By Gerard Fiorenza III
The 2022 Winter Olympics at Beijing saw many records and racial barriers shattered. The United States placed fifth, being beaten out by Canada (fourth), Germany (third), Russia (second) and Norway (first). Norway came out on top for most events, obtaining 37 medals in total, and breaking the record for most gold medals at a single Olympic Winter Games (16). Upon obtaining silver in men’s hockey, Russia was able to come in second with 32 total medals. Russia is still competing under ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) as opposed to their country’s official name as their two-year ban for doping is still in effect. Other than Norway, Germany was the only other country to win double-digit gold medals (12).
Elena Meyers Taylor became the most decorated Black athlete in the history of the Winter games.
The United States won eight gold medals and broke many records along the way. In the cross-country skiing individual spring event, Jessie Diggins earned the U.S. their first ever medal, also subsequently becoming the first woman to medal in an individual cross-country event. Lindsey Jacobellis and Nick Baumgautner took home the gold in the women’s snowboard cross. Jacobellis at age 36 became the oldest American woman to win a Winter Olympics gold medal. Two-time Olympic gold medalist and alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin suffered a “Did Not Finish” after failing to ski through a gate in the first run of the slalom. Erin Jackson became the first Black woman to medal in speed skating, obtaining gold during the women’s 500m speed skating event with a time of 37.04.
The Covid-19 pandemic also found a way to interfere with the Olympic games. Decorated U.S. bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor tested positive while at the Beijing Olympics and was forced into isolation. However, she came back to win a silver medal in the women’s monobob event, earning her fifth Olympic medal and making her the most decorated African-American winter olympian.
Lindsey Jacobellis won the First Us Gold Medal at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, also becoming the oldest American woman to clinch Gold at a Winter Olympics Event.
The U.S. men’s hockey team decided to utilize NCAA players as opposed to players of the National Hockey League (who were unavailable at the time). Initially, they came off to an amazing start, being first overall (3-0-0), with a win over their rival (Canada), as well as coming out with the best goal differential (plus-11) in the tournament. However, their inexperience as college players caught up with them as they were knocked off by Slovakia, losing 3-2, and were subsequently eliminated.
Despite not coming out on top, many Olympic records were broken, and many racial and gender barriers were shattered, making our appearance in the 2022 Winter Olympics a win in itself.