The Beijing Winter Olympics feature 15 disciplines and 109 medal events over 20 days of competition, so there’s no shame in feeling a little overwhelmed if you’re looking to get into the Games.
In the interest of helping you figure out where to start (and finish), ABC News has compiled some of the can’t-miss events of the 24th Winter Olympics, and the names to watch when it comes to each podium.
One of the marquee events of each Winter Olympics comes on the first weekend of competition. Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde has won three downhill races on the world cup circuit this season and is looking to become the second straight Norwegian to win the downhill. Pyeongchang gold medalist Aksel Lund Svindal retired after the 2019 world championships, so Kilde will be the nation’s best hope. Beat Feuz, from Switzerland, has won the downhill world cup standings the last four seasons, though, and may be the favorite in Beijing after taking bronze in 2018.
The giant slalom will be American Mikaela Shiffrin’s first chance to win gold in Beijing — the same event where she won her only gold in Pyeongchang. Shiffrin has been positioned as the star of the Games for the U.S., a role that has been dominated in recent Olympics by Lindsey Vonn. Shiffrin (two golds and one silver) has already been more successful in her Olympic career than Vonn, and could challenge Croatian legend Janica Kostelic for the most golds by a female Alpine skier (four) or overall medals by a female Alpine skier (six — a tie between Kostelic and Sweden’s Anja Parson). Shiffrin will compete in all five Alpine events, but the giant slalom is one of her strengths. She has two wins in five world cup races this season. Her top competition, Swede Sara Hector, has three world cup giant slalom wins in six tries.
The men’s individual competition is supposed to be a coronation for American Nathan Chen. The 22-year-old, already a prodigy in 2018, struggled badly in the short program in Pyeongchang and buried himself in 17th ahead of the free skate. He led the scores on the second night, but it was only enough to put him in fifth overall. The past four years have been all about redemption. He’s won the world championship in each of the three years it’s been held since Pyeongchang and looked like a man on a mission. If Chen does shockingly struggle again, Japanese rivals Yuma Kagiyama and Yuzuru Hanyu, the two-time defending gold medalist, will be looking to capitalize.