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12 Young Athletes to Watch at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

| January 30, 2022 7:02 am PDT

At the tender age of 11 years and 73 days, Great Britain’s Cecilia Colledge became the youngest athlete in the history of the Winter Olympics when she competed in the figure skating event at the 1932 Games.

At Lillehammer ‘94, Kim Yun-mi became the youngest Winter Olympics athlete to win a gold medal. The South Korean was just 13 years and 85 days when she helped her team to win the short track speed skating event.

The 24th edition of the Winter Olympic Games is set to get underway on February 4. Although the records won’t be broken this year, there are still plenty of exiting young athletes to watch at Beijing 2022.

In this post, I look at some of the youngest athletes at the 2022 Winter Olympics – including a 15-year-old Russian figure skater and a 17-year-old Austrian skier. All the athletes featured in this post are aged 20 or under.

Matej Svancer

  • Age: 17
  • Nation: Austria
  • Sport: Freestyle Skiing

Matej Svancer was just 15 when he secured his first major title. That tells you everything you need to know about this guy.

Back in 2019, the Austrian freestyle skier finished second in the FIS European Cup – Big Air before triumphing at the World Rookie Fest. The following year, he sealed first place at the European Cup before winning gold at the Youth Olympic Games.

With victories in both the FIS Freestyle Junior World Championships and Audi Nine last year, Svancer comes into Beijing 2022 as one of the hottest young athletes.

Kamila Valieva

  • Age: 15
  • Nation: Russian Olympic Committee
  • Sport: Figure Skating
Kamila Valieva

Having scoured the internet, I’m pretty certain that Kamila Valieva is the youngest athlete at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Coincidentally, she is also one of the most gifted.

The Russian figure skater is only 15, meaning she was born in 2006 (yes, 2006!). Still, she heads to China as the reigning European champion, having secured the crown in Estonia less than a fortnight ago.

Believe it or not, Valieva has already set nine world records during her short career – and she doesn’t turn 16 until April! Don’t be surprised if she sets more records while representing the Russian Olympic Committee in Beijing.

Matvei Michkov

  • Age: 17
  • Nation: Russian Olympic Committee
  • Sport: Ice Hockey

At the age of 17, Matvei Michkov is viewed as one of the brightest young ice hockey players on the planet. The winger represents SKA Saint Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League and signed a five-year contract with the team last year.

Michkov recently became Russia’s youngest-ever national team player, breaking the legendary Alexander Ovechkin’s record. I’m sure it won’t be too long until he joins “Ovi” in the NHL.

Having helped the ROC team to win gold at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, Michkov will be confident of achieving more success in China. In fact, the Russians are heavily favored to win the men’s ice hockey event.

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Kagiyama Yuma

  • Age: 18
  • Nation: Japan
  • Sport: Figure Skating

Is there anything this guy can’t do?

Kagiyama Yuma burst onto the scene when he clinched gold at the Winter Youth Olympics two years ago. Now, the 18-year-old Japanese prodigy is among the favorites to triumph in the men’s figure skating event at Beijing 2022.

Following his success at Lausanne 2020, Yuma claimed the silver medal at the 2021 World Figure Skating Championships. He was also the only male to win both Grand Prix events during the 2021-22 season.

Yuma’s meteoric rise makes him one of the top young athletes at the Winter Olympics.

Alice Robinson

  • Age: 20
  • Nation: New Zealand
  • Sport: Alpine Skiing
Alice Robinson

Alpine skiers generally start enjoying their best years when they hit their mid-twenties. Alice Robinson only turned 20 in December, but she is already among the top athletes in the sport.

The Kiwi already has five World Cup podiums to her name, with three races wins coming across 2020 and 2021. She has been competing in the World Cup since 2018 and is now one of the most consistent performers on the circuit.

At the age of 16, Robinson competed in both the slalom and giant slalom at the previous Winter Olympics. With a further four years of experience in the bank, she could find herself on the podium this time around.

Johannes Lamparter

  • Age: 20
  • Nation: Austria
  • Sport: Nordic Combined

When Johannes Lamparter achieved two podium results during the 2020-21 FIS Nordic Combined World Cup season, he announced himself on the scene in style. However, the Austrian discovered an entirely different level at the World Championships.

Johannes Lamparter at the 2021 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships

  • Individual Large Hill: Gold
  • Team Sprint Large Hill: Gold
  • Team Normal Hill: Bronze

As a teenager, Lamparter picked up two golds and one bronze medal at last year’s World Championships. After winning both the individual large hill and team sprint, he secured third place in the relay.

It goes without saying that big things are expected of Lamparter at Beijing 2022.

