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The reigning Canadian champion had been stuck in Vancouver since testing positive for COVID-19 prior to the team’s flight to the Beijing Olympics

Keegan Messing pumps his fist after receiving his gold medal at the National Skating Championships, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022 in Ottawa.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Beijing Olympics: Latest updates

Olympic events for Feb. 4, 2022
  • Figure skating: Canadian figure skater Keegan Messing is en route to Beijing for the Winter Olympics after being in COVID-19 limbo. The reigning Canadian champion had been stuck in Vancouver since testing positive for COVID-19. He has already missed out on skating in the team event, but is expected to make it in time to skate in his individual event.
  • Hockey: After crushing Switzerland in Thursday’s 12-1 win to open the Olympic women’s hockey tournament, Team Canada’s next opponent is Finland. Meanwhile, Canadian forward Melodie Daoust was scratched from the game because of injury.
  • Curling: Sweden boosted their chances of advancing to the curling mixed doubles semi-finals with a 6-1 victory over Switzerland. Meanwhile, Canada’s defence of its mixed doubles curling gold medal is looking a lot more promising: Canada’s tandem of John Morris and Rachel Homan picked up a pair of wins Friday to move into a tie with Britain for second place in the round-robin standings at 3-1.
  • Snowboarding: Canadians Laurie Blouin, Jasmine Baird, and Brooke Voigt will compete tonight in the qualification round of women’s slopestyle – looking for a spot in tomorrow’s final.
  • Opening day: The Beijing Winter Olympics officially began Friday with a surprisingly short, albeit technically spectacular, opening ceremony in the Bird’s Nest, the iconic stadium that also hosted the start of the 2008 Summer Games. That performance remains one of the most memorable of recent Olympics. This one though, as Cathal Kelly opines, was a disappointment.
Off the field
  • Olympic COVID-19 cases: China has detected 45 new cases of COVID-19 among Olympic Games related personnel on Feb. 4, up from 21 a day earlier, the organizing committee of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games said. Of the total infections, 26 were among new airport arrivals, including 20 athletes or team officials.
  • Russia, friend and foe: One of the highest-profile visitors to Friday’s opening ceremony is Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first world leader to meet with China’s President Xi Jinping in more than two years. As for athletes from Russia and Ukraine – countries in a tense military standoff at their Eastern European border – athletes formed a fragile peace in Beijing, aided by COVID-19 restrictions meant to keep competitors apart.
  • North Korea: North Korea isn’t sending any athletes and officials to the the 2022 Winter Olympics despite China being its main ally and neighbour. The country again finds itself on the world stage, this time it is because of belligerence, not charm, in the shape of a fast-paced string of increasingly powerful missile tests.
  • Ai Weiwei: Dissident Chinese architect Ai Weiwei, one of the designers of the Bird’s Nest stadium, aired criticism of Beijing’s human rights record and response to the pandemic in an interview. He also accused governments of showing too much deference to China for business or political interests.
The day in pictures
  • Oskar Eriksson of Sweden in action during the Mixed Doubles Round Robin Session 7 against Switzerland on Feb. 4, 2022.ELOISA LOPEZ/Reuters

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Coming up at the Beijing Olympics

All dates and times (ET)

