The 2022 Winter Olympics


Eileen Gu, a young olympic athlete who grew up in California but chose to compete for China in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games

Gia Patel, General

The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing officially began on February 4th. Every four years, the games are monumental in the world of athletics, and currently, they become even more groundbreaking with the presence of the pandemic. The spread of Covid-19 has affected various games, traditions, and social gatherings around the world, and the Olympics are no exception to the restrictions that the virus brings. Athletes have been enduring gruesome conditions, and several have been faced with the possibility of missing competition due to required quarantine. The Olympics handbook includes an extensive list of vaccination and PCR test requirements in order to prohibit the spread of the virus during the games. Although precautions have been taken, many athletes have found themselves quarantined in Beijing. Russian biathlon competitor, Valeria Vasnetsova, exposes the injurious conditions that she is being kept in. She took to Instagram, confessing “My stomach hurts, I’m very pale and I have huge black circles around my eyes. I want all this to end. I cry every day. I’m very tired.” Athletes in similar situations as Vasnetsova have reported feeling ill, not because of their diagnosis, but due to the insufficient “tray with food including plain pasta, an orange sauce, charred meat on a bone, a few potatoes, and no greens,” as well as poor internet connection and no training equipment. The unfairness of their situation intensified once it was revealed that other athletes were able to isolate themselves within the Olympic village, and individuals such as team doctors received better meals with “fresh fruit, a salad, and prawns with broccoli.”


Beyond those who are stuck in isolation, competing athletes of all ages have been breaking boundaries. German speed skater Claudia Pechstein placed last in her race but still experienced a feeling of accomplishment. Competing in her eighth Olympics, Pechstein, almost 50, became the oldest athlete competing at the 2022 games and the second oldest Olympic speed skater of all time. On the younger side, 18-year-old skier, Eileen Gu, has won both a gold and silver medal. Since Gu grew up in California but chose to compete for China, the young athlete has gained tremendous attention not just for her talent, but also surrounding her nationality.  


As of February 15th, the United States is tied at fourth place for the number of medals won. Both Canada and the United States  have a total of 17 medals. The breakdown of US medals is 7 gold, 6 silver, and 4 bronze. As the Olympic end date of February 20th approaches, Norway maintains a steady lead with a total of 26 medals.