With a 14 hour time difference, it’s tomorrow already in Beijing, China and the areas surrounding the ancient city where the 2022 Winter Olympic Games are being held.

While the official opening ceremonies were held on February 4, some of the athletes got an early start on the competition on February 3.

When the men’s skiing competition begins on Sunday, they will do so with only a very limited amount of practice.  Training sessions have been cancelled due to high winds.  Temperatures on the slopes have been near zero Fahrenheit. 

There have already been a number of firsts for this Olympics including the presentation of the first awards with the host country earning the first gold of the games.

Participating in his fifth Olympic Games – winning gold in three of them – American snowboarder Shaun White has made it official that this will be his last trip to the Olympics.

While much is being made in the U.S. about Shaun White competing in his fifth Olympic games at age 35, Claudia Pechstein of Germany becomes the oldes athlete to compete in the 2022 Winter Games at age 49.  Pechstein is a speedskater and is competing in her eighth Winter Olympic games.  She is the first woman and just the second person to do so.

While the ban on Russia as a country being allowed to participate continues due to doping issues, there are some Russian athletes competing in the Games under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee – ROC.

In the early award presentations:

Norway took the gold medal in the mixed relay biathlon – a sport that combines skiing and shooting – with Johannes Thingnes Boe taking the gold.

In the Women’s 15k cross country skiing, Norwegian Therese Johaug won the gold.

In the men’s freestyle moguls skiing, Sweden’s Walter Wallberg earned a score of 83.23 points to take the gold and beat “Mogul King” Mikael Kingsbury and Canada’s dominance of the sport.

In the mixed team short track speedskating relay China won for the first gold medal of the 2022 Winter Olympic games.

In the Women’s Normal Hill Ski Jumping, Slovenia’s Ursa Bogataj won the gold with a jump of 100 meters.

In the Women’s 3,000 meters speedskating, Dutch skater Irene Schouten earned The Netherlands the first gold medal in a record setting pace with a time of 3:56.93 – beating a record set 20 years ago by nearly a second (3:57.70).

feature photo credit: NBC Olympics Facebook page.