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#BeijingOlympics2022 Report: The countdown is on Winter Olympics opening ceremony, with all the pageantry at the Bird’s Nest #AceNewsDesk report

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#AceSportsDesk says heres todays Winter Olympics opening ceremony live updates: Beijing 2022 set to get underway with a bang as athletes launch Games: Help keep family & friends informed by sharing this article:

Laura Peel and Brendan Kerry wear masks and hold Australian flags, while standing in front of Olympic rings.
Laura Peel and Brendan Kerry will carry the Australian flag in at the Beijing 2022 Opening Ceremony.(Supplied: AOC)

Live updates

What should we expect?

Zhang Yimou has told reporters that this opening ceremony will be simpler, with fewer performers.

That doesn’t mean it won’t feature an extraordinarily elaborate display of visual effects, from incredible light shows to good old fashioned fireworks.

The entire performance is shorter than some opening ceremonies at around 115 minutes long (under two hours).

Chinese broadcaster CCTV is currently showing the pre-show featuring children dancing both in the stadium and at various locations around China.

Expect the giant panda, Bing Dwen Dwen, the Games’ official mascot, to appear throughout and, of course, our athletes from across the globe.

What the ceremony won’t feature though is a packed house full of spectators, as COVID restrictions kick in.

No matter what we see, it’s bound to be hugely impressive.

A look inside the Bird’s Nest as the pre-show is under wayThe Bird’s Nest is lit up ahead of the start of the opening ceremony (Getty)

Who are YOU looking forward to seeing at the Beijing Winter OIympics?

So as we prepare for the official opening of the Games, who or what sport or event is on your mind and your must-see list for Beijing?

Is there one of the main Aussie hopes, or one of the international superstars – or someone completely out of left field?

Are you mad keen for the ski jumping, or the figure skating … do you watch with the halfpipe with your heart in your mouth, or does the skiing and shooting craziness of the biathlon catch your eye?

 Let us know in the comments.

Australia’s Golden History – the famous five from Bradbury to Lassila

Australia first took part in a Winter Olympics at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936.Steven Bradbury’s incredible come-from-behind victory in Salt Lake City gave Australia a first-ever Winter Olympic gold medal (Getty)

Since then Australian athletes have won 15 medals with five claiming the Olympic title.

It all started, of course, with Steven Bradbury in the 1,000m short track speed skating event at Salt Lake City in 2002. It was a victory so stunning, so unexpected, that it created a new phrase in the Australian lexicon – “doing a Bradbury”, or coming from nowhere to win.

The Australian held back in his race and benefited when all of his opponents fell over in a last corner stack, leaving him to skate to victory.

In the same games Alisa Camplin produced two triple-twisting double backflip jumps to win the women’s aerials, after teammate and favourite Jacqui Cooper injured her knee in training to rule her out of competition.

Four years later in Turin, Australia would win top spot on the podium again, this time in the men’s freestyle moguls. 21-year-old Dale Begg-Smith came into the Games as world number one, and qualified first for the final.

In the final round, Finnish moguls skier Mikko Ronkainen set the pace with a score of 26.62.

Begg Smith was last to go, and when he came across the line and looked for the board, he was rewarded with a score of 26.77 and a gold medal.

When Vancouver hosted in 2010, there were two more triumphs for Australia.

Snowboarder Torah Bright was Australia’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony, and came in to the Games as one of the leading lights in women’s halfpipe.

Bright sustained two concussions ahead of the Games after heavy landings in training. She went on to qualify first for the final, but then crashed in her first run to leave an all-or-nothing second attempt. This time she nailed her run, achieving the top score from either run to take the gold.

After a knee injury ended her hopes in Turin in 2006, Lydia Lassila (then Lydia Ierodiaconou) came back for her second Games in Vancouver in women’s aerials, hoping to match the exploits of Camplin eight years earlier.

