The 222 athletes who will represent Team USA at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 are set.
And on Feb. 4, less than six months after the Summer Games wrapped up in Tokyo, the top U.S. winter athletes will march into the iconic “Birds Nest” stadium for the 2022 Opening Ceremony.
It’s a star-studded U.S. team, highlighted by defending gold medalists such as Mikaela Shiffrin, Chloe Kim, Shaun White, and Jessie Diggins. Alongside rising stars like Nathan Chen, Erin Jackson, and Kristen Santos, they will look to improve upon Team USA’s nine gold and 23 total medals from four years ago at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
Competitions in Beijing will reuse some of the iconic venues from the 2008 Summer Games, including the Water Cube — which is now nicknamed the Ice Cube. Northwest of the capital, more competitions will be held in the mountain districts of Yanqing and Zhangjiakou. Beijing will also mark the debut of seven new events that continue toward the International Olympic Committee’s goal of gender equity at the Games.
Here’s a snapshot of what to look for when the action formally kicks off on Feb. 2.
Once again Mikaela Shiffrin leads the U.S. alpine skiing team into the Olympics. Still just 26 years old, Shiffrin already has two gold medals and a silver medal from her two previous Olympics. She’ll be favored to win more in Beijing, especially in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom. Breezy Johnson has also had success this season in the downhill. Meanwhile, guys like Bryce Bennett, Travis Ganong and Ryan Cochran-Siegle will try to get the U.S. men back on the podium after missing out in 2018.
Athlete Spotlight: Mikaela Shiffrin
Only two skiers have won more world cup races than Shiffrin, and with 73 she’s closing in on fellow American Lindsey Vonn (82) and Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark (86) for the top spot. In January, Shiffrin won her 47th slalom race, making her the winningest skier in a given race. She’s also a three-time world cup overall champ and three-time Olympic medalist.
Key Date: February 9
No skier in history has won as many slalom races as Shiffrin, and she’ll have an opportunity to win her second Olympic slalom gold medal on this day. After winning her first in 2014, Shiffrin just missed out in 2018 finishing fourth.
Biathlon, the sport combining cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, remains the lone Winter Olympic sport in which Team USA has never won a medal. The Americans have come close, including in 2018 when the men’s 4×7.5-kilometer team took sixth place. That marked the best U.S. relay finish since 1972. Among those looking to break the streak in Beijing are veterans Clare Egan and Susan Dunklee, both of whom will be retiring at the end of this season.
Athlete Spotlight: Susan Dunklee
The Vermont native has the distinction of being the only U.S. woman to have won an individual medal at the biathlon world championships. She won a silver medal in the mass start in 2017, and three years later she won another silver medal in the sprint. Now 35, Dunklee is embarking on her third and final Olympics.
Key Date: February 15
Four years after placing sixth in the men’s 4×7.5-kilometer relay, Team USA will aim for another strong finish in the event in Beijing. Among the athletes who might take part for the U.S. are Sean Doherty and Leif Nordgren, both of whom are headed to their third Olympics and were also on the 2018 squad.
Team USA heads to Beijing with two of the top pilots on the women’s side. Kaillie Humphries won two Olympic gold medals and a bronze medal while competing for Canada; since switching to Team USA in 2019 she’s added three world titles to bring her total to five. Elana Meyers Taylor, meanwhile, has won a medal in each of her three Olympics so far. Both should contend for the podium in the two-woman event in addition to the single-woman monobob event that is making its Olympic debut in Beijing.
Athlete Spotlight: Elana Meyers Taylor
Meyers Taylor made her Olympic debut in 2010 as a push athlete, winning a bronze medal in Vancouver. She’s since moved up to the pilot’s seat, where she won Olympic silver medals in 2014 and 2018. Entering her first Olympics as a mom, Meyers Taylor will be looking to add an Olympic gold medal to her two world titles.
Key Date: February 14
History will be made on Valentine’s Day when the first Olympic champion is named in women’s monobob. It could just be an American. Both Humphries and Meyers Taylor have won monobob races this season, and Humphries is the defending world champ.
