2022 Winter Olympics
Here's your all-inclusive guide to the Winter Olympics
One of the world’s great sports spectacles, the 2022 Winter Olympics start this week in the middle of a global pandemic in the country that is the birthplace of the Covid-9 virus. How inadvertently ironic and diabolic? Who planned this … Lex Luthor?
The Winter Games will be held in the Chinese capital of Beijing, still struggling to control the coronavirus that emerged from Wuhan only 666 miles (again how ironic?) down the road. Only “selected” Chinese will be allowed to watch the Olympics in person. The events will be closed to international visitors, including friends and family of the athletes.
The Games will be telecast on NBC (Channel 2), the USA Network and Peacock. Because Beijing is 14 hours ahead of Houston, NBC and USA will air action mostly on tape delay. When it’s day in the United States, it’s night in China. More important, when it’s prime time in China, it’s time to milk the cows in the U.S. How rude of China not to schedule Olympic events for Americans’ convenience. Peacock will stream the Games live, so there is that.
Fun fact: although China is the third-largest country in the world, slightly bigger than the U.S., it has only one time zone.
Although several events will kick off Wednesday, including hockey and curling, the official opening ceremony will take place Friday. NBC will air the opening ceremony live at 5:30 a.m. Houston time.
TV trivia: of the highest-rated sports events of all-time, only one non-NFL game cracked the Top 20. What was it? Answer at bottom.
Several Texans will be competing at the Beijing Olympics: Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc from Euless will go for the gold in pairs figure skating. Amber Glenn of Plano is an alternate on the figure skating team. Sylvia Hoffman from Arlington is on the bobsled team. I am not related to Sylvia Hoffman … unless she wins a gold medal, in which case I’ll be contacting ancestry.com looking for a distant fourth cousin, three times removed.
While athletes are not required to be vaccinated, the U.S. Olympic committee reports that all 200-plus competitors are fully vaccinated. The committee imposed a Dec. 1 deadline to be vaccinated or apply for a medical or religious exemption. All the athletes rolled up their sleeves. International athletes who elected to compete unvaccinated faced a 21-day quarantine.
The National Hockey League is not allowing its players to participate in the Olympics, in part because of the Covid risk.
Here’s one I could never figure out. Why is basketball part of the Summer Olympics and not the Winter Games? Sure the players wear short pants, but basketball is an indoor winter sport. The most popular leagues around the world, including the NBA, the Euro League and the Chinese Basketball Association, play their seasons in winter. Basketball is a summer game only in playgrounds and driveways.
Trivia answer: The 1994 Olympics ladies figure skating finals featuring Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding drew 48.5 million viewers, making it the highest-rated single night Winter Olympic event. It was the sixth-rated program in TV history at the time.
By the way, the gold medal that year was won by Oksana Baiul of Ukraine. Kerrigan finished second and Chen Lu of China took the bronze. Harding was last seen at Dick’s Sporting Goods, still looking for a pair of shoelaces.