Beijing Olympics: Why Mikaela Shiffrin Stumbled, and Why We All Stumble

Watching a two-time Olympian and three-time Olympic medalist skier stumble — not once, not twice, but three times — at the Beijing Olympics was both extraordinary and painfully ordinary. No matter how well we prepare ourselves, how focused we are, what mental exercises we do to get ready, the reality is: These things happen. Mikaela Shiffrin herself seemed baffled as she talked to reporters after tripping on a gate and failing to finish the women’s Alpine combined race on Thursday, her third disastrous mishap at the Games. “I didn’t feel…

Eileen Gu Takes on Slopestyle Qualifying After Snow Delay

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China’s new favorite Olympic athlete, 18-year-old freestyle skier Eileen Gu, begins a quest for what she hopes will be her second gold medal, this time in slopestyle. Gu, who grew up in California but competes for China, is a favorite in the event, where competitors ski through a mountain course of rails and obstacles before navigating a series of three big jumps. Qualifiers for the event were originally scheduled for Sunday, but high winds and rare blizzard conditions pushed them to Monday. Finals are on Tuesday. Gu already has one…

The Guardian view on Beijing’s Winter Games: a very political contest | Editorial

Sometimes it takes a single dazzling athletic feat to ignite the Olympic spirit. China’s Winter Games may yet capture the imagination of the world’s spectators. The Tokyo Olympics, though unpopular in Japan due to fears of Covid’s spread, provided welcome diversion for many. Even so, they lacked the energy of previous Games, and so far Beijing’s event is still more muted. Winter sports such as curling lack the broad appeal of sprinting or swimming. China’s commitment to a zero-Covid strategy has kept its citizens well away from the Games, and…

Protesting Winter Olympics athletes ‘face punishment’, suggests Beijing official

Any athlete behaviour that is against the Olympic spirit or Chinese rules or laws will be subject to “certain punishment”, a Beijing 2022 official has said in response to a question about the possibility of athlete protests at next month’s Winter Games. Sign up to our Winter Olympics daily briefing, starting in February. It comes shortly after human rights advocates told athletes they were better off staying silent for the duration of the Games and amid concerns over the online security of attendees’ data contained in a mandatory phone app.…

China Won’t Sell Olympics Tickets to Chinese Public

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China had already barred foreign spectators from attending the Winter Games that begin in Beijing in less than a month. On Monday, it announced that most Chinese people won’t be able to attend either. Citing the evolving threat from the coronavirus pandemic, the Beijing 2022 organizing committee announced that it was ending ticket sales to the events “to ensure the safety of all participants and spectators.” The decision came less than two days after health authorities reported Beijing’s first case of the Omicron variant and ordered an immediate lockdown and…

China’s Covid Outbreak Complicates Safety Plan for Beijing Olympics

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When China’s leader Xi Jinping inspected the Beijing Winter Olympics venues last week, he laid out his vision for a “green, safe and simple” event. But diplomatic boycotts and, increasingly, the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus may make safety and simplicity near impossible to achieve, at least by Beijing’s stringent “zero Covid” standards. With less than a month to go until the opening of the Winter Games, Chinese officials are racing to extinguish a spate of coronavirus infections around the country, including several locally transmitted cases of the Omicron…

As U.S. Figure Skaters Test Positive, New Worries for Winter Olympics

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U.S. Figure Skating on Saturday announced the women’s team heading to Beijing for the Winter Olympics next month. It will include a top-ranked competitor who withdrew from the national championships this week in Nashville after a positive coronavirus test, a stark reminder of a resurgent pandemic still capable of disrupting sports events and lifelong dreams. “Things happen unfortunately, but it is what it is,” Alysa Liu wrote on social media after her withdrawal on Friday. A strong showing this past season on the international circuit, in spite of having to…

Mind Games: how China’s confidence soared between two Olympics

Spectacular fireworks lit up the summer sky and the air filled with the smell of sulphur as trails of smoke descended on the crowds in Tiananmen Square. The throng cheered enthusiastically. “Go Beijing, go China, go Olympics,” they chanted. The collective pride was palpable. It was shortly after the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympics, which began at 8.08pm local time on 8 August 2008; the Chinese believe eight is an auspicious number. That evening, Chinese-American Kaiser Kuo was watching from the balcony of his apartment in eastern Beijing.…

‘The world must boycott’: Australian Uyghur calls for more pressure on Beijing Games

What Almas Nizamidin knows of his wife’s arrest and disappearance is second-hand: the harried reports relayed by his relatives as it rapidly unfolded. The police came for Buzainafu Abudourexiti at her home in Ürümqi as she was travelling to a doctor’s appointment on 29 March 2017. Her family called, she cancelled her appointment and hurried home. There, the police shoved a bag over her head, forced her into a car and drove her away. Her husband, her family, and her friends have not seen her since. She remains incarcerated in…

Japan PM will not attend Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony

Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has said he will not attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, but it is not clear if the country will join a US-led diplomatic boycott of the Games over human rights abuses. Speaking in parliament on Thursday, Kishida said: “I have no plans at this point to attend” and did not clarify if Japan would send any officials to the event, amid reports that it was unlikely to snub the hosts altogether. Kishida has said only that he will make a…

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