To help with spellings and usage in coverage of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, The Associated Press has compiled an editorial style guide of essential terms, spellings and definitions. Some terms are from the Olympics entries in the AP Stylebook: https://www.apstylebook.com. Others are common usage in AP sports stories.
Beijing, which hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008, is the first city to host both Winter and Summer Games. The competition takes place in a combination of new and existing venues.
Feb. 4-20, 2022 (some curling, freestyle skiing, figure skating and hockey take place on Feb. 2-4 ahead of the opening ceremony).
There are 15 sports under the official program. They are listed here with their identification codes in parentheses: biathlon (BIA), bobsled (BOB), curling (CUR), hockey (HKO for men, HKW for women), luge (LUG), figure skating (FIG), speedskating (SPD), short track speedskating (SPD), Alpine skiing (SKI), cross-country skiing (XXC), Nordic combined (NOR), freestyle skiing (FRE), ski jumping (JUM), skeleton (SKE) and snowboarding (SBD).
The 12 competition venues are divided into three zones, or clusters: Beijing, where the ice sports primarily will take place; Yanqing, which will host Alpine skiing and sliding events; and Zhangjiakou, which will host the other skiing events and snowboarding. The zones are connected by a newly built railway.
109 medal events.
Women’s monobob (bobsled); men’s and women’s big air freestyle skiing (big air already was on the program for snowboarding); mixed team aerials (freestyle skiing); mixed team relay (short track speedskating); mixed team (ski jumping); mixed team snowboard cross.
Nearly 3,000, plus coaches and team officials.
Around 100 countries will send athletes to the Olympics, including Russia, whose athletes will compete for the Russian Olympic Committee, or ROC. A December 2020 ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport banned Russia’s flag, anthem and team name as punishment for an extensive doping program and cover-ups. Russian athletes are allowed to participate in the Olympics under a neutral flag as long as they have not been implicated in the doping scandal. North Korea is not participating in the Beijing Games. In September, the International Olympic Committee suspended North Korea through 2022 for refusing to send a team to the Tokyo Summer Games, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
The United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games in December, a move followed by some other democratic nations including Australia, Britain and Canada, to protest China’s human rights records. Under the boycott, athletes will compete in the Games but no official delegations will be sent to Beijing. China has called the action an “outright political provocation” and has criticized the U.S. and other countries for violating political neutrality required in the spirit of the Olympic Charter.
Rights groups have called for a total boycott of the Beijing Olympics, citing China’s treatment of its Muslim-majority Uyghur people in the northwest Xinjiang region, which some have called genocide. They also point to Beijing’s suppression of democratic protests in Hong Kong and a sweeping crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous territory.
The Olympic mascot is Bing Dwen Dwen, a panda wearing a full-body “shell” made out of ice that resembles an astronaut suit, which is a tribute to embracing new technologies. “Bing” means ice in Mandarin Chinese and symbolizes purity and strength. “Dwen Dwen” means robust and lively, and represents children.
In the United States, national standings are compiled by the total number of medals per team: gold, silver and bronze. In the rest of the world, national standings are based on the number of gold medals per team.
BEIJING stands alone in datelines and is the proper dateline for all events in the Beijing zone (the urban area of Beijing, aka downtown Beijing) and the Yanqing zone (a rural district of Beijing located 75 kilometers, or 47 miles, northwest of the city center). The events in the Zhangjiakou zone (a ski destination in the neighboring province of Hebei about 180 kilometers, or 112 miles, northwest of Beijing) take a dateline of ZHANGJIAKOU, China.
Always capitalize, even when standing alone: The Games open on Feb. 4. This was a change beginning with the Tokyo Games from previous AP style, which called for capitalization only when attached to the host city or the year, to conform with the IOC’s style and widespread usage.
In general, follow the individual’s preference for an English spelling if it can be determined. Otherwise, in general use the nearest phonetic equivalent in English if one exists: Alexander, for example, rather than Aleksandr, the spelling that would result from a transliteration of the Russian letters into the English alphabet. If an athlete expresses a preference for a different spelling or an Anglicized version of their name, use that.
The IOC uses French phonetic spellings on some names, which will appear in agate and other statistical material. The AP generally uses that style during the Olympics to be consistent with widespread usage unless an athlete is famous by a different Anglicized name. For example, use Artem Anisimov to refer to the Russian hockey player because that’s how he was known in the NHL, even though the IOC calls him Artyom Anisimov.
Chinese generally place family names first and then given names. On second reference, use the family name. For example, Chinese short track speedskater Fan Kexin is referred to as Fan on second/subsequent references.
Some Chinese have Westernized their names, putting their given names or the initials for them first or sometimes using both an English name and a Chinese name: P.Y. Chen, Jack Wang, Frank Hsieh Chang-ting. In general, follow an individual’s preferred spelling. See AP Stylebook entries on foreign names, Chinese names and Russian names.
Beijing Games, Beijing Olympics
Capitalized. Also, the 2022 Olympics or 2022 Games. The year always precedes the host city and Olympics: 2022 Beijing Olympics, 2022 Beijing Games. (The most recent Games are still referred to by the IOC as the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics despite a yearlong postponement because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is acceptable to call them the postponed or delayed 2020 Olympics.)