Coming off the country’s first Olympic gold medal in the sport in 2018, the U.S. cross-country team should be ready to contend again in Beijing. Jessie Diggins, one half of that winning team spring in 2018, is back, along with other strong women including Rosie Brennan and Julia Kern. JC Schoonmaker leads a talented young group of men’s skiers to Beijing.
Athlete Spotlight: Jessie Diggins
Here comes Diggins again. The Minnesotan provided one of the top thrills of 2018 with her charge to victory in PyeongChang. Her team spring partner Kikkan Randall has since retired, but the 30-year-old Diggins is as strong as ever. In 2021 she became the first American to win the prestigious Tour de Ski multi-stage event, and she ended the season as the first American to claim the world cup overall title.
Key Date: February 8
The sprint events are fast and exciting, and in Beijing they might just end with Americans on the podium. Athletes are grouped into six-person heats for a series of short races — 1.2K for women, 1.4K for men. The final is an all-out charge for gold. This event, using the freestyle technique in Beijing, might be Diggins’ best bet for an individual medal.
John Shuster’s five-point takeout throw against Sweden gave U.S. curling its iconic Olympic moment. The guys went on to win the game and claim Team USA’s first gold medal in the sport. Now Shuster and Co. are back for another go of it. Competing in his fifth Olympics, Shuster, the team skip, returns with John Landsteiner and Matt Hamilton, as well as newcomer Chris Plys. Tabitha Peterson is skipping a U.S. women’s team with three returning members from 2018. Plys and Vicky Persinger will represent the U.S. in mixed doubles.
Athlete Spotlight: Tabitha Peterson
Peterson took over as skip when Nina Roth was out on maternity leave in 2019-20. The curlers kept their new positions when Roth returned, and they rolled right back to another Olympics. Becca Hamilton is also back from 2018, while Tabitha’s younger sister Tara Peterson is the newcomer. Coming off a 2021 world bronze medal, Team Peterson will look to be the first U.S. women’s team to win an Olympic medal.
Key Date: February 10
The second day of round-robin play in the men’s tournament features the anticipated rematch of the 2018 gold-medal game when Team Shuster takes on skip Niklas Edin and the Swedes.
No man has matched Nathan Chen’s resume since the 2018 Winter Games. Meanwhile, Madison Chock and Evan Bates are coming off their third U.S. title in ice dance, but Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue are right on their heels. Both teams have Olympic experience and world championships medals to their names. Mariah Bell leads a U.S. women’s team that’s chasing down the high-flying Russians. Meanwhile, Timothy LeDuc, who is coming off a U.S. pairs title with Ashley Cain-Gribble, will become the first openly nonbinary athlete to compete at the Winter Games.
Athlete Spotlight: Nathan Chen
Chen’s Olympic debut in 2018 didn’t start as planned as he finished 17th in the short program. His rousing free skate a few days later was a sign of things to come. Chen soon began a winning streak that included the 2018, 2019 and 2021 world titles. Teammate Vincent Zhou, a former world championships bronze medalist, could be a podium contender in Beijing too.
Key Date: February 12
Once known for its women’s skaters, Team USA has developed a new reputation as a top ice dance country. A U.S. team has reached the podium in the last four Olympics. Chock/Bates or Hubbell/Donohue — or maybe both — could make it five after this day’s rhythm dance.
Since joining the Olympics in 1992, freestyle skiing has grown to encompass a menagerie of competitions including aerials, moguls, halfpipe, skicross and slopestyle. So what’s one more? A big air skiing event will make its Olympic debut in Beijing. Team USA has enjoyed sporadic success in aerials and moguls, but the 2014 inclusion of halfpipe and slopestyle created a new strength for U.S. skiers. In Beijing, the slopestyle skiers will also compete in big air, a contest in which skiers go off a massive ramp to perform the biggest trick imaginable.
Athlete Spotlight: David Wise
Already the first freestyle skier to own two gold medals, the 31-year-old halfpipe skier will aim to become only the second freestyle skier to win three total medals. Whether Wise wins another gold could come down to another showdown with teammate Alex Ferreira, the 2018 silver medalist.
