Day 5 of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

By Aditi Sangal, Helen Regan, Adam Renton, George Ramsay, Ben Church and Patrick Sung, CNN

Updated 4:17 p.m. ET, February 10, 2022
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10:16 p.m. ET, February 8, 2022

A hotel in the Beijing bubble will only serve steak well done due to Covid concerns

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Beijing

Steak or beef jerky?
Steak or beef jerky? (Nectar Gan/CNN)

Thousands of staff, volunteers, journalists and other Olympics personnel are confined to a "closed loop" system in Beijing, designed to prevent Covid-19 from spreading at the Games.

Inside the bubble, the Covid restrictions can sometimes seem a touch overzealous.

On Monday, our taxi driver prevented us from winding down the car window to take a photo while approaching the big air venue, saying we were "breaking the bubble."

And at one of the closed loop hotels, Covid restrictions have even reached diner's plates.

Anyone ordering steak for lunch after a cold day out at the snow events was told by staff the only way they can cook the meat is well done — due to Covid concerns.

It's unclear what the exact logic behind the charred beef is, but the jerky-like texture is a chewy reminder of how nearly every aspect of life within the bubble is adjusted for Covid risks — whether perceived or genuine.

3:27 a.m. ET, February 9, 2022

Mikaela Shiffrin "OK, but disappointed" after missing a gate in the slalom

Team USA's Mikaela Shiffrin skis out in the first run of the women's slalom on Wednesday.
Team USA's Mikaela Shiffrin skis out in the first run of the women's slalom on Wednesday. (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

Defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin skied out of the women's slalom course early, another shock for the American who crashed out of the giant slalom on Monday.

She was favored to win the slalom event, but instead missed a gate early in the first run and was seen sitting on the sidelines of the course with her head in her hands.

The US Ski and Snowboard team said on Twitter she, "is ok, but disappointed."

10:24 p.m. ET, February 8, 2022

Where are all the medals?

Games staff prepare to give Beijing 2022 mascots to medal winners.
Games staff prepare to give Beijing 2022 mascots to medal winners. (Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

After many of the medal events at the Beijing Winter Olympics, the top three athletes will stand on the podium and receive a miniature replica of Beijing 2022's Bing Dwen Dwen mascot.

But what about the medals?

It's been a tradition at the Winter Games to award the medals in a separate ceremony, called the victory ceremony.

The medals are then presented in these ceremonies that are held much later after the events have finished.

According to the Olympics website, this has been the case at the Winter Olympics since Nagano 1998.

In Beijing, China has built two medal plazas — one near the Bird's Nest National Stadium and one in Zhangjiakou, where many of the snow events are held.

Some events, like the bobsleigh, skeleton, luge and curling, have the medals presented at the venue.

9:43 p.m. ET, February 8, 2022

Mikaela Shiffrin crashes out for second time in Beijing

US skier Mikaela Shiffrin has had her hopes dashed again after crashing out of the highly-anticipated women’s slalom and posting a Did Not Finish.

The Olympic gold medalist and three-time overall World Cup champion was hoping to rebound from a similar upset in the giant slalom.

Shiffrin, favored to win the slalom, missed the podium in this event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games after winning gold in Sochi in 2014.

11:58 p.m. ET, February 8, 2022

Is that a nuclear plant? The story behind those towers at the Winter Olympics big air

From CNN's Lianne Kolirin, Nectar Gan and Tom Booth

Nicholas Goepper of Team USA during the men's freestyle skiing freeski big air qualification.
Nicholas Goepper of Team USA during the men's freestyle skiing freeski big air qualification.

Winter Olympians are accustomed to performing their awe-inspiring feats against the backdrop of spectacular snow-capped mountains.

But Beijing's Big Air Shougang Olympic venue is drawing attention for its much edgier, urban setting.

Behind the skiers launching themselves off the 60-meter-high (196-foot) ramp are furnaces, tall chimney stacks and cooling towers on the site of a former steel mill that for decades contributed to the Chinese capital's notoriously polluted skies.

