Day 16 of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

By Helen Regan and Sofia Mitra-Thakur CNN

Updated 0137 GMT (0937 HKT) February 21, 2022
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7:12 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and IOC President Thomas Bach receive warm welcome

From CNN's Ben Church

China's President Xi Jinping is seen on a screen during the Closing Ceremony on February 20.
China's President Xi Jinping is seen on a screen during the Closing Ceremony on February 20.  (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

China President Xi Jinping and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach are introduced to the crowd who give them a rapturous welcome.

Both will be relieved at the relative success of this year's Games which was staged in a strict bubble amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The flag of China is raised to the soundtrack of the national anthem as more dancing gets underway on the vast stage.

7:08 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Beijing 2022 is saying goodbye to Winter Olympics

From CNN's Ben Church

The Olympic flag flies in Beijing National Stadium on February 20.
The Olympic flag flies in Beijing National Stadium on February 20. (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

After 16 days of competition, 109 gold medals and more than one controversial moment, Beijing 2022 is officially coming to a conclusion.

The National Stadium, commonly known as the Bird's Nest, is hosting the Closing Ceremony as China waves goodbye to the Winter Games.

With the pandemic and political tensions posing a threat before and during competition, the sport has been reasonably unscathed.

Now is time to remember the highs and lows and look forward to the next Winter Games in Milan and Cortina, Italy.  

The crowd in the stadium is getting warmed up, so settle in for light shows and ever-enthusiastic dancing.

6:24 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Wine, ugly crying and Superman: the best quotes of Beijing 2022

From CNN's Jack Bantock

Amongst the thrills and spills of Beijing 2022, there's been some sound bites deserving of gold medals.

As competition wraps up and eyes turn towards the Closing Ceremony, here's the best quotes from this year's Winter Games.

“I had a glass of wine before the super-G with Loic Meillard and Luca Aerni and after the super-G they wrote on my door, ‘Drink wine: ski fast’. So I drank a glass of wine with them again, of course.”

An unorthodox race preparation for Swiss skier Michelle Gisin, who won gold in the women's alpine combined after a glass of wine with her teammates the day before.

“He is really relaxed, after yesterday he drank two beers.”

What is going on in the world of skiing sports science and nutrition? Austrian gold medalist Alpine skier Matthias Mayer's coach Sepp Brunner giving more weight to the alcohol-based approach.

“You feel like Superman, you’re just flying.”

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Team USA's monobob gold medalist Kaillie Humphries.

“When you’re a professional athlete in a sport that sucks as much as speed skating sucks, you’ve got to find a way to make it suck a little less.”

A double gold medalist in Beijing, imagine what Sweden's Nils van der Poel could achieve in a sport that he loved.

“Snowboarding, thank you. It’s been the love of my life... Sorry you’re going to get me ugly crying here.”

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White ended a legendary career in Beijing, crashing out on his final run.

“I’m gay ... and to be out and proud, competing at the Olympics and all of the opportunities that have come my way since the Olympics, I couldn’t be more thankful.”

Once a silver medalist for the USA, Team GB freestyle skier and pop-culture celebrity Gus Kenworthy reflected on a landmark third and final Games.

Read more here.

5:32 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

The Olympic bubble is running out of alcohol

From CNN's Bex Wright

Bars and restaurants inside the Olympic bubble have started to run out of alcohol in the final week of the Games.

Teams of freestyle skiers from Canada, the US and New Zealand tried to celebrate their last night in China on Saturday after they competed in the halfpipe event.

But they soon exhausted the supplies of alcohol and mixers at the Lobby Bar in the Genting Resort Secret Garden hotel in Zhangjiakou, and the teams resorted to buying boxes of room temperature beer from the hotel shop -- around $35 for a box of 12 Tsingtao beers -- and sharing around bottles of neat spirits.

In the Marco Polo hotel in Beijing, four out of the five choices of red wine had sold out on a recent visit -- leaving only the most expensive option available at around $80.

The Westin hotel in Beijing and the Marriott hotel in the alpine ski area of Yanqing also had to reduce the number of alcohol options available on the menus as supplies ran low.

Getting supplies into the closed loop is challenging, with tight restrictions on food and drinks, and organizers may not have anticipated the amount of alcohol the foreign teams and media would go through during the Games.

Cheers!

6:21 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Sunday was a golden day for five European countries at Beijing 2022

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

Players from Finland's ice hockey team celebrate winning the gold medal match against Russia on February 20.
Players from Finland's ice hockey team celebrate winning the gold medal match against Russia on February 20. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)

There were five gold medals up for grabs on Sunday at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Here's a breakdown of who took home gold for their delegations on Day 16 of the Games.

Alpine Skiing

  • Mixed Team Parallel Big: Austria

Bobsleigh

  • 4-man: Francesco Friedrich, Germany

Cross-Country Skiing

  • Women's 30km Mass Start Free: Therese Johaug, Norway

Curling

  • Women's: Great Britain

Ice Hockey

  • Men's: Finland

The full medal table can be found here.

