The twenty fourth Olympic Winter Video games started in Beijing on Friday with an understated ceremony showcasing virtues of the Chinese language tradition and expressing hope for a reunion of individuals around the globe — a hope that rings hole below the cloud of a worldwide pandemic and diplomatic boycotts of the occasion.
The Chinese language capital is the primary metropolis to host each a Summer season and a Winter Video games. The Nationwide Stadium, higher often known as the Fowl’s Nest, staged the ceremonies in 2008 and is again doing the identical in 2022. The acclaimed Chinese language filmmaker Zhang Yimou is as soon as once more the mastermind of the ceremonies after serving in the identical position 14 years in the past.
And that’s about the place the similarities finish.
The Olympic Rings made from ice are offered in the course of the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on the Nationwide Stadium in Beijing on Feb. 4, 2022. (Yonhap)
ㅍAs its worldwide coming-out celebration in 2008, Beijing put collectively a large, extravagant gala of a gap ceremony, dubbed in some quarters because the “biggest present on Earth” for its sheer scale and splendor. Beijing 2008 set an impossibly excessive bar for Olympic ceremonies sooner or later. That four-hour-long opening ceremony featured 15,000 performers.
This 12 months’s ceremony for the Winter Video games may have solely about 3,000 performers, none of them skilled performers or celebrities. The organizers recruited college students or peculiar residents from Beijing and Hebei Province and had them carry out within the ceremony based on the ideas of “easy, protected, and fantastic.”
Little or no has been easy or protected within the leadup to those Winter Video games. China, in any case, is the place the coronavirus outbreak emerged in late 2019. Beijing 2022 is the second Olympics to happen in the course of the world COVID-19 pandemic. And the organizing committee has put the nation’s “Zero COVID” coverage on full show for all Olympic-related personnel.
Athletes, officers, media members and workforce have all been positioned right into a bubble, formally referred to as the “closed-loop system.” As soon as inside, there is no such thing as a getting out till after the competitors. Persons are restricted to their lodging and Olympic venues solely. Every day testing is required, and people who take a look at constructive face lengthy quarantines. Over 300 Olympic-related personnel have examined constructive for the virus.
Although the theme of the opening ceremony was titled “One World, One Household,” Beijing couldn’t fairly deliver everybody to its newest celebration. The chasm between the message the efficiency hoped to venture and the present state of affairs is about as massive and vast as China’s landmass.
The US, Britain and Canada are amongst a number of international locations staging a diplomatic boycott, declining to ship official authorities delegations to Beijing in protest to what they are saying is China’s poor human rights document.
However China will forge on, safe within the information that it’s firmly established as a worldwide energy and it not wants validation from Western nations.
And China will nonetheless host athletes from the likes of the U.S., with over 2,800 athletes from 91 nations in whole available to compete for a document 109 gold medals in seven sports activities and 15 disciplines.
In a continued push by the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) to extend feminine participation and to attraction to youthful individuals, a number of blended or ladies’s occasions have been added.
South Korea may have 65 athletes competing in all sports activities apart from hockey. Its said objective is to win one or two gold medals, a decidedly modest projection for a rustic with at the least two gold medals at each Winter Video games since 1992.
For the opening ceremony, South Korea had 11 athletes and 28 officers available. A pair of quick monitor pace skaters competing of their third Olympics, Kwak Yoon-gy and Kim A-lang, have been the co-flag bearers.
Beijing 2022 will probably be contested in three zones: ice occasions will probably be held in Beijing correct, whereas the northwestern district of Yanqing will host alpine snowboarding and sliding occasions. Zhangjiakou, some 180 kilometers northwest of Beijing, would be the website for ski leaping, snowboard, biathlon and cross-country snowboarding.
South Korean athletes staying within the Zhangjiakou Olympic Village didn’t make the journey to Beijing.
Based mostly on the order decided by the Chinese language language, South Korea was the 73rd nation to enter the Fowl’s Nest.
The names of the international locations have been displayed in snowflake-shaped placards, in each English and Chinese language. Bearers of these indicators donned hats embellished with tiger-head motifs from the standard tradition of Hebei Province — in a nod to 2022 being the 12 months of the Tiger. Marshals welcoming in athletes wore masks printed with the phrase “Welcome” in English and its Chinese language equal.
Athletes marched to among the best-known items of classical music, whereas the Chinese language athletes have been handled to a well-known Chinese language tune, “Ode to Motherland.”
After the parade ended, Chinese language President Xi Jinping formally declared the Olympic Video games open, with the Olympic Flag introduced into the stadium by former Chinese language Olympic champions in pace skating, quick monitor, determine skating and freestyle snowboarding.