Michiganders gearing up for opening ceremony of 2022 Winter Olympics

Here are some athletes to root for

China is on high alert after the first case of omicron was detected in Beijing over the weekend.

DETROIT – We are 17 days away from the opening ceremonies of the 2022 Winter Olympics, where residents of Michigan will be well represented in Beijing.

Some of our athletes have a real shot at bringing home a medal.

No U.S. figure skater in history has more experience than Ann Arbor’s Evan Bates. Beijing will be the fourth Olympics for the 32-year-old Ice Dancer.

Read: Hear from Olympic figure skaters with ties to Michigan ahead of this year’s winter games

The event is his third with partner Madison Chock; the two trained in Novi for years before moving to Montreal. They are the current U.S. Ice Dancing champions- and a favorite heading into the Winter Games.

“I think the perspective on everything has changed a lot in the last four years,” Bates said. “The last two especially. I think it’s just a reminder to be grateful for what we have.”

Two of their biggest competitors are also long-time friends.

Ice Dancers Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue are heading into Beijing as second in the U.S. Hubbell is from Okemos, and both trained at the Lansing Skating Club. It will be their second Olympic appearance and their final season competing. They say their friendly rivalry with Chock and Bates pushes them forward.

“It fuels us every day seeing them progress and succeed, and we want to beat them,” Hubbell said. “But we have the utmost respect, and we think they’re incredibly talented and gracious athletes. So it’s been a pleasure too, you know, to encourage each other along the way.”

With a perfect name for her sport, Freestyle Skier Winter Vinecki has been an athlete all her life. Growing up in Gaylord, Vinecki ran her first Five-K and completed her first triathlon at age five.

She became the first person to compete a marathon on every continent before turning 15. Vinecki transitioned from running to skiing and at 23 she will compete in her first Olympics.

Ann Arbor’s Ryan Pivirotto grew up on the ice. He started off playing hockey but has made a name for himself in Short-Track Speed Skating.

Pivirotto was an alternate at the 2018 Games in Pyongchang, but he has qualified for four races in Beijing, and he is looking to bring home some hardware.

“Medals would be very nice,” Pivirotto said. “I think everyone is going there to win a medal.”

About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.