Ready or not, it’s time for more Olympics.
The Winter Games are upon us, and they officially get underway Friday, Feb. 4, with the Opening Ceremony in Beijing.
If it seems like there’s been an abundance of Olympics of late, it’s because there has been.
It’s all due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics were pushed back to this past summer, and they just wrapped up in early August.
Now, six months later, the regularly-scheduled Winter Games are set to hit the ski slopes, bobsled runs and ice rinks.
The 19-day Beijing schedule features 109 medal events in 15 sports at 13 different venues. Actual competition began Wednesday with curling.
Colorado, as usual, will be well represented at the Winter Games. Going by their hometowns as recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Centennial State will be represented by 23 athletes competing in 10 different disciplines.
It all adds up to plenty of intriguing Olympic wagering opportunities via Colorado online sportsbooks.
Beijing Games marked by firsts, quirks and protocols
Beijing becomes the first city to host both the Summer (2008) and Winter Games.
And, speaking of firsts, the Beijing Games will feature seven new events:
- Women’s monobob
- Men’s big air (freestyle skiing)
- Women’s big air (freestyle skiing)
- Mixed team snowboard cross
- Mixed team aerials (freestyle skiing)
- Mixed team shot track relay (speed skating)
- Mixed team ski jumping
However, there will be a limited number of spectators watching the events live. The International Olympic Committee announced in mid-January that no fans outside of the host country of China will be permitted.
The majority of NBC’s announcers and hosts also won’t be in attendance for the second straight Games.
Due to COVID-19 concerns and China’s strict policies regarding positive virus tests, most of the NBC broadcasters will be calling the action off live feeds at the network’s sports headquarters in Stamford, Conn.
Finally, most of the snow at the Games will be artificial.
Skiing on the man-made white stuff isn’t a new Winter Olympics concept. But it’s a necessity in Beijing where there is a limited amount of annual snowfall.
Seven Coloradans to watch in Beijing
According to the USOC, Colorado’s 23-athlete roster is tied with Minnesota for the second-largest state contingent at the 2022 Winter Games. California tops the list with 29.
Following are seven Centennial State Olympians to keep an eye on over the two-plus weeks of competition.
Mariah Bell — Hailing from Monument and a 2014 graduate of Ralston Valley High School, this 25-year-old became the oldest U.S. women’s figure skating national champion in January. Now she’s eyeing a medal in her first Olympics.
Alex Ferriera — This Aspen resident came away with the halfpipe silver medal in freestyle skiing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Ferreira tuned up for the Beijing Games with a pair of World Cup podium finishes in January.
Brandon Frazier — This pairs figure skater is from Colorado Springs, and he and on-ice partner Alexa Knierim are regarded by many as the top U.S. tandem in Beijing after winning the 2021 U.S. championship. It’s been anything but a smooth route to China, though, as a positive COVID-19 test kept Frazier out of January’s U.S. championships. He then needed to successfully petition for a spot on the U.S. Olympic squad.
Red Gerard — A Ohio native-turned-Silverthorne resident, Gerard was golden in the 2018 Games, winning the snowboarding slopestyle title in his Olympic debut. The then-17-year-old also was fifth in the 2018 big air competition.
Nicole Hensley — Born in Littleton, Hensley is back in the net for her second Olympics as the goaltender for the gold medal-defending U.S. women’s hockey team. Only 27, Hensley has been playing hockey for 20 years.
Mikaela Shiffrin — One of the most decorated and recognizable U.S. Olympians, this Edwards alpine skier is racing in her third Winter Games. She has previously won two gold medals (2014 slalom and 2018 giant slalom) and one silver (2018 combined).
Katie Uhlaender — Born in Vail and now living in Breckenridge, this 37-year-old skeleton racer is back for her fifth Winter Games — a longevity record for a U.S. woman in a sliding sport. She is seeking her first Olympic medal with her highest previous finish being a fourth-place showing at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Colorado permits betting on all 15 sports
In contrast to other states and betting markets, Colorado online and retail sportsbook wagering will be permitted on all 15 Winter Olympic sports.
- Alpine skiing
- Cross-country skiing
- Figure skating
- Freestyle skiing
- Ice hockey
- Nordic combined
- Short track speed skating
- Ski jumping
- Speed skating
All sportsbooks might not post odds on each of these events. It’s just what the state of Colorado permits.
There certainly is no shortage of wagering options, however, if you shop around.
They range from which country will win the most gold medals (DraftKings Colorado Sportsbook had Norway favored at -400) to the total U.S. medal count (FanDuel Colorado Sportsbook had the over/under at 22.5) to individual event winners (DraftKings reported Wednesday that Shiffrin was the female Olympian drawing the most bets) to the leading goal scorer in men’s hockey (BetMGM Colorado Sportsbook has the Russian Olympic Committee’s Vadim Shipachyov favored at +1100 with current NHL players not competing).
Making a few wagers is the perfect way to add to your enjoyment and rooting interest in the Winter Games.