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Viewpoint: 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games preview

3-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong and KTVB Sports Director Jay Tust discuss Olympics competition, COVID challenges and Team Idaho

BOISE, Idaho — The skiing, the skating, the sliding and the slapshots. The skill, the strength, the stamina and the style. It's all on display right now in Beijing, China. The 2022 Olympic Winter Games are underway. Nearly 2,900 athletes from 91 nations will compete in 109 different medal events in 15 sports.

They'll be doing so under the cloud of COVID once again. This year's games are being held inside what the Chinese government calls a protective "bubble" because of concerns over COVID-19. Strict daily testing and other restrictions mean only special "selected" guests will be allowed to watch the competition in person.

Athletes are also dealing with COVID restrictions and requirements, such as testing. During the taping of this week's Viewpoint, three-time Olympic gold medalist in the cycling time trial Kristin Armstrong of Boise explained how difficult she believes it would be to compete under the COVID restrictions.

"There's enough stress and enough pressure, whether it's from the outside world or on yourself to compete and to deliver, and with all of this COVID, the pandemic, the additional stress, the testing, I can't imagine," Armstrong said.

"I always say control your controlables. Well, all the athletes have just been given non-controlables. To be the top in the world you have to have both the physical piece and the mental piece, and I'm telling you what, that mindset is going to really have to come to play in these coming weeks."

224 American athletes are in Beijing. That's the second largest delegation the U.S. has ever sent to a winter Olympics. Among them are several from Idaho competing in cross country skiing, skeleton, snowboard half-pipe and hockey.

Hilary Knight is making her fourth Olympics appearance with the USA Women's Hockey Team and going for her second straight gold medal. KTVB Sports Director Jay Tust has covered her on much of that journey.

"I think that Hilary really understands her place in women's hockey," Tust said. "She also loves being a role model. She wants to grow the game. She wants little girls in Idaho to pick up a stick and chase the same dream in the sport that has given her so much. And what she is doing right now for the U.S Women's Hockey team is teetering on what Kristin did for the U.S. Cycling team. You mentioned two silvers and a gold. She's in position to lead Team USA to another gold. This is her record-tying fourth Olympic appearance for the U.S. Women's Hockey team. She is truly a gem. She is historic, and it's been fun to follow her story."

Here are the other members of Team USA with ties to Idaho.

Chase Josey of Hailey will showcase his high-flying skills in the snowboard half-pipe.

Andrew Blaser of Meridian will head down the icy track head first in the skeleton.

Brother and sister Scott and Caitlin Patterson of McCall will each try to conquer the competition in cross country skiing.

Kevin Bolger, who trains with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, will also compete in cross country skiing.

And Victor, Idaho native Breezy Johnson was named to Team USA in women's alpine skiing, but a knee injury has forced her to withdraw.

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