The Beijing Winter Olympics are underway, with the opening ceremony officially kicking off the Games early Friday morning (4 a.m. PST) at Beijing’s National Stadium. The Games consist of 15 sports and will run through Feb. 20.

These Olympics, similar to the Tokyo Summer Olympics, are going to look and feel unfamiliar compared with past Olympics. With the pandemic still raging, the Games will be isolated inside a COVID-19 bubble limited to the athletes, coaches, officials and media members, totaling about 60,000 people. They’ll be tested regularly inside the bubble, and the participants will be strictly confined to the Olympic sites and housing. No international fans are allowed at the Games, but a limited number of spectators who live in China will be allowed to attend.

How can I watch?

Coverage will look different, too. NBC will carry the 2022 Games remotely, keeping most of its broadcast crew at home to call the action. Viewers will still get a heavy dose of coverage across NBC’s networks, including and its streaming platform Peacock. NBC will air 18 prime time broadcasts with highlights from each day’s competitions aired on a delay (Beijing is 16 hours ahead of Seattle). And while the network promises a Winter Olympics-record 2,800+ hours of coverage, finding live coverage of specific athletes may be tricky.

When Are the Olympics? Here Is the Schedule for Beijing.

Who are the local athletes to watch?

Washington state has just a handful of athletes competing for Team USA in Beijing. 

A pair of short-track speedskaters in Corinne Stoddard (Tacoma) and Eunice Lee (Bellevue) will continue our area’s rich tradition of speedskating success. You can catch Stoddard in the women’s 3000m relay, beginning next Wednesday. 

There’s also an ice dancer, Jean-Luc Baker from Edmonds, who was told as a child that he’d never walk and is now competing in his first Olympics. Baker and dancing partner Kaitlin Hawayek will compete for a medal on Sunday in free dance competition. 


And there’s Redmond native Katie Hensien, who will realize her childhood dream by competing on the U.S. women’s Alpine skiing team. Hensien credits her Seattle roots and growing up skiing on Crystal Mountain for helping her career take off.

Other local athletes include Novie McCabe, a cross-country skier from Winthrop; Sean Beighton, a U.S. curling coach from Edmonds; and the Kraken’s Mathew Beniers, who will compete for Team USA hockey.

Stars to watch

While the lead-up to these Olympics has felt muted, don’t let that fool you into thinking the Games lack star power. Here are a few of the biggest names to keep an eye out for in the coming weeks.

Snowboarding will be one of the main draws in Beijing, and the U.S. has a pair of defending champions competing in Shaun White, 35, and Chloe Kim, 21. White, a three-time gold medalist, is competing in his fifth and likely final Winter Games, while Kim is primed to become the next superstar in the sport after winning gold at 17 years old in 2018. Another up-and-coming snowboarding sensation is 21-year-old Red Gerard, who also took gold in 2018.

Aside from the halfpipe, you don’t want to miss 22-year-old American ice skater Nathan Chen, a three-time skating world champion who took bronze in 2018. On the women’s side, 16-year-old, two-time world champion Alysa Liu has a good chance at a medal.

American alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin will be the one to watch go for gold on the slopes. And on the ice, catch American Erin Jackson, 29, who became the first Black woman to make the U.S. Olympic long track skating team in 2018 and is a challenger to medal in the women’s 500m.