Friday February 4 2022 will be a very special day in China, as the Beijing’s National Stadium – aka the Bird’s Nest - hosts the Winter Olympics 2022 opening ceremony. It is almost 14 years since the Chinese capital hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008, and the event marks the official start of the games, despite the action actually getting underway on Wednesday.

WHEN DOES IT START?

It begins at 12pm (8pm Beijing time), and you can watch it all unfold on Discovery+
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This year’s ceremony will focus on the official 'Together for a shared future' motto of the games, focusing on the challenges which the world has faced through the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges, such as global warming.
Chinese film director Zhang Yimou is the man in charge of the festivities, just as he was for the Summer Olympics ceremony in the same stadium.
This event is expected to be on a much smaller scale though, with the i reporting that 3,000 performers will take part, as opposed to 15,000 in 2008.

NO SNOW, NO PROBLEM

Beijing 2022 will be the first Winter Olympics to use 100 per cent artificial snow, with a staggering 220 million litres of water needed to produce around a million cubic metres of fake snow.
This has led to a number of environmental concerns that this will require a high amount of energy, but organisers say this will come from 100 per cent renewable sources.
The Chinese authorities have sought to reassure the IOC that they will be using wind and solar energy to help power the games and the city of Beijing as a whole.
So, there will be very different weather conditions compared to the same event in PyeongChang four years ago, when overnight temperatures fell to a bone-chilling -21 degrees Celsius! Chilly conditions are still expected though, but the temperature is forecast to be at a much more bearable -2 degrees Celsius forecast for the start of the ceremony this time round.

WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING ON FRIDAY?

The Games will be in full swing by then, and there is still a full programme of action taking place across the morning and afternoon before the evening ceremony.
Below is what is taking place on the day.
Curling - Mixed doubles round robin

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There are seven mixed doubles curling matches scheduled before the ceremony, with Canada competing in both sessions. They take on Switzerland, before facing the hosts China.
Team GB will also be in action, with a tasty looking encounter against Australia. You could call it the Ashes on ice! Or not.
Figure skating - Team event, men's singles short programme; Team event, ice dance rhythm dance; Team event, pairs short programmme

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France performs in the Gala Exhibition during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - Internationaux de France at Polesud Ice Skating Rink on November 21, 2021 in Grenoble

Image credit: Getty Images

Arguably the Games’ most graceful sport begins with the first three rounds of the team event, as 10 teams face off against one another. Canada are the reigning champions heading into this one.
Meanwhile, the ROC are being tipped for success in the women’s pairs and ice dance categories.

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Image credit: Getty Images

Ice hockey - Women's Group A: ROC vs Switzerland, Women's Group B: Denmark vs China
A much lighter schedule is in store for the ice hockey, as Group A gets underway. This includes the top five teams in the competition, with ROC facing Switzerland. Elsewhere in Group B, China take on Denmark.
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Stream the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games live and on demand on discovery+
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