Our athletes travel to Beijing to represent Spain in the next Winter Olympic Games. But… who are they? In what modalities will we see them compete? Read on to find out more about these athletes and join them on their path to gold.
And it is that Beijing opens its doors to the Spanish athletes who most enjoy the winter season. Many of them have been preparing for this event since the last 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Spain will participate with 14 athletes in six categories: freestyle skiing, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, skeleton and snowboarding.
FIGURE SKATING: CHEMISTRY BETWEEN COUPLES
Let's start with the modality that has the largest number of Spaniards in its competition, figure skating. First of all, we have Laura Barquero who, at just 20 years old, will debut at these Olympics with the Italian Marco Zandron. The little experience of this couple in their previous championships was not a problem since they obtained silver in Lombardy, surprising all fans of this sport. Perhaps one of the keys to their success is their sentimental connection, since they are a couple beyond sports. Together they have already made history in figure skating, being the first Spanish couple to compete for the Olympic medal. As a curiosity, Zandron had to obtain Spanish nationality to be able to appear at the games, so he already has his Spanish passport to fly to Beijing.
On the other hand, we will be able to enjoy the show by Adrián Díaz and Olivia Smart. This duo comes stronger than ever after missing out on a ticket to PyeongChang at the 2018 Olympics. It seems as if fate had brought them together, since they both parted ways with their sports partners in the same year, when Olivia decides to write to Adrián. Adrián, who achieved a great position in 2014 with Sara Hurtado, did not hesitate to accept Olivia's proposal to form a team. Unlike the previous couple, they had to train the communication and connection between them that was noticeable both in the scores and in the results of the 2021-2022 season. Smart and Díaz set the Olympic and world Top 10 as their goal.
ALPINE SKIING: THE WOMEN'S IN THE HANDS OF NURIA PAU
As for the skiers, we only have one woman in the women's alpine ski section. She is Nuria Pau, and we will see her compete in the Giant Slalom event. Nuria assures in an interview for Eurosport that Beijing "will be a reward for all these years invested".
In the men's category, they will compete for gold Adur Etxezarreta, whose start to the year has been a complete success after the silver in the European Cup Downhill in Tarvisio. His career is marked by certain difficulties, such as a tendon injury that kept him out of the alpine world for two seasons. In addition, he had to face another complication, and that is that the descent cannot be practiced alone since it means closing a very long track. This caused small teams like his to join national teams. Despite these complications, the Basque has a great team that accompanies him on his trip to Beijing.
A third Spaniard will compete in the alpine category. He is Joaquim Salarich, who surpassed the best position of the last decade in the Val d´lsére Slalom. With the number 52 number in the first race, he managed to overcome 20 places and in the second, he was the sixth best runner, which led him to reach the number 15 position.
Special mention goes to Paco Fernández Ochoa who is the only Spaniard to date to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympic Games in the alpine skiing category. In addition, her sister Blanca Fernández Ochoa was the first Spanish woman to win an Olympic medal, specifically in bronze.
FREESTYLE: THE FIRST SPANISH RELEASES
On the other hand, Spanish freestyle skiing will bear the names of Javier Lliso and Thibault Magnin. Their goals are ambitious since they will not only be the first Spaniards to show their freestyle skills to the world, but it is also the third time that this discipline is part of the games.
Regarding his trajectories, Magnim is in the top ten after testing at the slopestyle World Cup. In addition, he finished tenth at Mammoth Mountain and seventh at Font Romeu.
On the other hand, Javier Lliso says that the first time he saw a Winter Games was in Sochi in 2014 while he was in language class. Now, with three freestyle skiing world championships under his belt, he will give his all to achieve one more success in Beijing. According to an interview he gave to the Olympic Committee: "The goal is to go for everything I can give, I know I'm going to get there 110% and give my all. And if it's a medal, then all the better.”
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: ALL WITH THE DEBUT OF JAUME PUEYO
A more common discipline than freestyle, but no less relevant, is cross-country skiing. HE presents himself with strong expectations for the debut of the young Jaume Pueyo in the sprint test. So far his best result was acquired in the Pokylucay European Cup in Slovenia. The Catalan is part of the Fons Urgellet Cerdanya Ski Club.
On the other hand, Imanol Rojo is very motivated after achieving two Top 30 finishes in the Oberstdorf World Cups. The vocation of this athlete has no limits and in 2015 he decided to move to Vielha with the aim of living near the snow. For Rojo, being a veteran means nothing, since the long-distance runner assures that he will enjoy the games as if they were the first.
