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    Longest Winter Games ever!
    For the first time in the history of the Winter Olympic Games, competition will begin two days before the Opening Ceremony. The 2022 Winter Olympic Games would run a total of 19 days, making them the longest in history of the Winter Olympic Games.
    The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing will begin with Mixed Doubles event in Curling, two nights before the opening ceremony is scheduled. The first competition session is currently scheduled to take place at 20:05-22:00 (local time) on February 2nd. The Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games is scheduled to take place on February 4th, with the Closing Ceremony scheduled for February 20th. Both are scheduled to be held at the iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing.
    There are currently 109 medal events scheduled to be contested across seven sports and fifteen disciplines. The first medals will be handed out in the women's skiathlon in cross-country skiing on February 5th. Below, you can find a breakdown of the schedule by sport/discipline:
    Alpine skiing
    The alpine skiing competition is scheduled to be held over eleven competition days. As is tradition, the men's downhill will be the first event held on February 6th, with the mixed team event closing the event roster on February 19th.  
    As with alpine skiing, the biathlon events are planned to be held across eleven days. The games will begin with the mixed relay competition on February 6th, and conclude with the women's mass start on February 19th.   
     The bobsleigh competition introduces a new event, the women's monobob, which is scheduled to be the first bobsleigh event at Beijing 2022. The first two heats of the competition are scheduled for February 13, with the last two heats scheduled for February 14. Meanwhile, the men's four man competition will be the last bobsleigh event to conclude, with heats three and four scheduled for the final day of competition on February 20th.   
    Cross-country skiing
    The Beijing 2022 cross-country skiing competition will be held over ten competition days, as in PyeongChang 2018. Just like four years ago, the women's skiathlon will start the competition on February 5th, with women also having the last event with the 30km mass start on the final day of competition, February 20th.   
    Curling has the distinction of being the only sport to be contested over all 19 competition days. Due to the expansion of the mixed doubles competition to ten teams, an additional competition day was necessary, hence day -2, which will have one session. The men's tournament will conclude the competition on the final day, February 20th.   
    Figure skating
    Eleven competition days make up the figure skating competition. The first round of the team event is scheduled to be held on February 4th, with the men's and women's short program, along with the rhythm dance in the ice dancing. The pairs competition will conclude the games, marking a contrast to the last five editions, which had the ladies event conclude the figure skating competition. This could be due to China having the world's leading pairs figure skating combination in Sui Wenjing / Han Cong, which could allow the figure skating competition to end on a high note. The pairs free skating competition is scheduled for February 19th, with the Exhibition Gala scheduled for a day later.   
    Freestyle skiing
    The freestyle skiing competition will see the addition of three new events: the men's and women's big air and the mixed team aerials. Due to the increase in events, the competition schedule for the discipline has been expanded by two days, to a total of fourteen. Just like four years ago, the moguls qualification for both genders will kick of the competition on February 3rd, with the men's halfpipe being the final event. As for the new events, the qualification for the big air will be on February 7th, with the women's finals on the 8th and the men's finals on the 9th. The next day will see the finals of the aerials mixed team event.   
    Ice hockey
    The ice hockey competition is scheduled to be two days longer than it was in 2018. This means the first matches will be held before the opening ceremony, with the first four matches scheduled for February 3rd. The increase in competition days can be attributed to the increase in women's teams from eight to ten. As is tradition, the men's gold medal match will be last medal event on February 20th.  
    The luge competition has the same competition order as in 2018, with the men going first, followed by the women, then the doubles and finally the mixed team relay. The competition will start on day one, February 5th and finish on day six, February 10th.   
    Nordic Combined
    The Nordic Combined will have three competition days, with the first day being February 9th with the men's normal hill. The final event will be the men's team large hill on February 17th.   
    Short track speed skating
    Short track speed skating will move to a six day competition (previously the events were held over five days). This is being done because of an additional event (the mixed relay) being added to the competition program. Short track competitions will begin on day 1 (February 5th), with the first medals being awarded in the aforementioned mixed relay. The competition will wrap up on February 16th with the women's 1500 meters and men's 5,000 meters relay.   
    Just like in PyeongChang, the skeleton competition will be held over three days. The men will start it off on February 10th, with the women's competition concluding on the 12th.   
    Ski jumping
    Ski jumping is one of four disciplines with new events at Beijing 2022, with the addition of the mixed team event. The competition begins on February 5th with the men's normal qualification and the women's normal hill final. The men's team large hill concludes the competition on February 14th. The new mixed team event is scheduled for February 7th.   
    The snowboarding competition also sees a new event added, with the mixed team snowboard cross the new event added. However, even with an additional medal event, the competition will only be held over ten days (versus the eleven in PyeongChang 2018). The snowboarding competition starts on February 5th with the women's slopestyle qualification and concludes with the men's and women's big air events on February 15th. The new mixed team snowboard cross is scheduled for February 12th.   
    Speed skating
    Just like in 2018, the speed skating competition will be held over 11 days. The women's 3000 meters will be the first event on February 5th, and the mass starts will conclude the competition on February 19th.   
    Note: The schedule is subject to change.