What to watch tonight, Feb. 4
  • Snowboard: Women’s Slopestyle qualification, 9:45 p.m. ET
  • Hockey: Women, Canada vs. Finland, 11:10 p.m. ET
What to watch tomorrow, Feb. 5
  • Curling: Mixed doubles, Round robin: Canada vs. Sweden, 1:05 a.m. ET
  • Ski Jumping: Men’s individual – Normal hill, qualification, 1:20 a.m. ET
  • Cross-country skiing: Women’s 2x7.5km skiathlon (medal opportunity), 2:45 a.m. ET
  • Speed skating: Women’s 3000m (medal opportunity), 3:30 a.m. ET
  • Biathlon: Mixed 4x6km relay (medal opportunity), 4 a.m.
  • Freestyle skiing: Men’s moguls, qualification 2, 5 a.m. ET
  • Ski jumping: Women’s individual – Normal hill, 1st Round, 5:45 a.m. ET
  • Short track: Women’s 500 m heats, 6 a.m. ET
  • Luge: Men’s single, run 1, 6:10 a.m. ET
  • Freestyle Skiing: men’s moguls, final (medal opportunity), 6:30 a.m. ET
  • Ski jumping: Women’s individual, normal hill, final round (medal opportunity), 6:35 a.m. ET
  • Short track: Men’s 1000 m, heats, 6:38 a.m. ET
  • Curling: Mixed doubles, round robin, Canada vs. U.S., 7:05 a.m. ET
  • Short track: Mixed 2000 m relay, quarter-final, 7:23 a.m. ET
  • Luge: Men’s single, run 2, 7:50 a.m. ET
  • Short track: Mixed 2000 m relay, semi-final, 7:53 a.m. ET
  • Short track: Mixed 2000 m relay, finals (medal opportunity), 8:18 a.m. ET
  • Figure skating: Mixed team, qualification – women’s short program, 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Snowboard: Women’s slopestyle, final (medal opportunity), 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Alpine skiing: Men’s downhill (medal opportunity), 10 p.m. ET
  • Figure skating: Mixed team, final – men’s free program, 10:50 p.m. ET
  • Snowboard: Men’s slopestyle, qualification, 11:30 p.m. ET
What time is it in Beijing right now?

Olympic highlights and medal count for Feb. 4

Latest Olympic medal count

Captain clutch

Team Canada captain and Olympic flag bearer Marie-Philip Poulin has delivered big-game goals for Canada’s women’s hockey team in an astonishing string of Olympic and world championship matches. Now the 30-year-old is heading to her fourth Olympics and aims to deliver again.

Canadian flag-bearers Charles Hamelin and Marie-Philip Poulin lead Team Canada into the opening ceremonies to officially start the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Friday, February 04, 2022.The Canadian Press

Kripps’s pandemic pivot

Justin Kripps completed dozens of runs down Beijing’s sliding track before he ever got there. The COVID-19 pandemic delaying test events and international training weeks at the new Yanqing Sliding Center for months, the Canadian bobsled pilot regularly strapped on a virtual reality headset to get in his track reps. The Olympic track opened in 2020, but only the Chinese could get on it over the next year because of the pandemic. As their summer counterparts did for Tokyo’s Summer Games delayed from 2020 to 2021, every Canadian athlete heading to Beijing had to pivot and adapt.

Justin Kripps of Canada and team at the Men's 4-Bob World Cup in Switzerland on Jan. 16.Mayk Wendt/Keystone via AP

U.S. leads team figure skating

It was supposed to be a foregone conclusion that Russia’s powerful stable of figure skaters, including world champions in three of the four disciplines, would run away with the team gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. Nathan Chen and the rest of the Americans must have taken exception. The three-time world champ’s winning short program set the tone for Team USA on Friday, and everyone else followed suit.

Nathan Chen, of the United States, competes during the men's singles short program team event in the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing.David J. Phillip/The Associated Press

Essential reads on the Beijing Olympics

Brynn Anderson/The Associated Press

Explainers

Olympic guide: How to watch the 2022 Winter Games, and who to pay attention to

Visual guide: Team Canada skaters explain ice dance's mix of artistic flair and technical precision

Sports columnist Cathal Kelly

Olympic opening ceremonies used to be fun. Now, we’re lucky to get a small hit of absurdity

A midnight hustle: What it was like arriving in Beijing ahead of the Olympics

In Olympic women’s hockey, Canada is so good, it can be hard to watch the other team lose

There hasn’t been a fun Olympics for a decade, but at least Beijing is honest about what we’re getting instead

On the politics

Beijing’s Olympic plans are mired in politics and threatened by COVID-19. Will it all be worth it?

As world’s media descend on Beijing for Winter Olympics, journalists in China warn of unprecedented hurdles

Megan Walsh: The Olympics as metaphor for how the Chinese Communist Party writes its narratives

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