Through 1992, the Winter and Summer Olympic/Paralympics were always held in the same calendar year. It was only in 1994 that the IOC modified the schedule to create a staggered cycle, with Summer Games during leap years and Winter Games two years later.

Because of the one-year pandemic delay, the calendar has temporarily reverted to its former intervals, with a scant six months separating Summer and Winter competitions. Before you know it, they’ll be lighting the flame to kick off the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing, China. Here’s a quick primer on what to expect.

What are the exact dates of the Winter Paralympics?
The Opening Ceremonies take place on March 4, 2022, and competition runs through March 13.

How many events are included in the Winter Paralympics?
Winter Paralympians compete for medals in six disciplines: four on snow (alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and biathlon) and two on ice (para hockey and wheelchair curling).

How many athletes participate in the Winter Paralympics?
In the most recent Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, a total of 567 athletes from 49 countries participated. To place that in context, corresponding figures for the 2020 Tokyo Games are 4,403 athletes from 162 countries. The Winter Games are smaller and more intimate.

How successful is Team USA in the Winter Games?
The 2018 Winter Paralympics were among the most successful ever for American competitors. The US topped the medal table with 36 medals (13 gold), a twofold increase over the 2014 medal tally and a near-tripling of the 2010 figure. Prior to 2018, the US hadn’t led in the overall medal count since 2002.

Who are some of America’s best amputee Winter Paralympians?
Snowboarder Brenna Huckaby won two gold medals in PyeongChang. Oksana Masters, who just last week won two handcycling golds in Tokyo, is a six-time Winter Paralympic medalist in cross-country skiing and biathlon (including two golds at PyeongChang). Mike Schultz won two medals in snowboarding in 2018. The US men’s para hockey team has won gold at the last three Winter Paralympics.

Will the Winter Paralympics be broadcast on television?
NBC holds the coverage rights to the Beijing Winter Games. In 2018 the network provided 250 total hours of coverage across its broadcast and streaming platforms. No details are currently available regarding NBC’s coverage plans for 2022.

Will COVID cause the Games to be cancelled?
Probably not. The Chinese government is determined to garner the international attention that comes with hosting the Olympics and Paralympics, and it’s not susceptible to pressure from citizens who might have concerns about public health. All the athletes and media will be covered by extremely strict protocols.

Will the United States boycott the Beijing Games to protest China’s record of human-rights abuses?
This bears watching. To date, the Biden administration has given no indication that a boycott is being considered. However, legislators from both the Republican and Democratic parties have urged the International Olympic Committee to relocate the Games from Beijing to another location. And some corporate sponsors are reportedly weighing the option of withdrawing their support.

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