How To Watch the 2022 Winter Olympics
The 2022 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIV Olympic Winter Games, is set to begin as scheduled February 4 and run through February 20 in Beijing—even as officials try navigating concerns over rising Covid-19 rates and protests over China’s human rights abuses.
Despite a hovering political albatross and some star athletes pulling out over the threat of being exposed to coronavirus, this year’s Games are still expected to be action packed and provide viewers with unprecedented coverage through TV and streaming services.
The Games will include a record 109 events over 15 different sports, including ice hockey, luge, curling, figure skating and alpine skiing. You can check here for the entire schedule.
If you’re going to be streaming the Games, make sure your internet service is fit for the job. Remember, fiber optic service—with matching uploads and downloads and capacity for the bandwidth you need—is ideal, if it’s available to you.
Where can you watch the Winter Olympics on TV?
Once again, NBCUniversal will exclusively broadcast the Winter Games, so the only way to watch on network TV for free is through your local NBC affiliate. As Beijing is 12 hours ahead of the Eastern Time (ET) zone, NBC is expected to re-broadcast many key events during primetime network TV as part of almost 200 hours of coverage.
NBC plans to air more than 2,800 hours overall. This includes broadcasting games on USA and CNBC cable networks, Peacock and its digital platforms.
For the first time ever, NBC’s paid streaming service Peacock will offer every event live. If you miss anything, you can watch full replays afterwards. Cord cutters with Amazon Fire, Roku, Apple TV and Android TV can access Peacock with their devices. Other subscription-based streaming services with NBCUniversal channels include Fubu, Hulu + Live TV and Spectrum.
Meanwhile, NBC has the rights to Super Bowl LVI on February 13. In a debatable move, NBC will air Olympic coverage after the big game ends in the coveted post–Super Bowl time slot, rather than airing a new or returning entertainment show as networks usually do.
Will there be new sports in the 2022 Winter Olympics?
Yes. This includes women’s single person bobsled, women’s big air freestyle, mixed team competitions in freestyle skiing aerials and a mixed relay in short track speed skating.
How will the pandemic affect the Olympics?
This year’s Games are the second Olympics during the ongoing pandemic, following last summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. Athletes who test positive prior to events will have to clear various health and safety measures to participate. Foreign spectators are again banned from traveling and watching events in person.
Will the NHL be sending its players?
If you’re looking to watch the National Hockey League’s best, think again. The NHL opted not to send players because of rising Covid-19 cases, so American players on the Olympic roster will be pros from other hockey leagues as well as amateurs.
Instead, on February 5, the NHL will host its annual All-Star Game, which will be broadcast on ABC and simulcast on ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET. The All-Star Skills will take place February 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Who are some of the best United States competitors to watch?
In figure skating, Nathan Chen, 22, who won a bronze medal at the 2018 Olympics, remains Team USA’s top chance to score a medal in the men’s competition.
On the women’s side, watch out for two-time national champion Alysia Liu. The 16-year-old, who won her first U.S. title when she was just 13, could be the country’s best shot at winning a medal in women’s figure skating for the first time since 2006.
In skiing, there will be plenty of attention on Mikaela Shiffrin. The 26-year-old is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the most decorated alpine skier in U.S. history.
Jessie Diggins, 30, is also returning after helping the U.S. win its first medal in cross-country skiing in 2018. Last year, she became the first American woman to win the overall Cross-Country World Cup.
Who is boycotting the Olympics, and what does it mean?
On December 6, the U.S. was the first country to declare a diplomatic boycott of this year’s games. The diplomatic boycott means U.S. government officials won’t be attending the games, but U.S. athletes will still be allowed to compete. Australia, Great Britain and Canada are taking similar measures.
This is different from harsher boycotts in the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Games during the Cold War. The U.S. and dozens of countries withheld their athletes from the 1980 Moscow Olympics, and then the former Soviet Union and the 13 other nations did not send athletes to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
When is the next Winter Olympics?
Milan, Italy, will host the next Winter Olympic Games, February 6 to 22, 2026. The next Summer Olympics will take place in Paris from July 26 to August 11, 2024.
Program availability may vary and air times are subject to change.