Key Date: February 10
Big air might be an entirely new competition, but another new freestyle skiing event also makes its Olympic debut in Beijing: mixed team aerials. Teams of three skiers — at least one man and one woman — will put their top scores together on this day in hopes of earning the event’s first Olympic medal.
The U.S. women’s team claimed its second gold medal — and first since 1998 — in a thrilling shootout victory over Canada in PyeongChang. The two rivals remain the leaders in the sport and are favorites to meet for gold again. The men’s tournament was upended when the NHL was forced to withhold its players due to pandemic disruptions to the league, but a U.S. team with 15 college players and 10 non-NHL professionals, including one returning Olympian from 2018 in Brian O’Neill, is set to contend for its first medal since winning silver in 2010.
Athlete Spotlight: Hilary Knight
A lethal scorer, Knight made her U.S. debut in 2006 and has already played in three Olympics. Still just 32, the Idaho native will nonetheless become the oldest U.S. Olympic women’s player ever. She’ll have plenty of help from three-time Olympians Kendall Coyne Schofield, Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel and Lee Stecklein.
Key Date: February 8
Of course, everyone is really waiting for the gold-medal game, but if past Olympics are any indication we might get a preview of the women’s final today when the U.S. plays Canada to conclude round-robin play. The U.S. men play Canada four days later.
Long Track Speedskating
Team USA is bringing two defending world champions to Beijing in Brittany Bowe and Joey Mantia. Meanwhile, Erin Jackson has gotten off to a blazing start in the world cup season and ranks No. 1 in the world in the 500-meter. They’ll be looking to build off the single medal Team USA won four years ago in PyeongChang. And what’s more? Bowe, Jackson and Mantia all got their start as inline skaters growing up in Ocala, Florida.
Athlete Spotlight: Erin Jackson
Jackson became the first Black woman to make the U.S. Olympic long track team in 2018, and this year she could contend for a medal. However, she almost didn’t make it to Beijing. A fluke mistake in the 500-meter race at the Olympic trials left her on the outside of the U.S. team, but longtime friend Bowe relinquished her spot in the event so Jackson could compete.
Key Date: February 17
Bowe was part of the bronze-medal effort in the women’s team pursuit in PyeongChang. She’ll be looking to win her first individual Olympic medal this day in the 1,000-meter, an event in which she’s a three-time (and defending) world champ, as well as the world-record holder.
Four years ago Chris Mazdzer charged down the icy track in PyeongChang to win a silver medal, marking the best finish ever for a U.S. singles luger. Following a spin on “Dancing With the Stars,” a wedding to his longtime girlfriend and now a baby, the 33-year-old is back for a fourth Olympics. Team USA is sending eight sliders to Beijing — three men, three women and a men’s doubles team. Mazdzer, who is still making his way back from a broken foot, joins Summer Britcher, Emily Sweeney and Tucker West as returning Olympians.
Athlete Spotlight: Summer Britcher
In 2012, Britcher and West were part of the relay team that won a gold medal at the Winter Youth Olympic Games. Now she comes into her third Olympics as Team USA’s top-ranked singles slider. All three U.S. women are ranked among the top 20, while the U.S. men are 21-22-23.
Key Date: February 10
The U.S. relay team has found the podium twice so far this world cup season, and the group will get another chance on this day. In the relay a man, woman and doubles team from each country race one after the other for a combined time.
For a brief but glorious period, the U.S. was at the top of the world in Nordic combined, with Americans winning four medals — including a gold — at the 2010 Winter Games. A new generation of athletes in this combined ski jumping/cross-country skiing sport has some fans believing another such golden era could be coming again soon. As usual, though, they’ll face plenty of competition from the sport’s traditional powers like Norway and Germany. The five-man U.S. team features four athletes 25 or younger and two first-time Olympians.
Athlete Spotlight: Taylor Fletcher
Rising stars like Ben Loomis and Jared Shumate might be the future, but don’t write off Fletcher — the 31-year-old nicknamed “Old Man” by his teammates. Fletcher reached his fourth Olympics by winning the Olympic trials in December, and he had to top finishes in the normal hill and large hill events at the last world championships.
Key Date: February 9
Fans will get a chance to see how this U.S. group stacks up against the world’s best when the Nordic combined competition starts up on this day with the normal hill/10-kilometer event. The large hill/10K event is on Feb. 15, with the team event two days after.
