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
26 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:00 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

Here's what it's like working inside the Olympic bubble

From CNN's Selina Wang

There are thousands of local staff and volunteers that help Olympic participants inside the "closed loop."

Most people never fully see each other's expressions, as everyone is masked. In fact, many of them are covered from head to toe in full protective gear. But many of them are eager to chat, longing for more interaction.

In each conversation, I'm struck by the personal sacrifice they've made to be a part of the event. For months, they have to live apart from their families inside the Olympic bubble. After the Games end, they're in quarantine for 21 days at a government facility to ensure no Covid-19 case slips out. 

There are two tiny glass cubicles outside of our hotel. Inside each one is a worker in a hazmat suit, mask and face shield. They administer our Covid-19 tests every day. The first cubicle scans our credentials and hands us a tube. The second cubicle takes our throat swab.

I asked the man in the first cubicle how he was doing. He's a nurse in Beijing and volunteered to work during the Games. He lives in the same hotel as we do, and can only go between the hotel and the cubicle.

During his shifts that last at least six hours, he cannot drink, eat, or use the bathroom the entire time. To prevent himself from needing to relieve himself, he doesn’t eat before his shift starts. He says it's difficult to be away from his 6-year-old son for so long, but he manages to video call him every day. Despite the grueling work, he said he's proud to be part of the Winter Olympics. 

To travel between our hotel and Olympic venues, we have dedicated drivers. One of them told me he misses his 3-year-old son, and that he's already grown tired of the food in his closed-loop hotel. 

On Lunar New Year day, I saw an Olympic worker standing at the edge of the closed-loop, waving to her two young sons behind layers of barricades and fences. Meters apart, her sons yelled to their mother that they missed her and wished they could be together for the New Year. The woman told me her family lives close to the Olympic area. In fact, she could even see her home from her hotel room in the closed-loop. She told me this was the longest that she'd ever been apart from her kids, and it made her tearful to think about how close, yet how far apart they are. 

11:00 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

US ambassador to the United Nations comments on strengthening ties between Moscow and Beijing

From CNN's Sam Fossum

Russian President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping pose for a photo during a meeting in Beijing on February 4.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping pose for a photo during a meeting in Beijing on February 4. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images)

US ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the Beijing Winter Olympics are not “business as usual” amid concerns over China's persecution and torture of the Uyghurs and other human rights issues and said that the US will standby American athletes who want to express their freedom of speech at the Olympics.

Thomas-Greenfield also told CNN that strengthening ties between Russia and China are a warning to democracies around the world.

"We've seen that partnership building up over time, and it says to all Democracies in the world that we have to redouble our efforts to protect democracies," Thomas-Greenfield said.

She added: "This meeting of President Xi and President Putin, I think, reinforced our resolve that we have to continue to fight for democratic values, whether it's here in the United Nations or in Ukraine or in other places around the world where we see such attacks happening." 

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the Beijing Olympics.

When asked whether American athletes should feel safe to exercise their freedom of speech in Beijing, Thomas-Greenfield said: "Our goal is to make sure our athletes are safe. I can reassure US athletes that the United States government will be standing with them in China, and we will be there to protect them."

Thomas-Greenfield continued her criticism of China: “This is not business as usual. We know that a genocide has been committed there. And we've been made clear that crimes against humanity are being committed in China."

9:22 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

Germany takes home the gold in men's singles luge

Johannes Ludwig of Germany won gold in men's singles luge with a time of 3:48.735, according to the Olympics official Twitter account.

Wolfgang Kindl, of Austria, took home silver and Dominik Fischnaller, of Italy, won bronze, the Olympics said on its website.

8:12 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

Ryoyu Kobayashi wins gold in men's normal hill ski jumping

By CNN's Ben Morse in London

Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's normal hill ski jumping on Sunday.
Japan's Ryoyu Kobayashi celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's normal hill ski jumping on Sunday. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Ryoyu Kobayashi won the gold medal in the men's normal hill ski jumping on Sunday.

Having put in a disappointing performance in PyeongChang in 2018 by his standards -- he finished seventh -- the 25-year-old Japanese star finished with a combined score of 275 points, five points ahead of Austria's Manuel Fettner in silver and Poland's Dawid Kubacki bronze.

He currently leads the World Cup standings and now has his first Olympic medal to his name.

Kobayashi becomes Japan's first ski jumper to win gold since Kazuyoshi Funaki, who did so on at Nagano in 1998.

8:18 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

Australia's Jakara Anthony wins gold in women's moguls, 4 years after narrowly missing out on medal

By CNN's Ben Morse in London

Australia's Jakara Anthony competes in the women's moguls final on Sunday.
Australia's Jakara Anthony competes in the women's moguls final on Sunday. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Four years after narrowly missing out on a medal in Pyeongchang, Australia's Jakara Anthony bounced back in superb fashion.

At the Winter Olympics in 2018, Anthony finished about two points away from claiming a first Olympic medal.

And in Beijing, while others struggled with the bumps and jumps, the 23-year-old from Cairns, Queensland, was excellent throughout, finishing with a score of 83.09 to win gold.

American Jaelin Kauf finished with a silver medal having been the fastest skier on the day, while Anastasiia Smirnova of the ROC claimed bronze.

