Day 2 of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

By Rhea Mogul, Adam Renton and Ben Morse, CNN

Updated 3:26 p.m. ET, February 7, 2022
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3:49 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

Alexander Bolshunov storms to gold in men's skiathlon to claim ROC’s first gold at Beijing 2022

By CNN's Ben Morse in London

Russian athlete Alexander Bolshunov celebrates as he finishes first during the men's 15km + 15km skiathlon cross-country skiing competition on February 6.
Russian athlete Alexander Bolshunov celebrates as he finishes first during the men's 15km + 15km skiathlon cross-country skiing competition on February 6. (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Alexander Bolshunov blew away the rest of the competition to win the men's skiathlon and claim the ROC's first gold at Beijing 2022.

The 25-year-old led from the start, finishing the 30km cross-country skiing event in one hour, 16 minutes and 9.8 seconds.

With a comfortable lead heading into the final corner, Bolshunov was able to be handed a ROC flag -- white, blue and red twisting flames above the Olympic rings -- from the crowd, carrying it aloft across the line before bellowing in celebration.

The 25-year-old Russian picked up three silvers and a bronze four years ago in Pyeongchang, but now finally has his hand on an Olympic gold medal.

Bolshunov's ROC teammate Denis Spitsov finished in second position, a minute and 11 seconds behind, while Finland's Iivo Niskanen takes bronze.

2:57 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

Men's downhill skiing moved to Monday

The men's downhill skiing event has been moved to Monday after being postponed on Sunday due to high winds.

The event will now take place at noon local time and in between Monday's scheduled women's giant slalom, which will be held in two stages.

7:21 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

US-born figure skater Zhu Yi under attack after fall on Olympic debut for China

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Beijing

China's Zhu Yi falls during the women's figure skating team event on Sunday.
China's Zhu Yi falls during the women's figure skating team event on Sunday. (Ni Minzhe/ChinaSports/VCG/Getty Images)

China's California-born figure skater Zhu Yi is facing a firestorm of attack on Chinese social media after she came up short on her Olympic debut Sunday.

The hashtag “Zhu Yi has fallen” is a top trending topic on Weibo, gaining about 200 million views in just a few hours, with some users asking why an American-born skater was picked to represent China ahead of an athlete born in the country.

“This is such a disgrace,” said a comment with 11,000 “likes.”

Zhu, 19, was the first to compete on the second day of the figure skating team event, gliding into the ice rink to loud cheers from the mostly Chinese crowd at Beijing's Capital Indoor Stadium.

But she fell flat on the ice after a failed jump in the opening combination, and missed another jump later in the program, finishing with the lowest score of the event.

China consequently fell from third place to the fifth in the standings — just enough to progress to the next round of competition.

In contrast to the online vitriol, the crowd in the stadium applauded Zhu as she bowed to the stands.

Pressure to perform: Chinese athletes face huge pressure to get results at the Olympics, with medal counts long touted by the Chinese government as a sign of national strength. In the past, many have faced a backlash for poor performances.

Zhu is among at least a dozen foreign-born athletes recruited by China in recent years in an attempt to bolster its medal count at the Winter Olympics. But the attack against her also highlights the pressure these naturalized athletes face to compete under the Chinese flag. 

Born in Los Angeles in 2002, she decided to compete for China in 2018 and gave up her American citizenship. She also changed her name from Beverly Zhu to Zhu Yi.

But she has faced criticism in China for not being able to speak fluent Chinese.

“Please let her learn Chinese first, before she talks about patriotism,” a Weibo user said on Sunday.

The attack on Zhu stands in stark contrast to the huge popularity of California-born Eileen Gu, a freeskiing prodigy who is also competing for China.

The 18-year-old has charmed the Chinese public with her fluent Mandarin and familiarity with Chinese culture, having grown up spending summer holidays in Beijing. She has become China’s unofficial face of the Winter Olympics, featuring heavily in state media coverage to promote winter sports, as well as advertisements for Chinese brands.

1:38 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Pakistan's PM Imran Khan

From CNN’s Beijing bureau and Sophie Jeong

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday morning, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Khan was among a small group of international dignitaries that attended the opening ceremony of the Games, with Western governments including the United States, Britain and Australia having declared a diplomatic boycott over China's human rights record.

Pakistan's neighbor India announced a last minute diplomatic boycott of the Games on Thursday, after a Chinese commander involved in border clashes between India and China appeared as a torchbearer in the Olympic torch relay.

On Saturday, Khan attended a banquet hosted by Xi and China’s First Lady Peng Li Yuan in the honor of foreign dignitaries, according to Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office. 

