Get ready to witness history.
At the 2022 Winter Games, several athletes will have an opportunity to add to their Olympic legacies by achieving feats never seen before on the world’s biggest stage.
From Shaun White to Mikaela Shiffrin and more, here are nine athletes who will be chasing history in Beijing.
Arianna Fontana, Italy
Arianna Fontana is just one podium finish away from short-track speed skating history. Fontana is tied with Viktor An of South Korea/Russia and Apolo Ohno of the United States for the most Olympic short-track medals with eight. One medal in Beijing, and she would take over sole possession of first place.
The 31-year-old Italian has never left an Olympics empty-handed, winning at least one medal during each of her four appearances. She seized three medals at each of the last two Games, most recently taking gold in the 500m, silver in the 3000m relay and bronze in the 1000m at the 2018 Olympics.
Chloe Kim, Team USA
Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
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The women’s halfpipe snowboarding event has been featured at the Games seven times and it’s been won by seven different athletes. But we could see the first multi-time champion this year.
Reigning Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim of Team USA will have a strong shot at becoming the first woman to win multiple halfpipe titles. As a 17-year-old, Kim posted a near-perfect score to win the event at the 2018 Games.
Since her impressive Olympic debut, Kim has won halfpipe golds at the 2019 and 2021 World Championships.
Claudia Pechstein, Germany
Claudia Pechstein is making history by simply competing at the Winter Games. The 49-year–old German speed skater, who will turn 50 on Feb. 22, is now the oldest female Winter Olympian ever. American luger Anne Abernathy, who took part in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games at age 48, was the previous record-holder among female athletes. Swedish curler Carl August Kronlund, who won silver at the 1924 Chamonix Winter Games as a 58-year-old, is the oldest Winter Olympian of all time.
Should Pechstein pull off an upset and win the mass start in Beijing, she will be the oldest individual gold medalist in Winter Olympics history. That record is currently held by Norway's Ole Einar Bjørndalen, who won the men's biathlon as a 40-year-old at the 2014 Olympics.
Pechstein made her Olympic debut as a 19-year-old at the 1992 Albertville Games, where she won bronze in the 5000m. She’s a nine-time medalist with five golds over her seven Olympic appearances, although her last podium finish came at the 2006 Turin Games. By making her eighth Olympic appearance, Pechstein ties Japanese men’s ski jumper Noriaki Kasai for the most in Winter Games history.
Mikaela Shiffrin, Team USA
American Mikaela Shiffrin could be very busy in Beijing. The two-time Olympic champion and three-time medalist hopes to compete in all five alpine individual skiing events at the Winter Games.
Shiffrin, 26, wanted to do the same thing in 2018, but a schedule that was compressed due to weather-related postponements led to her only entering three events. She medaled in two of them, winning gold in the giant slalom and silver in the combined.
Since she would have a real shot to make the podium in each event, Shiffrin could come away from the Games with a historic medal haul. The record for alpine skiing medals won at a single Olympics is four, accomplished by Croatia’s Janica Kostelic in 2002, while the most golds captured at a single Games is three, which was done by Kostelic (2002), France’s Jean-Claude Killy (1968) and Austria’s Toni Sailer (1956). Shiffrin winning three more golds, for a total tally of five, would give her the most in Olympic alpine skiing history.
But competing in all five events at a single Olympics is no small task. In fact, of all the skiers who have pulled it off, no one has come away with more than three medals or more than two golds, according to Olympedia.org.
Team USA’s Shaun White, Switzerland’s Dario Cologna and Netherlands’ Sven Kramer
Will Shaun White go out with a historic performance? The 2022 Winter Games will be the fifth and final Olympics for the legendary American snowboarder.
White, a record 15-time X Games champion (13 in snowboarding and two in skateboarding), holds the most Olympic snowboarding golds with three and is tied for the most combined medals with three. Another podium finish in Beijing, and White could retire as the sole leader in both categories.
All three of White’s Olympic golds have come in the halfpipe (2006, 2010 and 2018), and a fourth gold halfpipe medal would make the 35-year-old the first Winter Olympian with four golds in the same individual event.
The same goes for Swiss cross-country skier Dario Cologna and Dutch long-track speed skater Sven Kramer. Cologna, 35, is a three-time Olympic champion in the 15m event, while Kramer, 35, has three golds in the 5000m race. Unlike White, Cologna and Kramer enter these Games as three-time defending champs in their respective events.
David Wise, Team USA
Freestyle skier David Wise is the only athlete with an Olympic men’s halfpipe title. The halfpipe event was first introduced at the 2014 Games, and Wise has claimed each of the two gold medals that have been awarded.
If the 31-year-old three-peats in Beijing, he would be the first American male to win three consecutive golds in the same event at the Winter Olympics. That feat has been achieved by just five male athletes in Winter Games history.
Ireen Wüst, Netherlands
Speed skater Ireen Wüst has won at least one individual gold medal in each of her four Olympics appearances. If that streak is extended in Beijing, she will become the first Olympian, Winter or Summer, to win an individual gold at five different Games.
The 35-year-old is the most decorated Dutch Olympian, LGBTQ Olympian and Olympic speed skater of all time with 11 medals. One more gold, either individual or team, would give Wüst, who is bisexual, the most ever among out LGBTQ athletes. Wüst’s five gold medals are currently tied with Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe. She surpassed Thorpe, a nine-time medalist, as the most successful LGBTQ Olympian with a three-medal haul at the 2018 Games.