Tournament trivia: 44 facts about the Winter Olympics


Dalin Dohrn

The mascot of the 2022 Winter Olympics is an animated panda named Bing Dwen Dwen. Read about more Winter Olympics facts below.

Téa Tamburo and Peter Cox

This year’s Winter Olympic Games will be held in Beijing from Feb. 4-20. Here is a list of interesting facts about the Games and their history. 

  1. Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008 and is the first city ever to host both games.
  2. The 2022 Winter Olympics will be the first Winter Olympics held in China.
  3. This year will be the 24th Winter Olympic Games, with the games first taking place in 1924 in Chamonix, France.
  4. These Olympics will set a record with 109 events over 15 disciplines in seven sports. This is an increase of seven events since 2018.
  5. Seven new events will debut in Beijing, including women’s monobob and a freestyle skiing big jump event for both men and women.
  6. Disciplines offered will be alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, Nordic combined, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboarding and speed skating.
  7. Due to concerns about COVID-19, no foreign spectators will be allowed at the games, and tickets are not being directly sold to the Chinese public but instead distributed to specific groups.
  8. This is the third consecutive Winter Olympics to be held in East Asia.
  9. 90 out of 193 eligible countries will participate in the Games. This is because many tropical nations choose not to participate in the Winter Olympics.
  10.  The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and other countries are diplomatically boycotting the games. This means that while their athletes will compete normally no diplomats will attend. The boycott is in response to human rights abuses of the Chinese government particularly in the Xinjiang region. 
  11. A boycott, similar to the current one, was organized in 1980 for the Moscow Olympics was organized by the United States in response to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
  12. Norway has won the most Winter Olympic medals of any country with 132 gold, 125 silver and 111 bronze medals. 
  13. The United States team includes 222 athletes.
  14. China will be sending 406 athletes to the games, a massive increase from the 82 they sent to the last winter games. 
  15. The estimated budget for the 2022 Winter Olympics is $3.9 billion (China spent $43 billion on the 2008 Summer Olympics).
  16. When the Winter Olympics began, the only sports included were bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, Nordic skiing and skating.
  17. The four indoor venues originally constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics will be part of this year’s games, and the Beijing National Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies. 
  18. Central Beijing will host most of the ice events. The northern suburb of Yanqing will host bobsled, luge, skeleton, and the alpine skiing event and the city of Zhangjiakou will stage most of the snowboarding and skiing events.
  19. Nordic combined is the only Winter Olympic sport that only men compete in.
  20. The Winter Paralympics will be held March 4-13, 15 days after the Olympics conclude. 
  21. The official emblem of this year’s Olympics is “Winter Dream:” (冬梦: dōng mèng) and features the Olympic colors (except black) and the colors of the Chinese flag. 
  22. Only two people have won gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Swedish skater Gillis Grafström won golds in figure skating in the 1920 Summer Olympics and the 1924 and 1928 Winter Olympics. American athlete Eddie Eagan won a gold medal in boxing in 1920 and a gold in bobsleigh in 1932.
  23. Until 1992, the Summer Olympic Games and the Winter Olympic Games were held in the same year, and the next Winter Olympics, after 1992, was in 1994.
  24. Because the Russian government was found to have tampered with lab data that it provided to the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2019, Russia will compete under the “Russian Olympic Committee” designation, which was also used in the 2021 Summer Olympics. 
  25. In 2021, the International Olympic Committee’s executive board suspended the Olympic Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea, through the end of 2022, over refusal to send athletes to the 2020 Summer Olympics because of COVID-19-related concerns. 
  26. North Korean athletes were allowed to participate in this year’s Olympics under the Olympic flag, but the North Korean Ministry of Sports and the National Olympic Committee said in a letter that “Due to the ‘action of hostile forces’ and the COVID-19 pandemic, they will not be able to participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.”
  27. The 2026 Winter Olympics are scheduled to be in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. 
  28. China has won 12 of its 13 Winter Olympic gold medals in skating. 
  29. The mascot of the 2022 Winter Olympics is an animated panda named Bing Dwen Dwen. “Bing” means ice in Mandarin Chinese and symbolizes purity and strength. “Dwen Dwen” means robust and lively, and represents children.
  30. The mascot of the Paralympics is an anthropomorphized Chinese lantern called Shuey Rhon Rhon. 
  31. The iconic Olympic flame is brought to the country hosting the games via a relay beginning in Greece and usually going through several different countries before reaching its final destination. The tradition began at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. 
  32. This year, the Olympic torch relay began in Greece on Oct. 18, 2021, and arrived in Beijing on Oct. 20, the least number of countries the torch has traveled through in Olympic history.
  33. The Big Air stadium is the first permanent location for Big Air ski and snowboard jumps and was built on a decommissioned steel mill.
  34. Every country has at least one of the colors of the Olympic rings on its flag.
  35. The Olympic host city is chosen by the International Olympic Committee in a secret ballot from a pool of cities submitting applications.  
  36. Members of the IOC may not participate in a vote which has a city from a country of which they are a citizen. 
  37. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee has recommended that athletes use burner phones while in China due to concerns about online activity being monitored. 
  38. Countries that participated in 2018 but will not this year: Bermuda, Kenya, North Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Togo and Tonga.
  39. While the National Hockey League had originally announced it would be letting its players participate in the games due to COVID-19 concerns the League will not allow its players to go to Beijing.
  40. About 2,900 athletes will be competing in the games.
  41. All venues will be entirely powered by renewable energy as part of the Chinese government’s commitment to hosting the first carbon neutral Olympic Games.
  42. Dwayne Johnson will star in a short film intended to introduce the athletes and inspire fans prior to the start of NBC primetime coverage.
  43. The official slogan of the games is “Together for a shared future.”
  44. Due to the climate of Beijing and the surrounding area 49 million gallons of water are being used to make artificial snow, which some argue makes the games highly unsustainable.