Feb 5, 2022 - Sports

Winter Olympics: What to watch, Colorado edition

Breckenridge's Katie Uhlaender will compete in her fifth Olympics in women's skeleton. Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images

The must-watch competitions at this year's Winter Olympics feature Colorado athletes.

What to watch: From alpine skiing to figure skating, the state's competitors are poised to land on the podium and once again showcase our deep Olympic history.

  • Here are seven Colorado storylines to follow.

1. The spotlight this year will shine on Mikaela Shiffrin, the 26-year-old from Edwards who is planning to compete in all five individual events in her third Olympics.

  • The Simone Biles-level pressure comes after a rough stretch that includes the death of her father in 2020 and multiple injuries. Her first race is Monday in the women's giant slalom.

2. Figure skating is the crown jewel of the Olympics, and Monument's Mariah Bell will skate as the recently crowned U.S. champion β€” the oldest in her sport in nearly a century.

  • "It means a lot, because it's something that I've been working for for a really long time ... I'm just really grateful," she said after her nationals win.
  • The skating starts with the team program this weekend and medals for the individual competition are the capstone toward the end of the Games on Feb. 17.

3. Red Gerard is looking to grind and huck his way to a repeat gold medal in snowboard slopestyle. He'll also compete in the Big Air competition.

  • The Silverthorne resident vaulted into stardom after his win at the 2018 Games at age 17, part of the Shaun White, Chloe Kim and Jamie Anderson team that makes the U.S. so dominant in the sport.
  • Qualifying rounds begin Saturday with the final this Sunday.

4. In the men's ski halfpipe competition, three of the four U.S. competitors call Colorado home.

  • Veteran gold medal winner David Wise is the team leader, but his strongest challenges may come from Aspen's Alex Ferreira, the 2018 silver medalist; three-time Olympian Aaron Blunck of Crested Butte; and Winter Park's Birk Irving.
  • The contest comes at the end of the two-week schedule with qualifying on Feb. 17 and the final runs on Feb. 19.

5. In the freeskiing slopestyle competition, Telluride's Gus Kenworthy will compete for Great Britain, his mother's native land.

  • He won silver with Team USA in the inaugural Olympic slopestyle competition in 2014, but he struggled with injuries ahead of the 2018 Games.
  • This is his final Olympics, and he'll be a sentimental favorite given his international profile.

6. The U.S. women's hockey team is looking to defend its gold medal, and the expected showdown with rival Canada is looming as a can't-miss game.

  • One of Team USA's three goalies is Nicole Hensley, a Lakewood native and Colorado high school state champion.

7. Breckenridge's Katie Uhlaender is one of four U.S. athletes competing in their fifth Olympics.

  • The daring speed demon will launch herself headfirst down the icy track as she looks for her first medal in skeleton.

Of note: Even if other Winter Olympic athletes don't call Colorado home, many of them train and compete in our state.

  • Even Shaun White β€” the most-recognized athlete at the Games β€” spent his final days before his last Olympics practicing tricks at the Woodward facility at Copper Mountain, Axios learned.

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