.

It was the first Olympic gold for Roeiseland, who told reporters she was "super happy" with the result.

Eckhoff added:

“It was an amazing relay. It was so much up and down, and I had a really tough leg, but I had amazing teammates who made it possible. I don’t know about you guys, but I think this was one of the relays with the most excitement ever, so it was very fun for us," she said.

When asked if he thought he could close a gap in the final meters, Boe said: "I saw early I gained some seconds, and then I believed I can catch them."

"With the two-kilometer course here, I knew it was going to end up a sprint and I’ve been prepared since I came here on Monday. I trained what to do and did my best performance and my preparation for last week, I already did it in my head 100 times," he added.

The Norwegian team is the reigning world champion in this event, according to the Olympics website.

7:53 a.m. ET, February 5, 2022

Medal winning athletes at Beijing 2022 get to take home panda souvenir

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Beijing

(Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
(Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Athletes that make the podium in Beijing will have more than just a medal to take home.

All medal-winning athletes will receive a special souvenir for their achievements -- featuring panda mascot Bing Dwen Dwen and a golden garland of pine, bamboo and plum flower, a traditional Chinese art motif known as the "three friends of winter."

The trio is known as such because they do not wither in winter, embodying "steadfastness, perseverance, and resilience.”

According to the official Olympic website, "Bing" has several meanings in Mandarin Chinese, though the most common is ice. The word also symbolises purity and strength.

“Dwen Dwen” means robust and lively, and also represents children.

The Bing Dwen Dwen design -- created by Cao Xue -- was chosen from over 5,800 submissions from China and 35 countries around the world as part of a global competition arranged by the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee, added the official Olympic website.