The XXIV Olympic Winter Games officially began on February 4, 2022 with an opening ceremony at the Beijing National Stadium, aka “the bird’s nest”. extravagance– Who underline unit – was filled with spectacular shows and brilliant lights and fireworks.
However, the evening highlight was the march of the parade of nations, with 2,871 athletes from 91 countries. Although they are all champions in their own right, here are some youngsters who should leave their mark at the Beijing Games.
Francesco Friedrich (Germany — Bobsleigh)
Francesco Friedrich (Franz), who will lead the German bobsleigh team, is considered one of the greatest bobsleigh athletes in history. Since 2015, Franz has participated in two Olympic Games and 11 World Championships and amassed 11 gold medals and one silver. In 2021, Franz won his seventh consecutive world title in two-man.
Franz’s achievements are even more remarkable given his dismal Olympic start at the 2014 Sochi Games in Japan, when the German bobsleigh team did not win a medal for the first time in 50 years. He made up for it at the Pyeongchang Games in South Korea in 2018 with a gold medal in the four- and two-man events. If Franz repeats the feat in Beijing, he will become the first male bobsledder to win both titles at consecutive Olympic Games.
Yuzuru Hanya (Japan — Figure Skating)
Yuzuru Hanyu was just 19 when he won his first gold medal in the men’s Olympic figure skating competition in 2014. As well as repeating the feat at the 2018 Games, the five-time national champion and three-time world champion broke nineteen records and is the first figure skater to land a quadruple toe loop in competition.
the incredible athlete has big plans for the Beijing Games. He wants to be the first person in the world to win the quadruple Axel. The difficult skill – which implied four and a half rotations in the air – has never been completed in a competition. Hanyu too aspire to be only the second male figure skater – after Sweden’s Gillis Grafstorm, who did it in 1932 – to win three consecutive Olympic gold medals in sport.
Erin Jackson (USA — Speed Skating)
Born in Florida, Erin Jackson competitive sports career began with inline skating and roller derby. In 2017, the talented The athlete switched to speed skating, and within five months became the first black woman to qualify for a US Olympic team in long track speed skating. His performance at the 2018 Games – 24th out of 31 in the 500 meters – was barely stellar, but Jackson was hooked.
In 2021, Jackson won four of the five 500-meter World Cup events she entered and set a new U.S. speed record. In November 2021, Jackson made history as the first black American woman to win a long track speed skating World Cup.
The world’s top-ranked speed skater’s dream of compete in Beijing almost ended on January 7, 2022, after a stumble led her to finish third at the qualifying event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. But on January 9, 2022, her childhood friend and teammate Brittany Bowe, who made to qualify for the 500 meter race, gave his place to Jackson. In the end, Team USA ended up securing a third-place finish, which means Bowe is back in the running!.
Mikaela Shiffrin (USA — Alpine Skiing)
Mikaela Shiffrin made history at the age of 18 when she became the youngest Olympic giant slalom champion at the Sochi 2014 Games. She increased the before at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games with a gold medal in the giant slalom and a silver in the combined slalom. The talented 26-year-old is coming off a solid season and hopes to make history at the Beijing Games!
Resources: CNN.com, Wbur.org, Today.com, Wikipedia.org. TeamUSA.org