Winter Olympics 2022: Date, UK start times, schedule, venues, new sports and Team GB hopefuls – everything… – talkSPORT

Winter Olympics 2022: Date, UK start times, schedule, venues, new sports and Team GB hopefuls – everything… – talkSPORT

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The 2022 Winter Olympic Games has sparked into life as the eyes of the sporting world focus on Beijing.
The Winter Olympics is usually held around 18 months after the summer Games but the coronavirus pandemic has meant it’s upon us already following the success of the Tokyo spectacle last year.
The Winter Olympics is just around the corner
It was another memorable event for Team GB in Japan, who finished in fourth spot in the medal table with an impressive 22 golds.
Attentions now turn to the stars of biathlon, bobsledding, curling, ice hockey, luge, skating and skiing hoping for success in China.
So, with the action now underway, here’s everything you need to know about the winter extravaganza…
The 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony took place on Friday, February 4 and now the athletes can take centre-stage.
UK fans can expect the sporting action to start in the early hours each day and continue until around lunchtime as Beijing is eight hours ahead of GMT.
The curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing and ice hockey all started before the opening ceremony to ensure the fixtures are fitted in.
There will now be just over two weeks of sporting competition before the closing ceremony on Sunday, February 20.
Much like the Summer Games – bar the latest version, of course – the snowy spectacle takes place every four years.
There will be 2,871 athletes from 91 countries participating in China and they will compete in 109 events across seven sports.
Haiti and Saudi Arabia are scheduled to make their Winter Olympic debuts while the likes of Ghana, Cyprus, Peru, Nigeria and Kyrgyzstan will have one competitor participating.
Bird's Nest, China
​​China’s capital was selected as the host city in July 2015, at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia.
Norway had been considered frontrunners with their proposal to hold the Games in Oslo – boasting more winter medals than any other nation.
But they withdrew due to insufficient funding and left only only Almaty in Kazakhstan as a potential rival to Beijing.
China ultimately prevailed in the final selection process with votes of 44 to 40 to host the country’s first ever Winter Olympics.
Beijing will also become the first city to have hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics – having hosted the 2008 Games.
It will also mark the fourth Winter Olympics in East Asia – following Sapporo 1972, Nagano 1998 and Pyeongchang 2018.
The 2026 Games will be held in the Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezz after beating a joint bid from Sweden’s Stockholm and Are.
As the first city to host both Summer and Winter editions of the Olympics, several venues from the 2008 Games will be reused in 2022.
The key arenas have been divided into three zones, the first of which – Beijing – will primarily stage the ice sports.
The 91,000-capacity National Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies but no sporting competition will take place at the venue.
Other iconic venues from the 2008 Games that will be repurposed for 2022 include the National Aquatics Centre, National Indoor Stadium, and the Wukesong Sports Centre.
The Olympic Village for the Beijing zone of the Games was completed this summer and includes 2,300 beds.
Meanwhile, the alpine skiing events, as well as the sliding events will be held in Yanqing.
And Zhangjiakou will stage the majority of the ski and snowboarding events with a intercity railway transferring guests between all three zones.
Lizzy Yarnold celebrates winning gold at the Winter Olympics
Just seven sports are represented in the Winter Olympics – 26 less than its summer sibling – but there will be a record 109 events.
The sports are split into 15 disciplines:
Katie Ormerod
The 23-year-old was heavily tipped to win medals in both slopestyle and big air in Pyeongchang. However, she suffered a devasting injury in training and was forced to withdraw. Ormerod will look for redemption in Beijing after enjoying an excellent comeback season last winter.
Gus Kenworthy
The 29-year-old won Olympic silver for Team USA in slopestyle back in 2014 but will compete for GB in February after switching allegiances. Kenworthy has already admitted next year will be his final Games and a podium could be the perfect swansong.
Charlotte Bankes
The 26-year-old will star in the exciting snowboard cross event and is perhaps Team GB’s biggest medal hope. She has previously represented France at international level but the Hemel Hempstead-native will now be eager to bring gold back to Hertfordshire having claimed glory at the World Championships last year.
At Pyeongchang 2018, a total of 307 medals were awarded including 103 golds.
Norway topped the charts having scooped 14 gold medals – the same as second placed Germany but boasted eight more podium finishes.
Team GB were represented by 58 athletes at the 2018 games and won five medals in total, ranking 19th in the overall table.
Lizzy Yarnold scooped the only gold in the Skeleton as the first British athlete to retain a Winter Olympic title but she has since retired.
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