She qualified ninth for the final, then was second after jump 1 with a score of 106.25. The leader and third place skier failed to crack 100 points in jump 2, while Lassila produced a brilliant score of 108.49 to clinch victory and Australia’s fifth-ever Winter Olympics gold.

Life inside Beijing’s Winter Olympics bubble

The Games have already well and truly kicked off, with figure skating, moguls, and other events including curling underway.

For Australian trailblazers Dean Hewitt and Tahli Gill, their start in Beijing was more dramatic than most, with Gill testing positive on arrival, forced to isolation before two negative tests allowed her to rejoin the team.

These Games are being held under one of the tightest set of COVID sporting restrictions anywhere. Inside the “bubble”, masks are mandatory inside and out, and daily PCR tests are also mandatory.

For more details, and more information about the way Beijing’s Olympic bubble is working, check out the feature by ABC’s Tracey Holmes at the Games.31m ago

Audience comment by Ladybird

Great to see you back on an Olympic blog Andrew (and Simon too of course) it seems like just yesterday we were watching the Tokyo opening ceremony! Can’t wait to hear the musical score and see the spectacle of it all, and of course the athletes, looking forward to your wonderfully descriptive commentary.

So, how cold actually is it?

Look, I know it’s the winter Olympics and I know they are meant to be cold but it has been particularly chilly in and around the mountain areas so far.

And that’s not just as someone who has arrived here from the Queensland summer time talking…

Yesterday at the moguls, where Jakara Anthony performed so brilliantly in qualifying as top dog for Sunday’s finals, even the hardiest of European journalists were stomping their feet and chattering their teeth in the mixed zone.

Without accounting for wind chill, the temperature last night was officially recorded as -18 degrees Celsius. Add the wind chill and it’s well under -20C.

I can tell you right now, that’s chilly. If you’ve not ever experienced temperatures like that, I can tell you that it was cold enough that the breath was freezing on our eyebrows and eyelashes, lending everyone a real jack-frost appearance…ABC News

It’s the sort of cold that makes your exposed skin ache and joints groan in protest at every move.

It’s even colder up here in Zhangjiakou today as a flurry of snow showers descended as I made my way up the mountain to the press centre.

However, in Beijing right now, it’s a positively balmy -1 degrees. Barely worth putting gloves on for really… 

Superstars and storylines for the Beijing Winter Olympics

Mikaela Shiffrin is no stranger to an Olympic podium, but the American Alpine skiing star is under pressure going into Beijing (Getty)

Aside from the Australian presence in Beijing, there are of course plenty of other stories and athletes to focus on for these Games.

There are a number of big names in Beijing who are aiming for history or some kind of huge result.

One of the leading names in any Olympic discussion right now is American alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who is one of the all-time greats.

The dual Olympic gold medallist is heading to her third Games, with plenty of precious metal on offer.

But in her own words, the Olympics are: “terrifying for the entire two weeks straight”.

The pressure is other as she goes for back-to-back golds in giant slalom, and up to four other events.

Another high-profile star is Chinese-American half-pipe, slopestyle and big air competitor Eileen Gu.

She was born in San Francisco, but declared for China when she was 15 on the basis of her mother’s heritage — she is now famous in the host nation and holder of a slew of very lucrative endorsements and sponsorships.

She could have up to three gold medals in her kit when the Games are finished.

To find out more about Shiffrin, Gu and the other big names in Beijing, check out this feature here.

Keep it simple

So what can we expect from this opening ceremony compared to the one 14 years ago in the same venue?

Well, Zhang Yimou told the Winter Olympian that he would not be taking elements from his previous spectacular.

“Classics cannot be duplicated,” he said.

“We know that we cannot repeat Beijing 2008, so we are striving to be different from it.”

He said that where China was then and where the country is now are completely different and the ceremony would reflect that.

“China’s status in the world, the image of the Chinese and the rise of our national status, everything is totally different now.”