Yuto Totsuka

  • Age: 20
  • Nation: Japan
  • Sport: Snowboarding

Yuto Totsuka will be desperate to make amends for his misfortune at Pyeongchang 2018. Although he finished eleventh in the men’s halfpipe event, he suffered a nasty injury during the final and had to be evacuated by medics.

If his performances since the last Winter Olympics are anything to go by, the 20-year-old looks destined to atone for his fall in South Korea.

Totsuka claimed silver in the superpipe at both the 2019 and 2020 Winter X Games before claiming the top prize in 2021. A few weeks later, he clinched halfpipe gold at the FIS Snowboarding World Championships.

The Yokohama native will be competing against Shaun White, who is one of the underdogs that could win a medal at Beijing 2022. At just 20, Totsuka is among the favorites.

Lee Yu-bin

  • Age: 20
  • Nation: South Korea
  • Sport: Short Track Speed Skating

Having claimed gold in the 3000m relay at Pyeongchang 2018, Lee Yu-bin is undoubtedly one of the best young Winter Olympics athletes to watch in 2022.

The South Korean was just 16 years of age when she helped her country’s short track speed skating team to triumph on home soil. Four years on, she is hoping to add to her Olympic medal tally in China.

2021-22 ISU SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATING WORLD CUP – WOMEN’S 1500M FINAL STANDINGS
Athlete Country Points
Lee Yu-bin South Korea 28,000
Suzanne Schulting Netherlands 26,400
Courtney Sarault Canada 22,400

Lee edged out the legendary Suzanne Schulting to clinch gold at the recent ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup. The 5ft 4in speedster is now among the top athletes in the sport.

Marita Kramer

  • Age: 20
  • Nation: Austria
  • Sport: Ski Jumping
Marita Kramer

It’s safe to say that 2021 was an amazing year for Marita Kramer.

The Dutch-born Austrian ski jumper kicked off the year by collecting two medals at the Nordic World Ski Championships, winning gold in the women’s team normal hill and bronze in the mixed team normal hill.

In November, she sealed a record-breaking win in the normal hill individual event at the World Cup – finishing with the biggest-ever points gap to second place. Pretty impressive for a 20-year-old, right?

If she can pick up where she left off last year, she will almost certainly secure a spot on the podium in Beijing.

Sofia Nadyrshina

  • Age: 18
  • Nation: Russian Olympic Committee
  • Sport: Snowboarding

Sofia Nadyrshina became the youngest-ever parallel slalom world champion when she triumphed at the 2021 FIS Snowboarding World Championships. She then capped off a memorable tournament by claiming silver in the parallel giant slalom.

The Russian totally dominated the Junior World Championships, winning three gold medals in 2020 before achieving exactly the same feat in 2021. She is now ready to take to Olympics by storm.

As one of the top athletes to watch at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Chloe Kim is the standout name in women’s snowboarding. But keep an eye on Nadyrshina, as the teenager could upset the odds in Beijing.

Eileen Gu

  • Age: 18
  • Nation: China
  • Sport: Freestyle Skiing

As soon as Eileen Gu picked up two golds and a silver at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, it was clear that she was destined for greatness. The freestyle skier took the big air and halfpipe titles in Lausanne, along with second place in the slopestyle event.

Since then, Gu has continued to add to her medal collection. After winning the superpipe and slopestyle events at the 2021 Winter X Games, she won both the halfpipe and slopestyle at the World Championships. She also became for first women to land a forward double cork 1440 last year.

Born in San Francisco to an American father and a mother of Chinese origin, Gu initially competed for the USA before switching allegiances to China. The 18-year-old is now among China’s biggest medal hopefuls for Beijing 2022.

Alysa Liu

  • Age: 16
  • Nation: USA
  • Sport: Figure Skating
Alysa Liu

At just 16, Alysa Liu is officially the youngest athlete on Team USA this year. The Californian teenager is a figure skating prodigy, having already won back-to-back US Championship titles.

Despite testing positive for COVID-19 midway through the recent US Figure Skating Championships, Liu managed to secure her place at Beijing 2022. Remarkably, she is a whopping 24 years younger than snowboarder Nick Baumgartner – the oldest Team USA athlete at this year’s Games.

Lui clinched multiple titles last year, including the World Figure Skating Championships, Cranberry Cup, CS Lombardia Trophy, and ISU Challenger Series. Needless to say, she is expected to shine in China.

Looking for More Winter Olympics Content?

The Winter Olympics are right around the corner. With the opening ceremony scheduled for February 4, we don’t have to wait long to witness the best young athletes at Beijing 2022. Be sure to place your wagers at the best Winter Olympics betting sites.

If you’re planning to bet on the upcoming Games, check out the Olympics picks section of our site

If you’re still not satisfied, why not check out some of our other Winter Olympics posts below?

Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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