7:29 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

2014 Olympic moguls champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe crashes out

By CNN's Ben Morse in London

Canada's Justine Dufour-Lapointe crashes out during the women's moguls on February 6.
Canada's Justine Dufour-Lapointe crashes out during the women's moguls on February 6. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Justine Dufour-Lapointe, the 2014 Winter Olympic champion in the women's moguls, crashed out in the finals stage on Sunday.

Dufour-Lapointe, who won gold in Sochi in 2014 as a 19-year-old and silver in 2018 in PyeongChang, completed her first jump without any issues.

But she then clipped a mogul at the wrong angle after landing, causing her to fall in the finals stage.

After regathering a lost pole, she managed to complete her run but was not scored.

Dufour-Lapointe looked emotional after finishing, and was comforted by her sister Chloe, who successfully progressed to the next stage.

7:17 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

Gold medalist Nils van der Poel feels 'empty and tired' after setting Olympic record time in victory

By CNN's Ben Morse in London

Swedish speed skater Nils van der Poel celebrates after winning the men's 5,000 meters on Sunday. (Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty Images)
Swedish speed skater Nils van der Poel celebrates after winning the men's 5,000 meters on Sunday. (Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty Images) (Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty Images)

Nils van der Poel was left feeling completely drained after winning gold in the 5000m speed skating event on Sunday after the Swede delivered a blistering performance.

Van der Poel dramatically snatched gold away from Patrick Roest with a rapid final lap.

But after standing atop the podium holding his gold medal and the Swedish flag, the 25-year-old revealed how much his performance at the National Speed Skating Oval had taken out of him.

“Right now I am quite empty and tired, I’ll try to come up with something to say," said Van der Poel. "A few seconds ago I was emotional.

“I cannot imagine performing like this in such a race. We knew nothing at the ice and Patrick (Roest) had a tough story, he had nothing to go on. I am really happy with how it turned out.”

When asked for his thoughts on the race afterwards, Van der Poel admitted he couldn't remember much about it.

“I think it will be a poor description as I don’t remember too much about it. It was a solid start, how I wanted it. I was keeping it steady and feeling confident halfway through the race.

“But then when the second 9.3 came up I thought ‘s**t I’ve got to go now.' I was launching for it and it was the Olympic race, that was all I had.”

6:48 a.m. ET, February 6, 2022

Olympic great Sven Kramer delivers frank assessment of his last 5000m performance

By CNN's Ben Morse in London

Netherlands' Sven Kramer reacts after finishing men's 5000m speed skating on February 6.
Netherlands' Sven Kramer reacts after finishing men's 5000m speed skating on February 6. (Vincent Jannink/AFP/Getty Images)

There aren't many Olympic greats quite like Sven Kramer.

The Dutch speed skater won the Olympic 5000m gold medal in 2010, 2014 and 2018, as well as other medals in the team pursuits and the 10000m.

The 35-year-old Kramer competed in the 5000m final on Sunday -- the last time he will compete in the event at a Winter Olympics.

However, the race didn't go quite to plan for the speed skater, who finished ninth as his Olympic record was broken twice in Sunday's event.

Afterwards, the Dutchman was frank in his assessment of his performance, saying he tried "everything but it wasn’t enough."

“After a 6:17.04, I would have thought I could have walked a bit faster through this all (the mixed zone), but that didn’t work out," Kramer said with a laugh.

"I think I can take that as a compliment. Not for today’s (result), but for the past 15 years. The moral of the story is just that this was my last 5000m. 

“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about that up until now. I just wanted to race a very good 5000m.

"That didn’t work out the way I wanted. I tried to go for all or nothing and I knew that I had to skate around 6:10 for a podium. I could have skated safely around 6:12, 6:13, but that won’t give you anything.

“Of course it’s s**t, I would have loved to skate around 6:10. But yeah, it just wasn’t there today."

3:26 p.m. ET, February 7, 2022

Zamboni ice resurfacing machines are performing key role at the Winter Olympics

By CNN's Ben Morse in London

A worker drives a Zamboni ice resurfacing machine at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing on January 31.
A worker drives a Zamboni ice resurfacing machine at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing on January 31. (Peter Kneffel/picture alliance/Getty Images)

The Winter Olympics see speed skaters zoom round and figure skaters perform elegant routines all on perfectly maintained ice.

That is mainly down to the fleet of Zamboni ice resurfacing machines which meticulously comb over the rinks when they're not in use.

You've likely seen them before; the squadrons of large, hulking machines moving around the ice in unison to smooth over the bumps and lumps left by competitors.

The Zamboni machines have been in use at Winter Olympics since they made made their debut at the 1960 Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California, according to the US company's website.

The company was founded in 1949 by Frank J. Zamboni in California and six ice resurfacing machines were used at the 1960 Games.

The ice resurfacing machines have been present at almost every Winter Olympics, including at Beijing 2022.

According to the Zamboni website, not only do the machines provide a smooth surface of ice, workers can maintain the surface to suit the preferences of certain sports and athletes.

"Hockey players seem to prefer 'harder; ice and figure skaters prefer their ice a bit 'softer,' so that they can use their skate blades and toe picks to their advantage," the website says.

Correction: A previous version of this post included a photo provided by Getty Images of an ice resurfacing machine not manufactured by the Zamboni Company. This post has been updated with a photo of a Zamboni manufactured machine.