One of the key differences (apart from the temperature, which is one of the reasons the duration of the ceremony has been reduced) is the sheer number of performers who are set to take part.

Some 15,000 made the 2008 ceremony so memorable. This time around, he is only using 3,000.

All the events at the Beijing Winter Olympics

As part of our coverage ahead of Beijing, Simon Smale has also put together the definitive guide to all the events on the Winter Olympics program.

Australia does not compete in all sports — there will be no Aussies in biathlon, ice hockey, speed skating or ski jumping.

For a list of all the sports, and all the Australians competing in Beijing, check out Simon’s run through the Olympic program.

Waiting for the opening ceremony to begin

The audience is already coming in to the Bird’s Nest for tonight’s opening ceremony to kick off the Beijing Games (AP)

Australia’s Winter Olympic team snapshot

In Pyeongchang four years ago, Australia sent a team of 50 competitors, down from a record team of 60 athletes in Sochi in 2014.

The 2010 Games in Vancouver were Australia’s most successful — there was a team of 40 competitors, the same numbers as four years previously in Turin.

The biggest return compared to numbers of competitors came in Salt Lake City in 2002, when Australia’s 27 athletes returned with two gold medals.

This time around in Beijing, the Australian team will have 43 competitors — 22 female, 21 male — who will compete in five sports. There will be 19 debutants for Australia at this year’s Winter Olympics.

The youngest member of the team is 16-year-old snowboard slopestyle competitor Valentino Guseli, and the oldest is 33-year-old Sami Kennedy-Sim in freestyle women’s ski cross.

Greetings from China

Nĭhǎo everybody! Simon Smale signing on from the Zhangjiakou Mountain Press Centre, about 190km north west of Beijing, where everything is kicking off very shortly.

I’ll be popping in and out the blog to help Andrew out and to add some colour from the ceremony, albeit from a distance.

In the daily Games paper, Winter Olympian, director Zhang Yimou says people watching need to expect the unexpected, including a “groundbreaking” cauldron lighting method.ABC News

He told the paper, which is put together by China Daily, that “it’s a great honour to direct the opening ceremony for the second time” and that he hopes to “create some wonderful moments that will go down in history”.

Blimey, doesn’t expect much, does he? Although with his track record from the 2008 ceremony, it’s definitely warranted.

Australia’s top medal hopes in Beijing

Jakara Anthony is in prime position to go for gold after qualifying first for the women’s moguls final (Getty)

Last time round in Pyeongchang, Australia finished with two silvers and one bronze medal.

Our correspondent on the ground in Beijing, Simon Smale, has had a look at the most likely sources of medals in Beijing for the Australian team.

In fact, the Games haven’t even started, but one of his picks, women’s moguls skier Jakara Anthony, has already stamped her form, qualifying top for Sunday’s final.

For the first time in Olympic history, this year’s Games will have the monobob (bobsleigh for just one person), and Bree Walker is a decent chance to crack a podium spot.

Others in with a shot include triple world champion in the Snowboard half-pipe, Scotty James, aerials duo Belle Brockhoff and Laura Peel, and Snowboard Slopestyle’s Tess Coady.

You can find out more about the team’s best chances in Beijing in Simon’s excellent guide here.

Australia’s flag bearers – figure skater Brendan Kerry and aerial skier Laura Peel 

When will the opening ceremony begin?

The ceremony itself will kick off at 11pm AEDT.

For those who find the Summer Olympics entree a little on the long side, take heart — tonight’s entertainment will take roughly two hours instead of the four from Tokyo last year.

In the meantime we’ll take you through some of the storylines of the GamesAustralia’s team, the big names to watch out for and anything else that takes the fancy before the countdown clock gets underway in the stadium.


Hello, good evening and welcome to ABC’s live coverage of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics. My name is Andrew McGarry, and I’m here to take you through tonight’s action from the Beijing national stadium — AKA the Bird’s Nest.

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#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Feb.05: 2022:

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