The mill, founded in 1919, ceased operations more than 15 years ago, as part of efforts to clear the air in the capital ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

That left a large stretch of prime city center land, ripe for rehabilitation and regeneration, says engineering and design company ARUP, which transformed the site into a bustling hub for tourism and art exhibitions.

The rusty, aging remnants of the mill were never demolished — not even for the big air jump at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Instead, the old mill has been incorporated into Big Air Shougang's design. One of the cooling towers even bears the logo for the Games.

The jump has captured the attention of social media users, in part for the mountains of fake snow generated to host the event, but also intrigue of what these towers are and why they're still standing, right behind the jump.

Some Twitter users wondered if it might be a nuclear plant.

"The Big Air stadium at the Olympics seems to be right next to the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant," a user by the name of @jlove1982 wrote.
Another, @LindsayMpls, wrote: "Feels pretty dystopian to have some kind of nuclear facility as the backdrop for this Big Air skiing event."

The Shougang Big Air is the world's first permanent big air venue for long-term usage. It sits on the bank of the Qunming Lake, on the west side of the cooling towers at 88 meters (288 feet) above sea level, according to architecture firm TeamMinus, which designed the jump.

Read the full story here.

This post has been updated to reflect the events that take place in Shougang.

8:40 p.m. ET, February 8, 2022

It's 9:40 a.m. in Beijing. Here's what's coming up at the Winter Olympics on Wednesday

More athletes will be aiming for gold on Day 5 of the Beijing Winter Olympics, with medal events in women's slalom, men's freeski big air, luge, speedskating, Nordic combined and speed skating.

Here's some key moments to look out for:

  • Ski showdown: The women’s slalom features one of the most anticipated head-to-head matchups as Olympic gold medalist and three-time overall World Cup champion Mikaela Shiffrin goes up against Slovakia's Petra Vlhova. Shiffrin will hope to rebound from her setback during the giant slalom and she still has a decent chance for gold.
  • US snowboarding star seeks golden repeat: Defending Olympic women’s half-pipe champion Chloe Kim, 21, competes in the qualifying round today. One of the stars of the last Winter Olympics, Kim has been in stunning form since returning last January from a broken ankle and studying.
  • Legend bows out: Team USA's Shaun White says Beijing 2022 will be his final Games after a storied snowboarding career. It's the 35-year-old’s fourth Olympics. When White hits the halfpipe qualifiers on Wednesday in Beijing he will become the oldest male halfpipe rider from any nation in the history of the Games. He also has the chance to become the sport's oldest Olympic champion. Even if he doesn’t win gold, taking home any medal will make White the most decorated men’s snowboarder ever.
  • More fans at the Games: China will invite more spectators to attend the Games as the Covid-19 situation is under control within the "closed-loop" bubble — which separates all event personnel from the public, an official from the Beijing organizers said Tuesday. Organizers did not sell tickets to the public over concerns of the spread of the pandemic but selected spectators from targeted groups.

Podium contenders:

  • Freestyle skiing: Norway's Birk Ruud and Team USA's Alexander Hall lead after qualification going in to the finals of the men’s big air finals. 
  • Luge: Germany goes for a third straight Olympic gold in the doubles event.  
  • Nordic combined: The first medal is given in the sport of Nordic combined with the individual Gundersen normal hill/10km event.  
  • Short track speed skating: Controversy and crashes were the story in the second day of short track. It could be more of the same as the men’s 1,500m final takes center stage. China’s Ren Ziwei is two-for-two in gold medals (mixed relay, 1,000m), and ranked No. 1 in the world in the 1,500m. 
7:56 p.m. ET, February 8, 2022

Here's the medal rankings as Day 5 kicks off

As Day 5 of the Beijing Games begins, here's a look at the medal standings, according to the official tally.

  1. Sweden continues to top the medal board with four golds, one silver and one bronze.
  2. The Netherlands is second with three golds, three silvers and one bronze.
  3. Hosts China and Germany are joint third with three golds and two silvers apiece.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has the won most medals overall, with 10 in total.

