Skiers, Hockey Stars With Northwest Ties Champing At Bit To Qualify For 2022 Olympics

An Olympic torch lighting ceremony in (Ancient Olympia,) Greece on Monday started the countdown to the next Winter Olympics. Those games will unfold in Beijing three-and-a-half months from now. Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest are undeterred by controversies swirling around the host country.

The 2022 Winter Games in Beijing are shaping up to be another COVID Olympics, even stricter than Tokyo was this past summer. The U.S. Olympic committee will require vaccination, not just encourage it. China plans to exclude foreign spectators and families.

Despite all this, Seattle Junior Hockey Association alum TJ Oshie, now an NHL star, says he would be honored to represent the USA in Beijing. “I definitely prefer fans, but when you’re playing for a gold medal you know, you’re going to play just as hard whether there are fans or not. I do think it’s a little bit different atmosphere.”

In one plausible scenario, Oshie could be shooting against Seattle Kraken goalkeeper Philip Grubauer, who’s a virtual lock to be Germany’s Olympic goalie. The list of projected Olympians with Northwest ties also includes alpine skiers Tommy Ford of Bend and Jacqueline Wiles of Portland, who aspire to be medal threats on the slopes.

The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony takes place in Beijing on February 4th.