For years the men have been the driving force behind the U.S. short track team, with stars like Apolo Ohno racking up at least one medal in every Olympics since 2002. This time around look for the five U.S. women to take center stage, led by Kristen Santos and 2018 Olympian Maame Biney, who in PyeongChang became the first Black woman to make a U.S. speedskating team. The U.S. is bringing two men to Beijing, which isn’t enough to field a men’s relay team but will allow Team USA to compete in the newest Olympic event, the mixed relay.
Athlete Spotlight: Kristen Santos
Santos missed out on making her first Olympic team in 2018 while still recovering from a blade cut that sliced her hand and wrist. This time around she’s Team USA’s top medal hope, entering the Games ranked among the top-10 in all three individual races. She missed the podium by one spot in the 500 at last year’s world championships.
Key Date: February 7
This is the first day of individual racing, and Santos will have a chance to move onto the podium in the 500-meter event. That’s also Biney’s strongest event, while the men will race the 1,000.
It takes a special kind of athlete to willingly slide face-first down an ice-covered track, reaching speeds as fast as 80 mph. Thankfully there’s no shortage of willing participants. Since the sport returned to the Olympic program in 2002, U.S. sliders have won five medals, though none since 2014. Veteran Katie Uhlaender leads a three-person team headed to Beijing looking to end that drought. These will be Uhlaender’s fifth Olympics, while fellow Americans Kelly Curtis and Andrew Blaser are making their Olympic debuts.
Athlete Spotlight: Katie Uhlaender
Uhlaender has a world title to her name from 2012, but she’s still seeking a first Olympic medal after coming as close as sixth in 2006 and fourth in 2014. The 37-year-old, who also competed at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Weightlifting, is ranked No. 13 in the world.
Key Date: February 12
Three days of skeleton racing at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre wrap up with Curtis and Uhlaender going for gold in the women’s event. In the Olympics each slider takes four runs, two per day. The final men’s runs are Feb. 11.
The U.S. men came out strong in PyeongChang, posting their best results since 2002. Kevin Bickner, the leader of that team, is back after winning the Olympic trials on a picturesque Christmas day in Lake Placid, New York. However, reaching the podium could be an uphill battle for Team USA, which has medaled just once in Olympic ski jumping history. No U.S. women qualified for the Beijing Games, which means the U.S. won’t field a team in the new mixed team competition. The U.S. men also didn’t qualify enough skiers to field a team.
Athlete Spotlight: Kevin Bickner
Bickner finished 18th in the normal hill and 20th in the large hill events in PyeongChang. Those were the best finishes for a U.S. man since Alan Alborn was 11th in the normal hill in 2002. Bickner, who holds the U.S. distance record of 244.5 meters, is one of several top ski jumpers from the Chicago area.
Key Date: February 6
In PyeongChang Bickner posted the longest jump in the first round of the normal hill event. He’ll aim for a similar feat in the men’s normal hill final on this day.
The addition of snowboarding to the Olympic Winter Games in 1998 has proven to be a boon for Team USA. Americans have won a record 31 medals in the event, and that number is likely to rise in Beijing. Team USA brings back both defending champs in halfpipe (Chloe Kim and Shaun White) and slopestyle (Jamie Anderson and Red Gerard). The slopestyle riders will also compete in big air, while Lindsey Jacobellis, Nick Baumgartner and Co. will look to get the U.S. back on the podium in snowboardcross after missing out in 2018. Snowboarding competition also includes parallel giant slalom.
Athlete Spotlight: Jamie Anderson
One of two snowboarders to own three Olympic medals, Anderson comes into Beijing as the two-time defending slopestyle champ. The South Lake Tahoe, California, native, now 31, also claimed a silver medal in the Olympic debut of big air in 2018. She should be a contender again in both.
Key Date: February 11
Shaun White became the first snowboarder to win a third Olympic gold medal when he claimed another halfpipe title in PyeongChang. The 35-year-old White will aim to make it four in the men’s halfpipe. It comes one day after Chloe Kim goes for halfpipe title No. 2.