The 2022 Winter Olympics arrive in Beijing this week! Fans around the world can tune in to the opening ceremony on Friday, February 4th. While Beijing will act as the primary location, events will also take place near the neighboring towns of Chongli and Yanqing. Here are some fun facts on all of the upcoming winter events:
- Alpine Skiing. Whereas other types of skiing involve free-heel bindings, alpine skiing uses fixed-heels. Participants are able to burn between 360 and 532 calories per hour!
- Biathlon. A combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. The rifles used by athletes must be carried during the race at all times.
- Bobsleigh. The first bobsleds were built in Switzerland by wealthy tourists out of Great Britain. Swiss entrepreneur Caspar Badrutt unknowingly helped influence the sport in a unique fashion. While challenging some folks to endure a lengthy stay at his hotel in St. Moritz, delivery sleds were modified for entertaining races down icy slopes. As more tourists wanted to join in on the fun, larger steerable sleds were developed—leading to the luge and skeleton sleds, as well as bobsleds.
- Cross-Country Skiing. Athletes rely on their own locomotion to ski across tracks rather than using lifts or other forms of assistance. Some use this sport as a means of transportation!
- Curling. The extremely heavy rocks being slid by athletes are polished granite. Before the 1950s, curling brooms were similar to those you’d clean with!
- Figure Skating. Figure Skating was the first winter sport to be included in the Olympic Games. If any object from an athlete falls on the ice during a performance, automatic deductions from the judges occur.
- Freestyle Skating. Skates used to be made out of animal bones! All blades have a “toe pick” at the tip, which grabs the ice and prepares skaters for jumps.
- Ice Hockey. Canada leads the Ice Hockey medal count at 22 total (13 gold, 6 silver, 3 bronze). The competitive team sport has been in the Olympics since 1920.
- Luge. Speeds by athletes can exceed 90 miles per hour! Scores are measured precisely to the thousandth of a second.
- Nordic Combined. A combination of cross-country skiing and ski jumping. This is the only sport in the 2022 Winter Olympics that is exclusive to men.
- Short Track Speed Skating. The rink is 200 feet long and 98 feet wide! This is normally the same size as an ice hockey rink.
- Skeleton. Athletes take a running start of about 50 meters before jumping onto their sled head first! There is no scoring system, only a finish line to cross first.
- Ski Jumping. The word “ski” comes from an Old Norse word meaning stick of wood. Jump length, aerial style, and other factors impact the final score.
- Snowboarding. USA’s Shaun White holds the most medals (18) for all snowboarding events. Canadian Ross Rebagliati was the first ever to win gold in the sport.
- Speed Skating. Speed skaters can reach speed up to 35 miles per hour. Eric Heiden won all five events for speed skating at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.
Bundle up and catch your favorite events and athletes on NBC, Peacock, or the NBC Sports App! For more information about the 2022 Winter Olympics, visit www.olympics.com/en/beijing-2022.