GB medal hopes await ahead to Winter Olympics
24th Winter Olympic Games

Beijing, Prc

: 4-twenty February

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After a troubled and controversial build-upwardly, the 2022 Winter Olympics are about to get nether way in Beijing.

Almost 3,000 athletes from 91 nations will compete to get their easily on i of 109 gilded medals on offer across 7 sports.

Although live sport started on Midweek with mixed doubles crimper, the opening anniversary takes place on Friday, marking the official start of the 24th Winter Games.

“The world is turning its eyes to Cathay and Cathay is ready. We volition practice our best to deliver to the earth a streamlined, safe and fantabulous Games,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Th.

Simply these are already controversial Olympics, with protests and diplomatic boycotts over

alleged human rights abuses,

while the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have an impact with strict control measures in place.

Here’s everything you demand to know.

The facts of Beijing

Beijing is the commencement city to host both the summer and winter Games, fourteen years later on information technology hosted the 2008 summer Olympics.

The event takes identify across three clusters. Beijing itself will host the indoor events – crimper, speed skating, figure skating and water ice hockey – as well as the big air and the opening and closing ceremonies.

Yanqing, located 75km (47 miles) out of Beijing, is the home of the sliding sports – bobsleigh, skeleton and luge – and tall skiing, while the mountains of Zhangjiakou, 180km (111 miles) away from the Chinese capital, host the freestyle skiing and snowboarding events, ski jumping, biathlon and cantankerous-country.

Many of the venues in Beijing from the 2008 Games have been repurposed, including pond’south Water Cube, which has been renovated to become the home of crimper, and the Bird’s Nest stadium, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies.

Artificial snowfall has been used beyond all venues – although there was some natural snowfall in Zhangjiakou in the week leading upwardly to the Games. It is estimated that

49m gallons


(222.8m litres) of water accept been used to produce the fake snow in Yanqing lonely.

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But that isn’t a concern for GB’due south athletes, with snowboarder Katie Ormerod telling BBC Sport: “I grew upwardly in the U.k. so it’s all bogus snow.”

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How will Team GB fare?

Fifty athletes will fly the flag for Team GB in Beijing, with iii returning medallists – Izzy Atkin (freestyle skiing), Laura Deas (skeleton) and Eve Muirhead (curling) – amid them. And the 2014 ski slopestyle silver medallist Gus Kenworthy is also competing for United kingdom of great britain and northern ireland, subsequently switching from the The states.

Muirhead, Dave Ryding (alpine skiing), Andrew Musgrave and Andrew Immature (both cross-land skiing) are ready to compete at their fourth Olympics, while 29 athletes will make their debuts.

There are three sets of siblings in the team – Izzy and Zoe Atkin, and Leonie and Makayla Gerken Schofield, will compete in freestyle skiing, while brothers Farrell and Niall Treacy race in the short track speed skating.

Snowboard cross world champion Charlotte Bankes is a favourite for golden in her event, in what will be her 3rd Games overall but first for Squad GB, having switched from France in late 2018.

  • Who are the Squad GB ones to spotter?

UK Sport believes Team GB tin win betwixt three and vii medals in Beijing, with five the team’s previous best in both 2014 and 2018.

Nielsen Gracenote predicts three volition be won, with golds for Bankes and the mixed curling duo of Bruce Mouat and Jen Dodds, while the men’s curling rink are predicted to win silverish.

“We are confident we are taking a more competitive team beyond more disciplines than ever before. That’s a great place to exist in,” chef de mission Georgina Harland told BBC Sport.

“What’s great is we are confident at that place will exist involvement across those full xvi days of competition, so something for everybody back home to become backside.”

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What about the rest of the earth?

The United states accept sent a 224-strong team to Beijing, making them the biggest squad at the Games, while 17 nations have sent just one athlete, including Republic of india and Ecuador.

Kingdom of norway, who topped the medal table iv years ago in Pyeongchang, are again expected to dominate the cross-land skiing events and volition besides hope for alpine skiing success through Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who is favourite in the super-Thou.

He is also tipped to challenge Switzerland’s Beat Feuz in the blue riband men’s downhill, while the Norwegian’s American girlfriend Mikaela Shiffrin needs one more gilt to ready a tape for the most Olympic wins by an American alpine skier. She has a good adventure every bit she is aiming to compete in all five women’s private events.

Veteran American snowboarder Shaun White is dorsum for a fifth Games, while 49-year-old German language speed skater Claudia Pechstein will exist competing at her 8th. At the opposite end of the scale, 15-yr-one-time Russian Kamila Valieva is the hot favourite for gold in the women’s figure skating.

Valieva is one of the 212 athletes competing under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee, with Russia still banned from international competition because of doping sanctions.

In effigy skating Nippon’s Hanyu Yuzuru is set to attempt to get the first person to state a quadruple axel in competition equally he seeks a 3rd men’s title in a row in what promises to be an intriguing duel with American Nathan Chen.

China will be aiming for a practiced showing at their home Games, with freestyle skier Eileen Gu leading their hopes in 3 events for a country whose best winter Olympics showing is 11 medals at Vancouver 2010.

Two countries are making their Winter Olympics debuts – Haiti and Kingdom of saudi arabia – both in alpine skiing.

  • Where might China’south medals come from?
  • Who are the global ones to watch?

Covid-19 and controversies

Beijing is enforcing enormous, strict separation bubbling to combat the take chances of Covid.

Beijing 2022 is the second Olympics to take identify during the Covid-19 pandemic, and just similar in Tokyo concluding summertime, in that location will be no paying spectators, friends or family unit present in the stands.

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All Games participants, from athletes to volunteers to the media, undergo daily PCR tests and are enclosed in a strict closed-loop organisation in which movement is limited for the entirety of the Olympics.

Face masks are mandatory at all times, except for during competition and training, and when eating and drinking, or alone in rooms.

Merely Covid isn’t the but shadow looming over these Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been heavily criticised for awarding the Olympics to China considering of the country’s alleged human being rights abuses.

Man rights groups say the Chinese government has gradually stripped away the religious and other freedoms of Uighur Muslims – a minority group which lives mostly in the Xinjiang province in north-w People’s republic of china – culminating in an oppressive system of mass surveillance, detention, indoctrination, and even forced sterilisation.

  • The Sports Desk podcast: Beijing 2022 – human rights and athlete activists

China has consistently denied allegations of human being rights abuses in Xinjiang, insisting camps were not detention camps, but “vocational educational and training centres”.

As a event, many countries, including the UK, The states and Canada, have declared a diplomatic cold-shoulder of the Games.

IOC president Thomas Bach has repeatedly dedicated the conclusion to accolade the Winter Olympics to Beijing and on Thursday said that in the ii years leading upward to the Games he had seen “the nighttime clouds of the growing politicisation of sport on the horizon”.

“We too saw that in some peoples’ minds the cold-shoulder ghosts of the past were rearing their ugly heads again,” Bach said.

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