5 Olympic story lines to watch in Beijing

BEIJING — With the 2022 Winter Olympics upon us, athletes from all over the world have descended upon Beijing in order to represent their respective nations. As for the United States, 222 athletes will compete for the stars and stripes in a variety of sports and competitions. The following is a list of five storylines to pay attention to as the games begin on the world stage.

USA Women’s Hockey Team seeks to defend their 2018 Gold Medal

After their historic 3-2 shootout victory over the world goliath Team Canada in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, the U.S. women’s hockey team will look to defend their title in Beijing.

Several key players returning for the American squad are Hillary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield  who were pivotal in the U.S. claiming gold four years ago. Knight, who wears the alternate captain “A”, scored two goals and recorded an assist in the PyeongChang games while Schofield, who has served as team captain for several years, also tallied two goals and led the team with 21 shots.

As the team faces Finland in their first preliminary matchup on Feb. 3, they’ll most likely have to go through team Canada at some point as the two have dominated the sport in recent years.

Shaun Whites final Olympic Games

Once known as the “Flying Tomato”, 35 year-old Shaun White will likely make his fifth and final Olympic appearance in Beijing.

A three-time gold medalist, White has endured many injuries over his career and even failed to medal in Sochi in 2014. However, having bounced back in PyeongChang four years ago, White will look to go out on top as he makes his final halfpipe runs in China.

White will first compete on Feb. 10 for two qualifying runs and if he advances, on Feb. 11 for three runs in the finals.

Salt Lake City’s Nathan Chen looks to take home gold in Men’s Figure Skating

Salt Lake City local and former West High School student Nathan Chen is no stranger to winning figure skating medals. But despite winning six-straight U.S. titles and being the three-time reigning World Champion, Chen went home empty handed in the single events in PyeongChang.

So the question remains, can Chen apply his world dominance to the Olympics to redeem his 2018 performance and secure his first ever Olympic Gold? That remains to be seen, but his first opportunity to set the tone will come on Feb. 8 and again on Feb. 10.

Last Second Entry Anna Hoffmann has Olympic dreams realized

In case you missed it, last week, U.S. Ski jumper and University of Utah student Anna Hoffmann had her Olympic dreams realized as she received an email, notifying her that a spot had opened and she would in fact be headed to Beijing to represent the stars and stripes.

Despite winning the Olympic trials at Lake Placid, NY on Christmas Day, Hoffmann had not earned the necessary amount of points to qualify. However, following an opening, Hoffmann received a phone call, and after navigating through all the necessary steps and paperwork, Hoffmann has found herself in Beijing to represent the United States.

Her first chance to compete will be Feb. 5.

@hoffmann__anna Getting to tell my mom I’m going to the Olympics is probably one of the best highlights of my life @Team USA #skijumping ♬ original sound – anna

High-Flying Alex Hall looks to flip his way onto the podium

Park City resident and former University of Utah student Alex Hall will be a favorite to bring home Olympic silverware in Beijing as the highly decorated athlete is doing what nobody else has.

Recently competing in the X-Games Big Air event, Hall brought home the gold medal while becoming the first to ever perform a 2160 (six-rotations) on skis.

Hall’s first competition in the Slopestyle will be on Feb. 7 and then again on Feb. 14.


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