The best moments of the Beijing Winter Games, captured by a Tribune photographer

ByDavid M. Conte

Feb 21, 2022

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Nathan Chen performs during the Figure Skating Showcase Gala at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on Sunday, February 20, 2022.

Exaltation, heartache. Success, failure.

The gravity at the Olympics seems to be much heavier than what is found in the rest of the world. And yet, some are able to challenge it and rise to the top of their sport.

Utah, always overweight to represent Team USA and other nations at the Games, brought home 19 Olympians with medals this time around. The Salt Lake Tribune was in Beijing documenting the glory or disappointment of the past two weeks.

It’s almost as Olympian as the athletes to cover the Games. Waking up at 4 a.m. to catch a train to the mountains and battling sub-zero temperatures to get the perfect shot were just some of the hurdles for Tribune photojournalist Trent Nelson in China. Daily coronavirus testing and constant cybersecurity precautions add to the challenges and rewards of covering the Games as a journalist.

Scroll down to see the best photos and recap of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics at the Beijing National Stadium on Friday, February 4.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Team USA marches in the parade of athletes.

Utah speed skater Brittany Bowe became the surprise standard bearer at the opening ceremonies after bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor was diagnosed with coronavirus early in the Games.

“Carrying the flag,” the Salt Lake City resident said, “is literally the greatest honor of my entire life.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) China’s Ahenaer Adake is competing in the women’s 3000m speed skating event on Saturday February 5.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jaelin Kauf.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jaelin Kauf (USA) competes in the Women’s Moguls Qualifier at Zhangjiakou Genting Snow Park on Thursday, February 3.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Silver medalist Jaelin Kauf reacts after her final race on Sunday, February 6.

Jaelin Kauf broke through for an Olympic medal early in the Games with a silver in women’s moguls. Carrying the team’s “big sister vibe”, she made the fastest runs on the field course.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Alexander Hall (USA) warms up for the men’s big air final in Beijing on Wednesday, February 9.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The men’s big air final medalists, left to right: silver medalist Colby Stevenson (USA); gold medalist Birk Ruud (Norway); and bronze medalist Henrik Harlaut (Sweden).

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Colby Stevenson (USA) celebrates his silver medal.

Big air skier Colby Stevenson almost never made it to Beijing. Six years ago he suffered a serious car accident which left him with a fractured skull and months of rehabilitation. Stevenson showed the same determination en route to the silver medal in the first Olympic men’s big air event.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Nathan Chen reacts after the men’s short program in the figure skating team event at Capital Indoor Stadium on Friday, February 4.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Nathan Chen performs his routine in the men’s figure skating free skate on Thursday, February 10.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Nathan Chen performs his routine in the men’s figure skating free skate on Thursday, February 10.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Nathan Chen reacts after his performance in the men’s figure skating free skate on Thursday, February 10.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Nathan Chen receives his gold medal in men’s individual figure skating at the Beijing Medals Plaza during the 2022 Winter Olympics on Thursday, February 10.

Nathan Chen of Salt Lake City was the gold standard for the Utahns at the 2022 Winter Olympics. By winning gold in the men’s singles event and a medal yet to be determined in the team event, Chen proved to be the star of the Games and cemented his status as the best male figure skater in the world.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) American Kristen Santos, center, crashes in the women’s 1,000m in short track speed skating on Friday, February 11.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Santos, left, was turning the final lap when she tripped and crashed into the padding.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kristen Santos leaves the ice after placing fourth.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Erin Jackson (USA) wins gold in the women’s 500m speed skating event on Sunday February 13.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Erin Jackson (USA) celebrates winning the gold medal in the women’s 500m in speed skating on Sunday February 13.

Erin Jackson of Salt Lake City became the first black woman to win a gold medal in speed skating, beating the field in the 500 meters. “It sends the message that if you follow your heart and your passion, you can achieve whatever you want,” said Ryan Shimabukuro, head coach of the USA speed skating team.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ashley Caldwell (USA) competes in the women’s aerials on Monday, February 14.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Fanyu Kong (China) lands hard in the women’s jump.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Alexander Hall, center, and Nicholas Goepper, left, celebrate their gold and silver medals in the men’s freeski slopestyle finals in Zhangjiakou, China, Wednesday, February 16.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Skiers compete in the women’s cross-country ski team sprint in Zhangjiakou, China, Wednesday, February 16.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Rosie Brennan, left, and Jessie Diggins embrace at the finish line of the women’s cross-country skiing team sprint at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou, China, Wednesday, February 16, 2022.

American cross-country skiers are now a force to be reckoned with on the world stage, with strong results from Park City’s Rosie Brennan and two medals from University of Westminster graduate Jessie Diggins.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Medical staff watch speed skating in Beijing on Thursday, February 17.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bronze medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, center, hugs German gold medalist Deborah Levi after the two-man bobsled on Saturday, February 19.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on Sunday, February 20.

Tribune reporter Julie Jag contributed to this story.