SNOWBOARDING: GREAT VETERANS WITH GREAT EXPECTATIONS
In the snowboarding category, our country is lucky to present the world champion of the snowboard cross modality as demonstrated by Lucas Eguibar in 2021 in Sweden. In addition, he has won no more and no less than fourteen podiums and four wins.
Another of our snowboarders will be the Olympic veteran Queral Castellet , who obtained the best result of her in the last PyeongChang Olympics with a seventh place. Castellet seems not to be satisfied only with the successes achieved so far, since in an interview for elPeriódico the Catalan tells “I still have dreams to fulfill and one is the medal of the Games”.
He already has a bronze medal in the snowboard halfpipe world championships at the Apen station in Colorado and silver in Kreischberg (Australia) in 2015, thus adding his second world medal. This year was also important for her as she was awarded the bronze medal by the Royal Order of Sports Merit. In total there are seven World Cups in which the Spanish snowboarder has participated.
On the other hand, he has competed in the Winter X-Games that are held in the United States where he also achieved great success improving his results and reaching the gold medal achieved in the 2020 edition in the superpipe modality.
SKELETON: THE SPORT THAT IS GROWING IN SPAIN
For those of you who don't know this sport, skeleton consists of reaching the highest possible speed while sliding horizontally with a sled. Freedom and adrenaline in its purest form! In Spain, this sport also seems to be in luck: it bears the name of Ander Mirambell, a true pioneer of this modality in our country and who elevates it to the category of art, such and as stated in an interview conducted by the organization of the games itself. His objectives go beyond obtaining a good position in the Olympics, since he wants skeleton to continue to grow in Spain and for future generations to enjoy it as he has.
As we can see, Spain has a great level from our athletes in these 2022 Olympics that will kick off on February 4. Let's hope that the weather conditions are on our side and accompany the participants in their fight for the Olympic medal. Beijing 2022 will be quite an adventure for its contestants, who, ambitious to reach the podium, are not going to make it easy. However, they are all moved by something in common: the passion for sport.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
- IN WHICH CATEGORIES WILL SPAIN PARTICIPATE IN THE 2022 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES?
There are 6 categories in which Spain will compete in the Winter Olympic Games:
- Cross-country skiing
- Alpine skiing
- Acrobatic skiing
- Figure skating
- HOW LONG WILL THE 2022 WINTER OLYMPICS LAST?
The 2022 Winter Olympics will take place between Friday, February 4 and Sunday, February 20. The different tests will be distributed between the cities of Beijing and Zhabgjiakou.
- WHERE CAN YOU FOLLOW THE WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES?
You can follow the 2022 Winter Olympics through Spanish Television, DMAX or through the Eurosport pay channel that will broadcast them live. In addition, the DAZN platform makes it possible to access the Eurosport broadcast by streaming. And we'll tell you everything too!
- HOW MANY MEDALS HAS SPAIN AT THE WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES SO FAR?
For now our country only has four medals in the Winter Olympic Games thanks to Paco Fernández Ochoa and, twenty years later, his sister Blanca Fernández Ochoa who won bronze in the alpine ski slalom, a specialty she shares with Paco. In 2018, Javier Fernández took bronze in figure skating and Regio Hernández in snowboard cross. Both already retired.
- WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE OF THE FIRST TESTS?
- Imanol Rojo: Cross-country skiing Sunday 02/6.
- Adur Etxezerreta: Alpine skiing, Downhill Sunday 6/02 and Super G Tuesday 8/02.
- Nuria Pau: Alpine skiing, Giant Slalom Monday 02/7.
- Thibault Magnin: Big Air Monday 02/7 and Freestyle Skiing Monday 02/14
- Javier Lliso: Big Air Monday 02/7 Freestyle skiing Monday 02/14.
- Jaume Pueyo: Sprint cross-country skiing Tuesday 02/8.
- Queralt Castellet: Snowboarding Wednesday 02/9.
- Lucas Eguibar: Snowboarding Thursday 02/10.
- Adrián Díaz and Olivia Smart: Figure skating, dance Saturday 02/12.
- Joaquin Salarich: Alpine skiing, Giant Slalom Sunday 02/13.
- Laura Barquero and Marcon Zandron: Figure Skating Friday 02/18.