Closing of the 2022 Beijing Olympics


Photo By Jeinily Bencon

Sophia Lopez, Staff Writer

   The early weeks of February brought rare chilly weather to South Florida. On the other side of the world, in the bitterly cold Beijing, 91 countries brought out their best athletes to compete in the Winter Olympics.  

   The 2022 Winter Olympics began on Friday, February 4 and ran through Sunday, February 20, six months after the 2020 Tokyo Games were broadcasted live on NBC.    

   Despite having to juggle school, responsibilities, and the 13 hour time difference from Beijing,  sophomore Jessica Lipman followed the figure skating sport intensely: “As a dancer, I enjoy seeing how their choreography on ice is composed of both fluid movements and complex tricks that determine their end score.” 

   In some ways, Lipman suggested, ice skating is much more difficult. “A dancer spot focuses when doing pirouettes in order to stay in control and prevent dizziness.”

   As she took off her shoes and demonstrated, she said “It’s admirable for tricks like an axel, how skaters have to propel themselves so rapidly in midair, they don’t even have time to spot. Most of them undergo intense training to effortlessly continue their routine even after being disorient-prone.” 

   This program has been legendary for skater Nathan Chen, on the rise with his effortless technique involving complex choreography that granted him a Gold-medal for the US Team, while shocking his audience with a backflip during his Figure Skating Gala performance.  

   Meanwhile in the women’s halfpipe category, US snowboarder Chloe Kim was applauded for yet another phenomenal execution in her first round; and advanced as a now two-time Olympic gold medalist. 

   US snowboarder Shaun White of the men’s halfpipe category formally announced his retirement after participating in 5 Olympics and winning his third gold medal. 

   Lipman’s friend, sophomore Karla Saintilus, loves to watch the Men’s Freestyle Skiing where they slide down a steep slope and perform tricks midair: “I think the US skier Colby Stevenson has a really inspirational story. He returned this year after a severe skull injury from an accident in 2016 and still ranked Silver.” 

   Although many countries rejoiced in their athlete’s accomplishments, major political movements were circulating during this event. 

   The figure skating program might seem pure grace, but had plenty of ominous undercurrents that quickly resurfaced. “Although I was rooting for many of the skaters,” Lipman says, “the issue with the Russian prodigy really caught my attention.” 

   She was referring to Kamila Valieva, a 15 year old skater who tested positive for a performance enhancer that reduced chest pain and risk of exhaustion on the ice. All the backlash definitely got to her, especially after still being granted permission to compete– the turmoil resulted in her not even placing in the top three. Ice skaters were denied medals and a ceremony, which caused yet another layer of outrage in the media. 

   China, who was primarily content with the positive domestic feedback, also faced tension. With the ongoing persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, the International Olympic Committee issued a boycott to establish the human rights recognition needed in Beijing; none of the boycotted countries’ officials attended. The harsh COVID mandates and media manipulation during the Games hinted at China’s growing assertiveness. 

   AICE International History teacher Mrs. Rudd avidly follows the Olympic Games, and calls herself a fanatic. “Both summer and winter games I’ve always really enjoyed. However, the current political situations with China and Russia are really tense, and I feel that although clarification is vital, it definitely tarnished the image of  unbiased and fair games the viewers wanted. It dampened it for me a little.” 

   With multiple mixed feelings, victorious highs, and crushing lows, the Games finally came to a close. 

   Here are the top 5 scoring countries:

  1. Norway:  37 total (16 gold, 8 silver, 13 bronze)
  2. Germany:  27 total (12 gold, 10 silver, 5 bronze) 
  3. People’s Republic of China: 25 total (9 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze)
  4. United States:  25 total (8 gold, 10 silver, 7 bronze)
  5. Sweden: 18 total: (8 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze)

The following Summer Olympics are to be hosted in Paris, France in 2024.