Beginning with a spectacular light show that lit up the iconic Bird’s Nest in Beijing, the world is under no illusion that the 2022 Winter Olympic Games is fraught with controversy. Yet thanks to Baron Pierre de Coubertin, this pinnacle sporting competition has the ability induce hope, peace, and freedom for not only the athletes, but for the country they represent.
Directed by famed film-maker Zhang Yimou, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived to the opening ceremony to a minute-long standing ovation. To fanfare and blasts of fireworks that lit up the freezing Beijing sky, Xi Jinping declared the Games officially open. It is a truly historical Games, not least because Beijing becomes the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games, but also that the year of the Tiger coincides with the Olympics. Both the year of the Tiger and the Olympic year stand for ambition, courage and strength.
It is a Winter Olympics full of intrigue. Jamaica enter a four-man bobsleigh team for the first time in 24 years, whilst San Francisco-born freestyle skier and IMG model, who competed under the US flag before switching affiliations to China competes as the face of the Games. Norway are expected to top the medal table, whilst Team GB are expecting a return of between three and seven.
The Olympics stands for so much more than gold medals though. Firstly, its symbol, the five rings represent the five continents of the world. The Olympic motto was: Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for “faster, higher, stronger”. Coubertin said of this: “These three words represent a programme of moral beauty. The aesthetics of sport are intangible.” Added by the International Olympic Committee last year: “Together” joins the motto, which is a lovely ode to the most important thing in the Olympic Games, the participation in it. It is why unlike any other sporting event; the most extraordinary and unique stories are created from its platform.
It is also not just the Olympic torch that gives the Olympics flair, there have been countless Olympians of rakish appeal who have stamped their mark on and off the slopes.