1:31 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

Men's downhill skiing postponed due to high winds

Skiers leave the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Center after the men's downhill was postponed due to high winds on Sunday.
Skiers leave the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Center after the men's downhill was postponed due to high winds on Sunday. Maxim Thore/Bildbryan/Reuters

After multiple one-hour delays on Sunday, the men's downhill skiing has been postponed due to high winds.

"The men's downhill has been postponed until another day due to high winds. The new start time is unknown at the moment. Further details will be communicated as soon as they are available," Games organizers said in a statement.
12:24 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

IOC chief's plan to meet with Peng Shuai "has not changed," spokesman says

From CNN's Sophie Jeong

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai.
Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai. (Wang He/Getty Images)

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach still plans to meet Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai in Beijing during the Games, an IOC spokesman said Sunday.

“We've always said that there will be a meeting here, and that has not changed,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters at a news conference in Beijing.
“As the president very eloquently said, we would talk with her and it would be up to her to decide what and what wouldn't be said."

Peng, one of China's most recognizable athletes, accused former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into sex, according to screenshots of a since-deleted social media post dated Nov. 2.

Concern about her safety and whereabouts grew after her allegations, with the Women's Tennis Association pulling out of China.

More than a month later in December, Peng denied making the allegations in an interview with Singapore-based Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao.

"I have never spoken or written about anyone sexually assaulting me," she said, adding she has "always been free" and that she has been living at her home in Beijing. 

11:54 p.m. ET, February 5, 2022

China is celebrating its first gold of Beijing 2022

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Beijing

China's Wu Dajing celebrates after winning the short track speed skating mixed relay on Saturday.
China's Wu Dajing celebrates after winning the short track speed skating mixed relay on Saturday. (VCG/Getty Images)

Chinese social media is a sea of red on Sunday, flooded by posts celebrating China’s first gold medal at the Beijing Winter Games.

The hosts narrowly beat out second-place Italy last night to claim China’s first ever short track speed skating mixed relay gold.

On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, users erupted in joy, with a related hashtag viewed more than 500 million times.

“You can always believe in China’s short track skating team!” a comment says.

The last leg of the relay was delivered by Wu Dajing, who scored China’s only gold medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games when he also broke men’s 500 meters world record.

Fans rushed to congratulate Wu Sunday on his Weibo account, which has more than 9 million followers.

“You’re truly awesome!” a top comment says.

12:26 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

Beijing reports 10 new Olympics-related Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Wayne Chang

Beijing is taking stringent coronavirus measures at the Winter Olympics, in line with China's zero-Covid policy.
Beijing is taking stringent coronavirus measures at the Winter Olympics, in line with China's zero-Covid policy. (Annice Lyn/Getty Images)

The Beijing Olympic Committee on Sunday reported 10 new Games-related Covid-19 cases, the organizers said in a statement. 

Of the new cases, four were detected among new airport arrivals and six were found inside the “closed loop system" — a bubble cut off from the rest of the Chinese capital and its wider population.

Six of the 10 cases involve athletes or team officials, the statement said.

Beijing is taking stringent coronavirus measures at the Games, in line with China's zero-Covid policy.

Inside the bubble, anyone who tests positive is immediately removed from the Games. Those who are symptomatic are sent to a designated hospital for treatment, while asymptomatic cases are taken to an isolation facility. They aren't allowed to return to the bubble until all symptoms disappear and they test negative twice in a row.

"Smooth progress": Officials are hopeful the Games will continue to see a downward trend of new Covid-19 cases.

"With less number of arrivals, there will be less positive cases," Beijing 2022 health official Huang Chun said at a news conference Sunday, adding officials "do not see any cluster spreading."
"It has not affected the smooth progress of the competition," Huang said.

As of Sunday, a total of 814,376 Covid-19 tests have been administered inside the "closed loop" system since Jan. 23, and 12,555 people have arrived in Beijing, according to Games organizers.

10:34 p.m. ET, February 5, 2022

Zoi Sadowski-Synnott wins first ever Winter Olympics gold for New Zealand

New Zealand's Zoi Sadowski-Synnott celebrates after winning the snowboard women's slopestyle on February 6.
New Zealand's Zoi Sadowski-Synnott celebrates after winning the snowboard women's slopestyle on February 6. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

New Zealand snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott made history on Sunday by claiming the country's first ever Winter Olympics gold medal in the women's slopestyle with an impressive final run that saw her finish with 92.88 points.

"HISTORY MADE" wrote the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games Teams on Twitter. "Could not be more proud right now."

Julia Marino of the United States came second in the event, winning Team USA's first medal of Beijing 2022 with a score of 87.68. She was followed by Australia's Tess Coady, who took bronze with 84.15.

Marino and Coady embraced Synott after her landing.

Team USA's Jamie Anderson a favorite to win missed out on her third Olympic gold after she sat down on a landing and finished ninth.