    The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) announced today that the Spanish city of Palma will serve as host for the 2021 version of the IFAF Flag Football World Championships from October 6-10. This comes several months after the 2020 IFAF Flag Football World Championships, which were supposed to be held in Denmark, were cancelled because of COVID-19. This is not a surprising move by IFAF since the Spanish Federation of American Football (FEFA) expressed immense interest in picking up the hosting duties since the cancellation of last year’s World Championships. 
    Perhaps the biggest part of this announcement is the fact that these World Championships will serve as the qualifier for the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama. According to IFAF, the top seven men's and women's teams will book a trip to the World Games in July of 2022. Because of COVID-19, there will be no qualifications for this event, instead IFAF will announce a field of teams in early 2021. However, expect Austria, Israel, Denmark, France, Japan, Mexico, and Panama to be very competitive.
    Throughout the world there are many versions of flag football. According to the current IFAF rulebook, the version that will be played at the World Championship is the 5 on 5 Non-Contact version, which to many in the American Football community is the least entertaining version of not just flag football, but American Football. It will be interesting to see if these rules are adjusted at the next IFAF General Meeting. Perhaps the Birmingham Organizing Committee will step in and insist on an 8 on 8, or 7 on 7, more exciting version of flag football. 
    With this announcement, not only do we see IFAF continuing to offer olive branches to those nations who were on the IFAF-Paris side of the IFAF schism of 2015; but also, their dedication towards flag football over the traditional tackle version of American Football. IFAF sees flag football as their entry into the Olympic Games, and thus have thrown most of their resources into the flag bucket. Shorter, safer, and gender equal sports seem to be the rage with the IOC, as seen with the additions of Rugby 7's and 3x3 Basketball. Could Flag Football be next? It's an opportunity that IFAF will not pass on. But first, let's see what Palma will offer next fall. 

    Ireland has become the newest member of the International Luge Federation after the country’s membership was approved by the governing body.
    Ireland’s membership was accepted during the 68th Congress of the International Luge Federation, which took place virtually for the first time due to the ongoing global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Ireland becomes the 53rd country to become a member of the International Luge Federation. 
    Ireland’s admittance into the FIL was met with great enthusiasm by luge athlete Elsa Desmond, who announced that she will begin sliding for the nation. In a post on Instagram, Desmond stated, “I am beyond excited to be able to officially announce that I will now be racing for Ireland! Thank you so much to everyone who has helped make this possible! I hope I can make you proud on the ice!”
    Desmond originally started luge as an athlete representing the United Kingdom. She has yet to officially start in a World Cup race, but she does have multiple Nations Cup starts under her belt. She also placed 10th at the 7th FIL U23 World Championships, which were held in tandem with the 48th FIL World Championships, where she finished ranked 30th.
    It’s unclear if Desmond will race for Ireland on the FIL artificial track circuit this year, but she did indicate in her Instagram post that she is targeting qualification for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. She will be required to enter World Cup races in either the 2020-2021 season, or the 2021-2022 season in order to stand a chance at Olympic qualification. Her prior ranking as an athlete for the United Kingdom also suggests that she will have to attend the 2021 International Training Week at the Olympic track in order to meet the full requirements for Olympic qualification.
    Desmond’s first opportunity to represent Ireland will come soon, with the 2020-2021 FIL World Cup season quickly approaching. The 2020-2021 FIL World Cup begins in Innsbruck on November 28, 2020.

    The Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) has announced Santiago, Chile as the host of the men's and women's field hockey Pan American Cups.
    Both events are scheduled to be held between January 20-30, 2022 at the newly built National Hockey Stadium in Santiago. The venue is also scheduled to host the 2023 Pan American Games field hockey competition. Santiago last held the men's competition in 2009, while this will be the first women's Pan American Cup staged in Santiago. Argentina are the defending champions in both tournaments.
    The Pan American Cups are a qualifier for the aforementioned Pan American Games. The top two countries not qualified after the South American Games and the Central American and Caribbean Games have concluded, will qualify for the respective Pan American Games competition. More information on the qualification system is available here. 

    The International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation announced that the 2021 IWWF World Waterski Championships will be held in Lake County, Florida.
      After an 18-year wait, the IWWF World Waterski Championships will return to the United States. The biennial event will be hosted at the Jack Travers Water Ski School on October 11-17, 2021. It is expected that more than 200 water skiers, from around 35 countries, will compete in the championships.   “We are thrilled to host the 75th Anniversary edition of the IWWF World Waterski Championships in Florida, the birth place and waterski capital of the world, at one of the premier venues so athletes can perform to the best of their abilities.” said Jose Antonio Perez Priego, President of IWWF.   “As the National Governing Body for the sport in the United States, we are thrilled to host this global event here in Florida,” said Tim Cullen, President of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports. “For competitive three-event water skiers this is the marquee event on the competition schedule.”   “On behalf of our partners at Visit Lake and Jack Travers Water Ski School, we are excited to welcome the 2021 IWWF World Waterski Championship to Lake County,” said Jason Siegel, President & CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission. “Our community looks forward to providing a safe and exciting environment for the skiers and their families who are traveling to compete in this prestigious event.”   The 2021 event will include a week of meetings for IWWF’s Bureau, Executive Board and World Congress, as well as an International Hall of Fame Awards ceremony concluding the week’s festivities.  

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