It’s Olympics time again (already!), as Beijing 2022 takes the baton from Tokyo 2020 – and Eurosport takes the TV baton from the BBC. Don’t panic. Subscription service Eurosport may now be the main holder of Olympics TV rights in the UK and France, but there will still be plenty of live ice hockey, figure skating, curling and more to watch for free on BBC One, Two and iPlayer.
As part of its deal when selling Olympics rights to Eurosport, the Beeb will sub-license a limited amount of free coverage of the Beijing Games, which sees a total of 109 medal events covering 15 different disciplines. Coverage in the UK and Ireland is effectively split between the BBC and Eurosport, where a Sport & Entertainment pass costs a reasonable £7 per month or £60 per year.
There are other options for UK viewers, too. As of November 2021, NBC’s Peacock streaming service is available as a Sky or Now TV add-on in the UK and Ireland. Peacock, which replaces NBCSN as the place to go for Olympics coverage for US viewers, has a free 7-day trial in the US.
Meanwhile in Australia, where Perth residents are in the same time zone as Beijing, Channel 7 broadcasts the action live for free. If you want to tune into Channel 7 or any other network from the UK or abroad, use one of the best VPNs, such as ExpressVPN. We’ve got all the details of these and other viewing options below.
But first, let’s don a thermal wetsuit and dive in for a closer look at Beijing 2022. What are Team GB’s medal hopes? When are those must-watch ice hockey and curling matches? Read on for all you need to know.
Watch the Olympics on Eurosport
How to watch the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics: Quick links
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What are the key dates of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics?
The 2022 Winter Olympics officially kicks off on Friday 4 February, with the glittering opening ceremony at the Beijing National Stadium at 8pm local time (12 noon in the UK and Ireland). The closing ceremony is also at 8pm local time, on Sunday 20 February. The Beijing Paralympics then take place a month later, from 4 to 13 March.
The fun – which is to say, the curling – actually starts on Wednesday 2 February, a day after China growls into the Year of the Tiger on 1 February. Tune in at 12.05pm UK time on 2 February to see world champions Bruce Mouat and Jenn Dodds begin their bid for Team GB glory in the curling mixed doubles.
There’s more curling, ice hockey, freestyle skiing and figure skating to watch on Thursday 3 and Friday 4 February, all before the opening ceremony.
Sunday 20 February is one of the busiest days of the games. As well as the glittering closing ceremony (stream live from 12 noon UK time) and exhibition gala, it also includes gold medal finals in five of the most popular events, including ice hockey, figure skating and curling.
Also reserve the sofa from early morning on Tuesday 8 February. There’ll be no fewer than ten medal events on that day, including speed skating, luge, freestyle skiing and snowboarding, which is a real treat to watch.
Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics events at a glance
Opening ceremony: 4 February
Closing ceremony: 20 February
Alpine skiing (12 medal events): 6 to 19 February
Biathlon (11 medal events): 5 to 19 February
Bobsleigh (4 medal events): 13 to 20 February
Cross-country skiing (12 medal events): 5 to 20 February
Curling (6 medal events): 2 to 20 February
Figure skating (5 medal events): 4 to 20 February
Freestyle skiing (13 medal events): 3 to 19 February
Ice hockey (4 medal events): 3 to 20 February
Luge (4 medal events): 5 to 10 February
Nordic combined (3 medal events): 9 to 17 February
Short track (9 medal events): 5 to 16 February
Skeleton (2 medal events): 10 to 12 February
Ski jumping (5 medal events): 5 to 14 February
Snowboarding (13 medal events): 5 to 15 February
Speed skating (16 medal events): 5 to 19 February
Time difference: 8 hours ahead of UK
Find the full sport-by-sport schedule, which is subject to change, at Olympics.com
Who are Team GB’s Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics hopefuls?
Team GB fared brilliantly at the Tokyo 2020 summer games in August 2021, coming 4th in the medals table behind the USA, Japan and China – and ahead of Russia. Britain has never fared as well at winter sports, but if Team GB can win more than five medals at Beijing 2022, it’ll be its most successful Winter Olympics ever.
Team GB has won medals in the skeleton in all seven Winter Olympics since the event was introduced, so that’ll be one to watch. However, double champ Lizzy Yarnold has now retired, leaving Amelia Coltman to compete for the women’s skeleton crown on 12 February.
Scottish curling star Bruce Mouat is the first Team GB athlete to compete in two curling disciplines at the same Olympics: mixed doubles with his fellow world champion Jenn Dodds, and the men’s team event, with 2021 World Championships silver medallists.
Freestyle skiers James Woods, Izzy Atkin and Kirsty Muir are ones to watch, too. Seventeen-year-old Muir will be hoping to convert her 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) silver medal into gold. Muir’s best chance is in one of Beijing’s new events, freeski big air, with qualifiers from 7 February.
Snowboarder Katie Ormerod missed the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after a horrific crash, and seven operations later she’s back at the top of her sport and will be a strong contender. Another snowboarder, British-born 2021 World Championships gold medallist Charlotte Bankes, represented France in Sochi and Pyeongchang and has now switched to Team GB.
Brad Hall and Greg Cackett are fresh from a silver win in the two-man bobsleigh at the World Cup and are looking great for a podium position. There’ll be headlines, too, from veteran Olympians Lamin Deen and Greg Rutherford in the four-man bobsleigh. Yes, that Greg Rutherford: London 2012 long jump gold medallist and Strictly Come Dancing 9th-weeker. Deen, 40, who nearly retired after Pyeongchang, has spoken of the boost he received following the arrival of Rutherford, whose natural aptitude left him “gobsmacked”.
Rutherford has battled a shoulder injury, but we’re keeping our fingers tightly crossed for him. Not least because if the four-man bobsleigh team finishes in the final three, Rutherford will be the first British athlete to win medals at both the summer and winter games.
Team GB’s final Beijing squad will be confirmed closer to the start of the Olympics, and may be affected by Covid. Keep an eye on this page for updates.
How will Covid and the diplomatic boycott affect Beijing 2022?
Nations including the UK, the US and Australia are refusing to send government representatives, to protest China’s record on human rights. Athletes from these nations will still compete. It’s similar to England’s diplomatic boycott of the World Cup 2018 in Russia, and probably won’t make much difference to your TV viewing.
Covid is having a more marked effect. Safety measures at Beijing 2022 will be much tighter than at Tokyo 2020. All participants, including referees and team officials, must stay inside a “closed loop” that’s off-limits to the general public. So don’t expect to see many ringside hugs with Mum.