For the second time in the 21st century, the Olympic Games were held in Beijing as the 2022 Winter Olympic Games took place in the capital of China from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20. Beijing had previously hosted the Summer Olympics back in 2008.
According to the Washington Post, nearly 2,900 athletes competed at the games this year with 224 of these athletes representing the United States of America (USA).
Team USA took home 32 total medals, which put them at number five among all countries that competed. Norway led with 37 total medals which marked the ninth time in Olympic history that Norway has led in the medal count.
Despite the many Americans who medaled, there were a few athletes who did not meet their expectations, including Mikaela Shiffrin, a world champion alpine ski racer who represented Team USA.
“The pinnacle of the last four years of work is over now and it did not really go that well for me,” Shiffrin told CNN. “However, you can fail and not be a failure.”
Shiffrin crashed in three out of the five events she competed in, including slalom, the giant slalom and the combined alpine skiing. She failed to medal in the other two as well.
Team USA’s men’s curling team also missed a trip to the podium as the defending gold medalists were defeated by Great Britain in the semifinals on Feb. 17.
“There were many surprises in this year’s Winter Olympics,” said Senior Lauren Weinstein. “I found myself cheering for the U.S. curling team and was disappointed when they left without a medal.”
John Shuster, a member of the curling squad, tried to put this year’s Beijing experience into perspective.
“I told myself before we came here, if we prepared well, played hard and played great, had great attitudes and enjoyed being here with our teammates, like, whatever happened was going to be just fine,” Shuster told Sports Illustrated.
One of the more notable success stories that came for Team USA was 22-year old figure skater Nathan Chen, who secured the first gold medal for America in figure skating in 12 years, according to CBS.
“It’s about coming in with gratitude, with respect for what you do, respect for what all the other athletes do,” Chen told CNBC. “Every single one of us deserves to win.”
Three-time American gold medalist Shaun White announced his retirement from snowboarding just days before the 2022 Winter Olympics, according to CBS.
“I just want to thank everyone for watching,” said White via Twitter. “Everyone at home, thank you. Snowboarding, thank you. It’s been the love of my life.”
There were also some local athletes participating in Beijing. Snowboarder Julia Marino, who is from Westport and went to high school in Trumbull, took home a silver medal in snowboard slopestyle. Also competing was short track skater Kristen Santos, who is from Fairfield and went to Fairfield-Warde High School. She was just two laps from finishing on the podium in the 1000m, but unfortunately lost momentum and finished in fourth. She also crashed in the semifinals of the 1500m.
Next up will be the 2026 Winter Games hosted by Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, both cities located in northern Italy. The Olympic games had last been held in Italy back in 2006, when Turin hosted the Winter Olympic Games. This will be the first time an Olympic Games has been hosted by two cities.