4:17 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Norway's Therese Johaug wins third gold medal in last Winter Games

Norway's Therese Johaug wins three gold medals at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Norway's Therese Johaug wins three gold medals at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. (Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images)

Norway's Therese Johaug won her third gold medal at Beijing 2022 in the women’s 30km mass start cross-country skiing event.

The 33-year-old had already won the women's 10km classic and the women's 7.5km + 7.5km skiathlon in what is her third, and last, Winter Games.

"It’s special for me because I know that this was my last Olympics. It’s a dream that it could end like this," she said.
"I came here with no individual gold medals and today I have three. It's been an amazing Olympics for me here in China."

Jessie Diggins of the US won the silver medal, with Kerttu Niskanen of Finland claiming bronze.

Johaug's success means Norway increases its lead in the medal table with the country now boasting 16 golds and 37 in total.

Read more about why Norway has been so successful at Beijing 2022 here.

4:39 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Food poisoning no barrier to cross-country silver for Team USA's Jessie Diggins

From CNN's Jack Bantock

American cross-country skier Jessie Diggins lies on the snow after crossing the finish line of the 30-kilometer mass start event on Sunday. She won the silver, finishing behind Norway's Therese Johaug.
American cross-country skier Jessie Diggins lies on the snow after crossing the finish line of the 30-kilometer mass start event on Sunday. She won the silver, finishing behind Norway's Therese Johaug. (Aaron Favila/AP)

As if competing on an empty stomach was bad enough, Jessie Diggins faced the prospect of trekking 30km through the snow in below freezing temperatures on a recently poisoned one.

The American cross-country skier revealed that just 30 hours before the mass start event on Sunday, she had been suffering from food poisoning.

Yet Diggins powered through to win silver, becoming the first American ever to win multiple cross-country skiing medals in the same Olympics after her previous bronze in the free sprint event.

"One of the hardest things I've ever done in my whole life," said Diggins. "I felt like I was dying in the finish.

"We had so much cheering out there. When it got really hard everyone was just breathing with me."

6:24 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

German bobsled winner Francesco Friedrich says "we are extremely lucky this is our job"

German bobsledder Francesco Friedrich holds up his gold medals from the two- and four-man events on February 20.
German bobsledder Francesco Friedrich holds up his gold medals from the two- and four-man events on February 20. (Robert Michael/picture alliance/Getty Images)

Germany's Francesco Friedrich, who led his four-man bobsled team to victory on Sunday and became the first man ever to win the double-double, said he will continue to bobsleigh for as long as he can.

Friedrich's win was history making — it's the first time a driver has won the two- and four-man gold at multiple Olympics.

“We really enjoy doing what we do," he said. "We are extremely lucky that this is our job and we have such a passion for it. It’s not something that’s given to everyone in life. So every year and every competition we give it our utmost, and as long as we can do this, we will continue to do this.”

Friedrich beat the fellow German team led by Johannes Lochner, which took silver.

Lochner said they needed to be more powerful to win gold.

“By and large I’m very happy. We were too far off in the start zone, so it’s our own fault really. We made it only for the silver; for the gold we needed to be more powerful. But raking in a silver at the Olympic Games is just great, it’s awesome.”

On whether he will continue to 2026, Lochner said he'll have to see.

“Another Olympic Games, that’s not on my agenda really. I need to talk to my family at home and my parents to see where we’re going. I don’t have a plan yet," he said. “I’ll be looking at the world championships at St. Moritz, that would be a nice end to my career.”
2:38 a.m. ET, February 20, 2022

Great Britain's Eve Muirhead says it's a "dream come true" to win curling gold

Eve Muirhead guides her team during the women's curling gold medal match between Japan and Great Britain.
Eve Muirhead guides her team during the women's curling gold medal match between Japan and Great Britain. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)

Team GB's Eve Muirhead said it felt like a "dream come true" after her team won the country's first Olympic gold in women's curling since 2002.

Britain's Muirhead, Vicky Wright, Jennifer Dodds and Hailey Duff beat Japan 10-3 in the curling final, claiming their country's first gold at Beijing 2022.

"We fought very hard as a team to get it. We have come so far from the beginning of this season," said Muirhead. “Without these girls being so strong, this dream would not have come true. They helped me become a better curler, and a better person. Together we are a very, very strong unit and I think today we proved that.”

On what it means for GB, 20 years after Rhona Martin won gold at Salt Lake City, Muirhead said it "is something very, very special."

“I think Team Great Britain have been strong at the Olympic Games since Rhona won, but we just haven’t crossed the line," she said. “To have this moment now and know that I followed in Rhona’s footsteps and have this gold medal around my neck, is something very, very special."

Teammate Wright, who was working full time as a nurse during the pandemic while training for Beijing, said she was "really lucky to do both."

“To have the support of the girls at work to make everything here possible, I am really lucky. I can’t wait to show them this medal because it is just as much theirs as it is mine," she said.

 Dodds said of the gold medal match: "dreams come true."

"When you see us relaxed and having fun, that is when we play our best. I think we showed that today," she said.