Winter Olympics Live: Opening Ceremony Begins, Team USA Leads in Figure Skating – NBC Chicago

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The 2022 Winter Olympics are ready to officially kick off with the Opening Ceremony now complete in Beijing.
Overnight, Team USA’s mixed doubles curling squad secured a win and the U.S. now leads in figure skating after Nathan Chen recorded his personal best, coming just just .11 from the world record.
Here are the latest updates from the Winter Games Thursday night and Friday morning.
Italy Takes Honorary Spot in Parade of Nations as Next Host of Winter Olympics
Italy took its honorary spot as the second-to-last nation to enter the Opening Ceremony, representing the next host of the Winter Olympics.
Italy entered the Bird’s Nest during the Parade of Nations just ahead of current host nation China.
Snowboarding gold medalist Michela Moioli entered as the flagbearer for Italy, while the remaining 117 athletes each wore the Italian flag.
The 2026 Winter Olympics will be held in the Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Read more here.
Tongan Olympic icon Pita Taufatofua isn’t in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics but his tradition of appearing shirtless during the opening ceremony lives on.
Nathan Crumpton, flag-bearer for American Samoa, waved his country into the Parade of Nations without a shirt Friday morning.
Crumpton, who was the closing ceremony flag bearer for American Samoa in Tokyo last summer, competes in skeleton athlete at the Winter Olympics.
Details here.
The Opening Ceremony for the 2022 Winter Olympics had one last ice-centric performance before heating things up with the lighting of the torch.
In a segment titled “The Snowflake,” hundreds of children ran across the Bird’s Nest while holding illuminated dove props. Beneath them, the LED floor lit up with snowflakes and stars under their feet with help from capture-motion technology. 
From there, the children surrounded a massive snowflake in a heart-shaped formation while singing. The larger snowflake was comprised of the placards used for each country during the Parade of Nations. Ninety-one placards combined in the middle of the calligraphic “olive branches” meant to stand for people living in peace and harmony.
Read more here.
Team USA is in the building.
The United States’ Olympic athletes have made their grand entrance into the 2022 Winter Games during the Parade of Nations at the Opening Ceremony. At the front of the line, leading the country’s 224 athletes, were flagbearers Brittany Bowe of the women’s speed skating team and John Shuster of the men’s curling team.
Read more here.
Olympic figure skating officially kicked off at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics with three events at the Capital Indoor Stadium, as Team USA came out on top overall after the men’s short program, pairs short and rhythm dance. 
Team USA got off to a hot start in the events as Nathan Chen recorded a personal best of 111.71 in the men’s short program, just .11 from the world record. The 22-year-old Chen is USA’s best chance to get on the medal podium next week in the men’s individual event.
Team USA built off Chen’s victory with another in the rhythm dance, where Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue topped the competition with a score of 85.56. The pair were almost overtaken by the ROC, but Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov fell short with a score of 85.06, placing second. 
The U.S. finally fell from first in the pairs short program as Brandon Frazier and Alexa Knierim finished third with 75.0. 
Despite the loss, Team USA leads the team event with 28 points, followed by the ROC and China with 26 and 21 respectively. 
Team USA’s mixed doubles curling squad is back in the win column.
After dropping their previous two contests, Americans Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys bounced back with a thrilling 8-7 victory in extra ends over Sweden’s Almida De Val and two-time Olympic medalist Oskar Eriksson.
Team USA secured the win in the first extra end after Sweden’s final throw from De Val failed to knock the United States’ stone out of scoring position.
Figure skating kicked off at the Capital Indoor Stadium with three team events on the night, which featured men’s short program, ice dance rhythm dance and pairs short program.
All eyes were on American Nathan Chen, who is on a redemption tour following his performance at the 2018 PyeongChang Games, and in Beijing, the 22-year-old showed why he is Team USA’s biggest chance to return to the podium in the men’s individual competition next week.
In the short program, Chen scored a personal best 111.71 to put the U.S. in the lead, which was also the highest score of the night. That is just .11 points off of Japan’s Hanyu Yuzuru’s 111.82 world record for the short program.
The United States women’s hockey team got their Olympics off to a great start when they defeated defending bronze medalist Finland, but the victory came at a price as three-time Olympian Brianna Decker suffered a leg injury in the first period.
The American squad, looking to win back-to-back gold medals for the first time in team history, will now have to move forward without the Wisconsin-native, as Decker has been ruled out for the remainder of the Olympics because of the injury.
While the loss will test the United States team’s depth, they are banking on their tightly-knit chemistry to help carry them through.
“We definitely had a little nerves in the beginning. I think it got better as the game went on,” Savannah Harmon, a Downers Grove-native, said.
Figure skating officially kicks off at the 2022 Winter Olympics Thursday evening and fans will be able to catch some of the first dazzling performances live.
Local skater Alexa Knierim, of Addison, Illinois, will be among the Team USA skaters makeing her Beijing debut.
The competition will stream live starting at 7:55 p.m. CT Thursday on PeacockNBCOlympics.com and NBC. The event starts with the men’s short program, followed by the rhythm dance at 9:35 p.m. CT and pairs short program at 11:15 p.m.
U.S. Figure Skating announced that Nathan Chen, ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and the pair of Knierim and Brandon Frazier will compete on the first of three days for the team event.
Teams are able to make two changes apiece from the short/rhythm to the free, meaning Jason Brown or Vincent Zhou could compete in the men’s free skate instead of Chen, for example; the men’s free skate for the team event falls two days before the men’s singles event begins.
Here’s how to watch it on TV.
The American mixed doubles team lost early Thursday morning to Norway, finishing their first two days at 1-2 after defeating Australia but falling to Italy. Now, they’ll face Sweden in a match that begins late Thursday evening (CT).
More on how to watch the match here.
After a short 180-day turnaround, the Olympics are back.
Beijing will be hosting its second ever Olympics and its first ever Winter Olympics. Beijing first hosted the Games in 2008 and featured one of the most awe-inspiring Opening Ceremonies in Olympic history. How will the city follow it up on Feb. 4?
One of the main traditions at the Opening Ceremony is the Parade of Nations.
Here’s a look at what to expect when athletes march into National Stadium in Beijing.
Brittany Bowe and John Shuster have been selected for one of the Olympics’ greatest honors.
Bowe, a member of the women’s speed skating team, and Shuster, captain of the men’s curling team, will serve as flagbearers for the United States during the Opening Ceremony at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Bowe will walk in place of Elana Meyers Taylor, a three-time bobsled medalist who tested positive for COVID-19.
Shuster, who is from Wisconsin, is a five-time Olympian who helped lead the men’s curling team to its first gold medal during the 2018 Winter Games.
Read more here.
After a mesmerizing display in 2008, what will Beijing have in store for the 2022 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony?
The Games are back at the Beijing National Stadium 14 years after the unforgettable Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Now, athletes from 91 countries are heading to the Winter Olympics, beginning with the Opening Ceremony at the Bird’s Nest.
Coverage of the 2022 Olympics Opening Ceremony will begin at 5:30 a.m. CT on Friday, Feb. 4, on NBC and Peacock.
More details on how and when you can watch it here.

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