Just six months after the flame went out in Tokyo, the Olympic Games resumed on February 4 in Beijing (80 km north of Yanqing and 160 km north of Zhangjiakou).
Here is an overview of all the sports that will be contested at the Games in China.
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11 gold medals awarded
Mikaela Shiffrin, who won a gold medal in 2014 and 2018, will go for a third, if not more. She is still at the top of her game and, in November, she tied the career record for World Cup victories in just one discipline, slalom. Petra Vlhova from Slovakia and Lara Gut-Behrami and Michelle Gisin from Switzerland will also be challengers.
In the men’s events, Alexis Pinturault of France has one silver and two bronze at the Games, but he will look to clinch gold as the defending champion in the overall World Cup standings.
The disciplines include downhill, the fastest event; super-G, with more turns added; giant slalom, even more turns; and slalom, the slowest and most technical event. There is also a combined event (downhill and slalom) and a mixed team slalom event.
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11 gold medals
Take the cross-country ski endurance test and stir it up every few miles asking athletes to stop to shoot rifles at targets. Too many misfires, and skiers have to take a penalty lap. Germany, France, Sweden and Norway are expected to dominate the medals.
Joining the four, two and two women’s events is a race for one: the women’s monobob. The first world champion was crowned this year: Kaillie Humphries, two-time Olympic gold medalist for Canada now representing the United States. But Humphries still waiting for american nationality to compete in Beijing.
Humphries is also the world champion in the two-man bobsleigh, with Lolo Jones as the pusher.
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12 gold medals
Norway dominates the sport, but the United States won their first gold in 2018 when Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won the sprint relay. Diggins will return in 2022. Revered Norwegian Marit Bjorgen has retired from Olympic competition after winning eight gold medals in three Games.
For many Americans, who seem to embrace the granite boulders and the brooms of curling every four years, one of the highlights of the 2018 Games was the American men, led by John Shuster, who took home the medal. gold after a somewhat shaky start of 5-4. Swedish men and Swiss women have been the most successful since then, and Canada is still a contender.
The deep Russian team swept the top three places in the women’s competition at the last world championships, now with 17-year-old Anna Shcherbakova in the lead.
American Nathan Chen skated a terrible short program four years ago that knocked him out of action. But he won his third consecutive gold medal at the world championships this year, and a potential duel with Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion, could be a highlight of the Games.
In the pairs event, Sui Wenjing and Han Cong could bring home gold for the host nation. In ice dancing, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov from Russia are the world champions.
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13 gold medals
There are six disciplines. In the jumps and the new big air event, skiers launch off a ramp and perform flips and pirouettes. In halfpipe, they move in a U-shaped bowl, and in slopestyle, they descend a course with rails and jumps. In moguls, they ski a bumpy course and are judged on turns, jumps and speed.
The only event that is timed instead of judged is ski cross, in which skiers compete in groups of four.
Canada has won four gold medals at the last Games; no other nation had more than one. This team is led by mogul superstar Mikael Kingsbury, the reigning Olympic champion.
After being absent in 2018, the NHL players will return to the Games, securing a field full of stars. The United States (Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews), Canada (Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid) and Sweden (Nicklas Backstrom and Victor Hedman) could be the strongest teams on paper.
China will also compete in the men’s event, despite fears the team are not good enough to be competitive.
On the women’s side, Canada and the United States have won all six gold medals since the sport was added, and five of six silver medals. Finland, Russia and possibly Switzerland are likely to compete for bronze.
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4 gold medals
The Germans have won 34 of the 48 gold medals in the sport over the years, including seven of the last eight.
In case you can’t remember, tobogganing is the foot-first toboggan run; the skeleton is head first.
To win in the Nordic Combined, athletes must excel in two very different events: cross-country skiing and ski jumping. After years of Norwegian domination, Germany won all three gold medals at the last Games.
Nordic Combined is the only Olympic sport without a women’s event, but that could change in 2026.
And here is the head-first toboggan event. The United States is doing much better here, winning three of the 12 gold medals awarded so far. (The Americans have never won luge gold.) Germany, Austria and Russia are the countries to watch this year.
It’s a sport that beats the athletes, thanks to the G forces and the vibrations that shake the sledges.
The men jump in the “normal hill” and “big hill” competitions, while the female jumpers, who only joined the Games in 2018, are limited to the normal hill. A mixed team competition is also added this year.
Some have said that the top of the ski jump tower, where athletes wait before the exhilarating descent, is the quietest place in the Games.
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11 gold medals
Several events are the same as in freestyle skiing: big air, halfpipe, slopestyle and snowboard cross (rather than ski cross). There is also a one-on-one giant slalom competition.
One of the stars of the 2018 competition, US halfpipe gold medalist Chloe Kim, will return to defend her title, with an appearance on “The Masked Singer” to her name. Three-time gold medalist Shaun White also plans to return at 35.
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23 gold medals
Long track speed skating, in which athletes normally race two times at a time, is dominated by the Dutch. They won seven of 14 gold medals in 2018 and eight of 12 in 2014. The United States, behind world champions Joey Mantia and Brittany Bowe, will be chasing a first gold since 2010.
The short track, with several competing, and sometimes colliding, skaters on a tight course provided China with its only gold of the 2018 Games. South Korea will also be a major contender. Although the United States wins medals here and there, it hasn’t won gold since Apolo Ohno in 2006 and 2002.