A Review of the 2022 Winter Olympics

The long-awaited 2022 Winter Olympics was not what I was expecting.


Christian Lue / Unsplash

The Olympics is an event that occurs every four years where thousands of top athletes from hundreds of different countries compete for fame, and perhaps even an Olympic medal.

As snow hit the ground and athletes competed for gold for their countries, the Olympics were underway. Viewers from all over the world eagerly turned on their TVs, having waited four years since the last winter Olympic Games was held. This was the case for Allison Huang ’24, who said, “The Olympics are once every four years, so if I miss one, it feels like I’m missing out on a bunch.”

The event this year was hosted in Beijing, China, a very arid place where little snowfall is present, meaning the Olympic athletes competed on artificial snow. Controversy filled the air with athletes such as Eileen Gu, an American-born skier competing for China, as people questioned her nationality. And many across the world boycotted the event altogether due to the mistreatment of the Uyghurs by the Chinese government.

One of the Olympics’ millions of viewers was me. But, as I finished watching almost every event, I was left with a sense of frustration. There was a sense of incompleteness — it made me so confused. Was that the end? 

For instance, the iconic, ever so graceful, women’s figure skating program was, to put it simply, a mess.

The Winter Olympics were held at the Beijing National Stadium, built in 2003, for the 2008 Winter Olympics (pictured above). (Chris Linnett / Unsplash)

As usual, Russia’s impeccable performance at the women’s figure skating event earned gold. Anna Shcherbakova, age 17, executed a series of twists and turns so flawlessly that she earned a gold medal. 

But that is where the fun for Russia ended. Everyone expected Russia to sweep the podium in women’s figure skating, especially with their new face, Kamila Valieva. Valieva, to put it simply, was beyond graceful on ice. Many expected her to land her first gold medal before a drug test resurfaced, revealing that Valieva had tested positive for an illegal substance in her system. 

Not only that, but the silver medalist, Alexandra Trusova, was seen in a hysterical mess after placing second place. During her free skate, she attempted five quadruple quad jumps, something no skater has ever done in history. Yet, even after all her efforts, she only received a silver medal. After her free skate, Trusovawas said how it was not fair that she was the only one that did not receive a gold medal. After all, Valieva won one in the team event, and Shcherbakova won one in the women’s singles. She stated how she disliked the sport, and how hard she tried in order to do better than others, yet only found disappointment within herself. Despite this being such a vulnerable moment for Trusova, the cameras continued to film her at her weakest.

In the men’s figure skating event, the United State’s Nathan Chen skated flawlessly, winning gold by over twenty points. “He really managed to captivate my attention with how he spun and how grateful he was. It really made me think, ‘wow, this person is so insanely talented,’” said Rachel Li ’24.

However, the event was not without its flaws. Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, a two-time gold medalist, and co-favorite with Chen, had issues that put him out of contention from the start. During his short program, Hanyu attempted a quad Salchow, but popped, making his quad Salchow into a single Salchow. When a skater attempts a Salchow, they jump from the rear inside edge of the skate, make a turn(s) in the air, and land on the rear outside edge of the other skate. 

There was another sport I had watched, which was the women’s skiing program, which was phenomenal. Gold medalist Eileen Gu, representing China, never ceased to amaze me. She landed the Olympic’s first-ever 1620 degree turn while competing in the Olympics. We could clearly tell that Eileen was not expecting herself to land that either, as she was so surprised that she landed it. It was honestly really refreshing to see. 

The Winter Olympics this year was something that was completely different, in terms of skills, and contestants, but I still felt a sense of disappointment when I finished watching my main two sports. Hopefully, the next Winter Olympics will not chaotic as this one, but still, deliver the same awe- inspiring performances.

The Winter Olympics this year was something that was completely different, in terms of skills, and contestants, but I still felt a sense of disappointment when I finished watching my main two sports.