And the USA ended Day 4 yet to win a gold through 31 of 109 total medal events. It has never taken this long (by events) for the US to win its first gold at a Winter Olympics.  

8:23 p.m. ET, February 8, 2022

Mikaela Shiffrin aims to bounce back from crash and make Winter Olympics history at Beijing 2022

From CNN's Matias Grez

Mikaela Shiffrin is widely considered the most dominant skier of her generation.
Mikaela Shiffrin is widely considered the most dominant skier of her generation.

Despite her crash in the giant slalom on Monday, Mikaela Shiffrin will still have her eye on a piece of American Winter Olympics history when she takes to the slopes again on Wednesday.

With the 26-year-old set to compete in all five individual skiing events, Shiffrin will be hoping to become the first US skier to win three medals at a single Games.

Though she is widely considered the most dominant skier of her generation — and will go down as one of the greatest ever when she eventually retires — even securing one medal is by no means a certainty, given the quality of her opposition.

Shiffrin will be among the gold medal contenders in the combined — an event she won silver in four years ago in Pyeongchang and also won at last year's World Championships — although Monday's DNF in the giant slalom is proof that nothing is a given in alpine skiing.

The Colorado native also created an interesting pre-Olympic wrinkle in the lead up to Beijing, beating heavy favorite Petra Vlhova in the slalom in Schladming, Austria.

It was a record-breaking 47th World Cup slalom win for Shiffrin, who became the skier with the most victories in a single World Cup discipline, breaking Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark's previous record of 46 giant slalom wins.

The win was certainly something of a shock, as Vlhova had dominated the slalom this season with five wins and two runner-up finishes.

The rescheduling of three of the five events in Pyeongchang due to high winds forced Shiffrin to pull out of super-G and downhill and the compacted schedule impacted her preparation for the slalom, leading her to fall agonizingly short of a medal in fourth place.

However, external factors permitting in Beijing, Shiffrin should have a legitimate shot at claiming a trio of medals.

Read the full story.

8:34 p.m. ET, February 8, 2022

Athletes break the internet and world records. Here's a recap of Day 4

Day 4 of the Beijing Winter Olympics upped the drama from the day before, with a freeski superstar winning gold and rivalries reigniting on the ice.

Here's a recap of the action:

  • Poster girl takes gold ... and breaks China's internet: Freeski superstar Eileen Gu, 18, nailed a 1620 in the big air competition to help secure her first Olympic gold medal. Her performance was so awe-inspiring that China's Twitter-style platform, Weibo, crashed due to a surge in users.
  • Skating record falls: Team USA figure skater Nathan Chen nailed his short program Tuesday, earning a world record score of 113.97. The mark breaks the previous record set by his rival, Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu — aka the "Ice Prince." Chen is leading all competitors ahead of Thursday's free skate, which will determine the medal winners.
  • Fierce rivalries in the rink: The US women's hockey team fell 4-2 to Canada in a hotly-contested preliminary round match in Beijing. But both teams had already secured a spot in Thursday's quarterfinals, which means if they each keep winning, they'll meet again in the finals. Between the two of them, Canada and the US have captured every gold medal in the sport.
  • Masks on: Finland's women's ice hockey team beat the Russian Olympic Committee's (ROC) team 5-0. But coronavirus fears remained in the backdrop as the Finnish team decided to play with face masks on. It came after Canada and the ROC played with masks under their helmets on Monday. The ROC women's ice hockey team was subjected to three days in quarantine early last week after several players tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Here's who else bagged gold Tuesday: Austria's Matthias Mayer won the men's super-G, France's Quentin Fillon Maillet took top spot in the men's biathlon 20 km individual event, and Italy won the curling mixed doubles — the country’s first ever curling medal at a Winter Olympics. German luger Natalie Geisenberger captured the gold and Czech Republic's Ester Ledecká won the women's parallel giant slalom. Meanwhile, Austria's Benjamin Karl won the men's parallel giant slalom and Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands defended his speed skating title in the men's 1,500m race in an Olympic record time.