Do not use Beijing 2022 Olympics or Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, marketing terms commonly used by organizers and others that do not conform with longstanding AP style.
Names and abbreviations
FIS: International Ski Federation, the world governing body for skiing and snowboarding. Abbreviation acceptable on second reference.
IOC: International Olympic Committee. Either is OK on first reference, but use the full name somewhere in the story.
IOC President Thomas Bach: The title is capitalized when used before the name.
International sports federations: All Olympic sports are run by international federations. Don’t use the abbreviation IF; use international federation or governing body.
National Olympic committee: In news stories, avoid the abbreviation NOC and use national Olympic committees or national bodies. There are 205 recognized national Olympic committees.
USOPC: U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. Abbreviation acceptable on second reference.
The Olympic movement: Comprises the IOC, international federations, national Olympic committees, organizing committees and all other recognized federations and bodies, as well as athletes, judges, coaches and other sports officials.
The Olympic Partners program: The IOC’s global sponsorship program. The 13 sponsors are Airbnb, Alibaba Group, Allianz, Atos, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Intel, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Toyota and Visa. Do not use the IOC’s abbreviation, TOP.
Best to avoid as the term can be confusing. It is not a synonym for the Olympics. It is a period of four years beginning on Jan. 1 of the Olympic year of the Summer Games. Olympiads are numbered consecutively in Roman numerals from the 1896 Athens Games. The Tokyo Olympics were the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, which began Jan. 1, 2020. The Paris Olympics will be the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad, which begin Jan. 1, 2024. Winter Games do not get that same designation even when falling in the same four-year period.
Any athlete who has qualified for or been named to a country’s Olympic team.
Adjective (without s) and always capitalized: Olympic gold medal, Olympic organizers, Olympic host city, Olympic flame, etc.
Olympic Village, capitalized, or athletes village, lowercase.
Olympic flame and torch relay.
Olympic opening ceremony (singular) and closing ceremony (singular). Together they are the Olympic ceremonies (plural) held at the Olympic Stadium.
Olympics or Olympic Games. Always capitalized. There are Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics, or Summer Games and Winter Games.
Staged in Beijing from March 4-13, involving up to about 730 athletes with physical disabilities. There are 78 medal events. The six sports on the program are Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, hockey, snowboarding and wheelchair curling.
The word Paralympic as an adjective (without s) is always capitalized: Paralympic Games, Paralympic organizers, Paralympic gold medal and so forth. Paralympics as a noun is also always capitalized, following similar usage rules as Olympics: Beijing Paralympics, 2022 Paralympics.
Paralympic athletes are known as Paralympians. The Games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee; IPC is acceptable on second reference. When reporting on the Paralympics, see the disabilities entry in the AP Stylebook, which encourages specific descriptions and gives guidance on some terms and descriptions.
Alpine skiing: giant slalom, super-G, downhill
bobsled and skeleton: women’s bobsled; women’s monobob; two-man bobsled; four-man bobsled. For those in the front seat: driver or pilot. For those not driving: brakeman, push athlete. In skeleton, slider is preferred.
The governing body for bobsled and skeleton is the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Foundation, not Bobsled.
cross-country skiing: freestyle sprint, classical-style event; 10-kilometer race, also abbreviated 10km or 10K.
figure skating: Use lowercase on all jumps. Double axel; triple flip-triple toe loop; triple lutz, double salchow.
freestyle skiing: halfpipe, moguls, aerials, slopestyle.
hockey: face off (v.), faceoff (n. and adj.); power play, power-play goal; goalie; penalty box; red line; short-handed; slap shot; hat trick.
luge: luge athlete or slider is preferred to luger.
ski jumping: Use normal hill for the K90 (70m) events and large hill for the K120 (90m) events.
Symbols and culture
Olympic rings: Five interlocking rings (blue, yellow, black, green and red) symbolizing five areas of the world involved in the Olympic movement (Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania).
Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius (faster, higher, stronger).
Olympic Charter: Code of rules and principles governing the International Olympic Committee and Olympic movement.
Olympism: IOC term for the philosophy of sport, culture and education behind the Olympic movement.
Olympic hymn or anthem: Music by Greek composer Spyridon Samaras and lyrics by Greek poet Kostis Palamas. Played at opening and closing ceremonies.
Olympic oath: A solemn promise to abide by the rules in the spirit of sportsmanship. Recited by one athlete and one judge or referee at the opening ceremony on behalf of all the athletes and all officials.
Cultural Olympiad: The program of cultural, musical and artistic events organized in the host city around the Games.
U.S. national anthem: Lowercase the term because it is a description, not a title. The title: “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Capitalized. While proper style, note that during the Beijing Games it will likely not be necessary in your story to refer to the season.
Sport Identification Codes
BIA — biathlon
BOB — bobsled
CUR — curling
FIG — figure skating
FRE — freestyle skiing
HKO — hockey-men’s
HKW — hockey-women’s
JUM — ski jumping
LUG — luge
NOR — Nordic combined
SKE — skeleton
SKI — Alpine skiing
SBD — snowboarding
SPD — speedskating (including short track)
XXC — cross-country skiing