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Two Years Out, A Look At What’s Old, What’s New For Beijing’s Olympic Winter Games

By Todd Kortemeier | Feb. 04, 2020, 12:33 p.m. (ET)

A photo from inside the National Aquatics Center at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 on Aug. 23, 2008 in Beijing.


Few venues played host to bigger moments in Team USA history than Beijing’s National Aquatics Center, where swimmer Michael Phelps took home a record eight gold medals at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008.

But it’s sliding, not swimming, that will be happening at the venue once affectionately known as the Water Cube come 2022, when the name changes to the more apropos Ice Cube as it plays host to curling at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

Anyone who attended the Beijing Games in 2008 may have a strange sense of déjà vu walking around the grounds for the Winter Games, which kick off two years from today. Much will have changed in 14 years as Beijing becomes the first city to host both editions of the Games, but much will also remain the same. 

With two years to go, here’s a look what what’s old and what’s new in 2022.

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Five Existing Venues
The Olympic Green in Beijing’s core district was the centerpiece of the 2008 Games and will again play host to most of the venues in 2022. The Green is anchored by Beijing National Stadium, commonly known as the Bird’s Nest, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies. The aforementioned National Aquatics Center will host curling while the National Indoor Stadium will host ice hockey.

Outside of the Olympic Green, Capital Indoor Stadium will host figure skating and short track speedskating, while the Wukesong Sports Centre will be the other ice hockey venue. 

New Winter-Oriented Venues
The construction of new venues was mostly limited to ones specifically designed with winter sports in mind that didn’t exist for the 2008 Summer Games. That includes a new long track speedskating oval, a bobsled, luge and skeleton track, and a big air venue. Outside of Beijing is where most skiing events will take place, in Zhangjiakou, connected via a recently completed high-speed rail line that makes the 108-mile journey in just 47 minutes.

Also new is the Olympic Village that houses athletes, as the 2008 village became apartments shortly after the Games.

New Events
The International Olympic Committee announced seven new events for 2022, bringing the total number of events to 109. That has doubled the number of events at a Winter Games in just 20 years. Totally new for 2022 are women’s monobobsled and big air skiing (both men’s and women’s). The IOC also added new mixed-gender team events for short track speedskating, ski jumping, aerials, and snowboardcross.

Keep an eye on big air for Team USA to make an impact, as 21-year-old Alex Hall is the reigning X Games gold medalist and currently ranks second in the world cup standings.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.