Alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skating, ice hockey, luge, nordic combined, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboard and speed skating: these sports are those featured in the Olympic Winter games. This year’s Olympic Winter games are being held in Beijing, China. Though athletes are still competing, the US, Canada, Britain and Australia are partaking in a diplomatic boycott of the games. This means that government officials from these countries will not be attending the games. Typically, this attendance is something that is common, since, Victor Mather for the New York Times writes, the Olympics are some of the largest international gatherings that take place, aside from the United Nations and “major summits.”
The reasons for the diplomatic boycott are abundant. Some countries are expressing displeasure with China’s policies, some are accusing the country of “genocide and crimes against humanity” and others are leary of the mysterious disappearance scandal of tennis player, Peng Shuai.
Despite the boycotts of government officials (and the National Hockey League not deciding to send its players to the games), Beijing will host athletes from countries around the world who are coming to represent their home nations by competing in the sports they love.For team USA, there are several notable names competing in several sports. Jamie Anderson will seek a fourth overall medal in women’s snowboarding. Also in women’s snowboarding, Chloe Kim is the favorite to be the first repeat winner in the women’s halfpipe, after winning a gold medal in 2018 at the age of 17. Figure skater Nathan Chen, who has previously been successful in the World Championships, is seeking his first individual Olympic medal. Hilary Knight and the women’s ice hockey team are looking to have more success atop the Olympic podium. Knight, as a veteran, will lead an already powerful team also featuring goaltender Maddie Rooney, forward Amanda Kessel and defender Megan Bozek.
An inspiring story from up north will also emerge at the 2022 games. Canadian snowboarder, Max Parrot, will compete in this year’s events. He recently beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2019, and he believes that this difficult experience has helped him “appreciate life 100% more.” Maybe this appreciation will allow him to go for gold at the Olympics. After all, he won three X-Games gold medals the year after he defeated cancer. No matter what sports you like to watch or which athletes you are rooting for, the Winter Olympics are always a spectacle.
Sources: New York Times, Team USA Hockey, Olympics, USA Today